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Star Clippers

Star Clippers is a company that was founded by the Swedish jurist Mikael Krafft, although the headoffice for the company was located at Monte Carlo and in the beginnings, the ships flew the flag of Luxemburg, thus having Antwerp in Belgium as their homeport. So a true European company in short. The story of the company really starts with the lifestory of its owner. As a child in the 1950's, Krafft spent a lot of his free time at the shipyard Plyms, next to his parents house in Saltsjobaden, Sweden and started helping the yardworkers from the age of six. Meanwhile, he heared the stories about the great sailingships, like the 1903-built clipper Pommern that is moored as a museumship at Aland, a small island half-way between Sweden and Finland. Also the greatest of them all, the 1902-built Pruissen was part of the stories he heared. Pruissen was the largest sailingship ever built, 135 meters in lenght and the only one having five large masts. Also in the local church of his village, an old picture of this ship was hanging at one of the walls and worked on the young boy's imagination.

When Krafft was ten, he was given a small sailingboat and although his parents urged him not to sail onto the open sea, the adventurous Mikael thought about the twenty seamiles between his house and the island of Aland, where the Pommern was moored. As soon as he was good enough to sail his boat, he made the journey to Aland, without a compass and orientating on the sun. Out of sight of the workers at the ship, he climbed aboard in great secret and admired the vessel and all of its details and he also dreams of having his own tall-ship, standing at the large wheel.

When he became older, he specialized in maritime law and became a shipbroker, taking over a small shippingline soon afterwards. Next to this, Krafft built up an imperium of companies in oil, forresting, transportships and real-estate. But at the end of the 1980's he was still missing something... That is why Krafft started up a company in 1989 to furfill his life-long dream and this company was named Star Clippers. It was mainly established because of his love for his latest yaught, the fourty-meter long Gloria, that he had built in 1986. On a journey aboard this ship, Star Clippers was born and he immidiately realized that building one ship, that was supposed to sail as a passengership, would be too costly. So it had to be two ships, keeping the costs lower this way it was possible to sail at a profit. Building two clippers with the classic age of sail in mind wasn't easy, especially when all modern safetymeasures and the standards of today's cruisepassengers had to be incorporated. But Krafft knew what he wanted to achieve and was certainly sure that the ships were not going to be computurized, so next to the modern radar-equipment, the crew still had to use a sextant to measure positions. The dieselengines are only for emergencies, not for normal sailing and the passengers are always welcome to help to hoist sails. Like the name of the company, the first ship was to be named Star Clipper, but then a problem arose. A company named Clipper Cruise Line protested against the name in a lawsuit and as the ship was launched during the case, Star Clippers launched her as Star Flyer. Not because the case was lost, but just because it was still running. Eventually, Star Clippers won the case and took opportunity to name the second ship Star Clipper. With the two ship fleet, Krafft wanted to really offer something else then the mass market cruiselines. But he also insisted that his sailing experience had to be reachable for a large group of enthousiasts, so he deliberately keeps the prices affordable. The experience of sailing has to be the main focus, although passengers aboard his ships do expect an amount of luxury. Because of the success of his first two ships, Krafft started thinking about another dreamship of his, the legendary Preussen. Financially, his companies are strong and so at the end of the 1990's, Star Clippers started to built it's pinnacle, the Royal Clipper. This ship is a true replica of the great Preussen. The ship was built in Gdansk, Poland although its interiours were made in Sliedrecht, The Netherlands. next to the legendary Preussen, the Royal Clipper is the only sailingship ever having five masts. She started her sailings in the year 2000, a true dream coming true for Mikael Krafft.

Another milestone will be reached in 2017, when the company takes delivery of another large sailingvessel under the name of Flying Clipper. This 300-passenger ship is a replica of the 1911-built France II, at the time the largest square-rigged sailingvessel that had ever been built.  

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