Saturday, May 21, 2011

USA - Delaware - Kalmar Nyckel

Launched in Sptember of 1997, the Kalmar Nyckel is a a 97 foot, 317-ton replica of the tall ship that brought the first Swedish settlers to the Delaware River Valley in 1638. The ship can be toured in its working shipyard, and it ocassionally leaves its port in Wilmington to sail to nearby Lewes.

Sent by Rose, a WiP partner from USA.

This is from Wikipedia : The Kalmar Nyckel (Key of Kalmar) was a Dutch-built armed merchant ship famed for carrying Finnish and Swedish settlers to North America in 1638 to establish the colony of New Sweden. A replica of the ship was launched at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1997.

The Kalmar Nyckel was constructed in about 1625 and was of a design called a pinnace. The ship was named after the city of Kalmar, which purchased the ship in 1628 as its contribution to the Royal Swedish Navy. When Sweden decided to establish a trading colony in the New World under the direction of Peter Minuit, the Kalmar Nyckel was chosen for the voyage. A smaller vessel, the Fogel Grip (Griffin Bird), accompanied her.

The ships sailed from Gothenburg in December 1637, commanded by Jan Hindriksen van der Water, but encountered a severe storm in the North Sea and had to divert to the Netherlands for repairs. They departed on New Year's Day 1638, arriving in North America in March 1638.

A second voyage, which departed on February 7, 1640, and arrived at Fort Christina on April 17, brought additional settlers for New Sweden. One of them was Reorus Torkillus, the first Lutheran clergyman in New Sweden. The Kalmar Nyckel made four successive round trips from Sweden, a record unchallenged by any other colonial vessel. She later served the Royal Swedish Navy in the Swedish-Danish War, then was used as a merchant ship. She was lost at sea in the late 17th century. There are conflicting reports on where she was lost. One says she sank off the coast of the city of Kalmar, while another says she was lost in the North Sea off the coast of England.

In 1986, a group of citizens of Wilmington, Delaware, established the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, whose primary source of funding is from the taxpayers of the State of Delaware, plus donations from corporations and individuals. The foundation designed, built, and launched a replica of the Kalmar Nyckel. The modern ship, designed by naval architects Thomas C. Gillmer, Melbourne Smith, Joel Webster, and Ken Court, was built at a shipyard in Wilmington on the Christina River near the original 1638 Swedish settlers' landing site at Fort Christina. She was launched on September 28, 1997, and commissioned on May 9, 1998. The re-creation measures 94 feet (29 m) on deck and 131 feet (40 m) overall, with a 25-foot (7.6 m) beam, a 12-foot (3.7 m) draft, and a displacement of 300 tons.

The ship is operated and maintained by a volunteer staff, under the leadership of a paid captain, boatswain, and a chief mate. In November 2006, the captain of the Kalmar Nyckel, David W. Hiott, who had commanded her for nine seasons, died from the effects of recurring melanoma. Captain Lauren Morgens took over on April 1, 2007, with Sharon Litcofsky as Chief Mate and Relief Captain. Volunteers maintain the ship, run the education program, and sail her from port to port.

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