The story of Christian Radich actually began long before the ship was built in 1937. Norway was the world’s third largest shipping nation in the 1900s, and the industrialization in Europe led to increased trade and shipping between the European nations. The need for new sailor recruits was enormous. In Norway, which at that time was very poor, sailing was regarded as a very attractive job among young men.
In Christiania, Oslo, five ‘good citizens’ created a committee for building training ships especially made for young men that wanted to become sailors.
The first ship that was obtained was stationary, and provided a 3-month course for boys. The initiative was a huge success!
At that time, when the steam boats entered the market, the training sailing ships were a necessity. A common thought was that sailing ships could provide the best training with water, wind and waves. It was a slow process with the planning of acquiring new training ships, due to the economic depression in the 1920’s.
Christian Radich is number 4 in a series of training ships with Oslo as home port, and was built at Framnæs Mek. in 1937.
In 1939, the ship sailed across the Atlantic to visit the World Trade Fair in New York. The ship and the voyage created huge press coverage and made Christian Radich famous.
When the ship came back home in September 1939, she was taken over by the Norwegian Navy. After the German invasion, the Nazi’s used the ship as an accommodation ship. At the end of the war, Christian Radich was towed to Flensburg in Germany where it was later bombed and sunk. Many written sources tell details about the process surrounding the salvage of the vessel. At the end of the war, Christian Radich was hoisted up and towed to Kiel with a minesweeper as a protection ship. She was later towed to Norway and fully restored in 1947.
From 2005, Christian Radich’s regained its training ship status. Now she is an arena for training Norwegian Navy students.
Today, the total crew consists of 30 people, both men and women, and with 4 employees onshore.
Nearly ever since the summer of 1956, Christian Radich has participated in the sailing regatta ‘The Tall Ships Race’. The aim of the Tall Ships Race is to encourage young people to gain international friendship through sailing. It is a requirement that half of the trainees must be between 15 and 25 years old.
The name Christian Radich, origins from Simeon Christian Radich, that was the manager of several sawmills in Norway, and was regarded as one of the most successful business men at the time.
In 1985, an eight-year-old boy from Chile wrote to the former captain on board, Kjell Thorsen, and proudly told him that he was also named Christian Radich. He got a free trip to Oslo in 1987 to participate in the ship’s 50-year-anniversary. He even met Norwegian King Olav during his stay!
Today, Christian Radich celebrates her 75th anniversary. The proud, tall ship is right now located in Las Palmas, Canary Islands.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews
Photos: Christian Radich web page (see link below)
Source: Christian Radich