There is nothing more magnificent than seeing a rigged sailing ship, sails fully deployed, making its way at full speed over the sea. I have always dreamt of sailing on board one of these … since being drawn to the white silhouette of a clipper that stood against red container of my father’s Old Spice hair cream which sat on the dresser when I maybe five or six. I have always made it a point to visit one whenever the opportunity arose … the Cutty Sark, a well preserved retired clipper involved in the tea trade, being one that I had visited at its resting place in Greenwich.
It was a pleasant surprise when I learnt that Tall Ship Pallada was in town and made it a point to get acquainted with at the berth alongside Vivo City. The steel hulled three masted Fully Rigged Ship is operated by the Navigation Institute of Dalrybvtuz (the Russian Far Eastern State Fisheries University). Used as a seamanship training ship to train cadets for the Russian merchant fleet, the Pallada carries over 100 cadets, including some from the Singapore Maritime Academy.
The Pallada which currently holds the record as the fastest Tall Ship with a maximum speed of 18.7 knots under sails, was in port for stay of 4 days from 11 to 14 March. Built in Poland in the year, 1989, when the fall of communism in Europe commenced with the events there, by the Gdansk Shipyard (Stocznia Gdańska), the 106 metre (sparred length) ship boasts a main mast of 49.5 metres, has a draught of 6 metres and a beam of 14 metres. Gdansk Shipyard is of course the yard where the Solidarity movement, which was instrumental in the fall of communism in Poland, began in 1980. The Pallada is named after the Greek goddess Pallas Athena, is based at Vladivostok in the Russian Far East and can hoist 26 sails with a total area of 2771 square metres.