April 21, 2021

Centenarian Ship Weathers Every Storm


Centenarian Ship Weathers Every Storm
The stalwart Magdalene Vinnen, now Sedov, in 1933. Australian National Maritime Museum, Flickr

Wooden sailing ship Sedov turns 100 years this year, a remarkable achievement since not too many wooden ships survive in the water without rotting. The Sedov is 385 feet (117.5 meters) long and 7,320 tons.

It began its life as a German boat in 1921, in the Kiel shipyard. It was called the Magdalene Vinnen then and carried cargo in the Baltic for the German navy during World War II.

When the Allies won, the Soviets took the ship as a spoil of victory, turning it into Soviet polar explorer Georgy Yakovlevich Sedov. Though it has been a peaceful ship for decades, once a warship, always a warship. To enter foreign waters now, the Sedov has to get special permission from the local ministry of foreign affairs.

The Sedov started rotting in the 1960s, as wooden ships are wont to do, and the idea was floated to turn it into a restaurant "for foreigners." It was Soviet times, after all, and Soviets could not afford to go to restaurants. By the way, St. Petersburg has an awesome floating restaurant today, The Flying DutchmanBut The Stationery Sedov didn't take.

A Moscow film student made a documentary, Who Needs Sails? in 1966 to argue that the Age of Sail was dead and the Sedov should be scrapped.

It kept on ticking, though, and was rebuilt in 1975 at the Kronstadt Marine Plant. The post-Soviet transition was rough financially. Nevertheless, ship and crew persisted.

Sedov became a movie star in 2005, playing the Pamir in German film The Tragedy of the Pamir.

The ship just celebrated its 100th birthday in Kaliningrad, where sailor vacancies are posted for 2021 expeditions. Check out beautiful photographs of the ship here. And get your wooden ship fix at a place like Mystic Seaport Museum while you wait to travel to Russia again.

You Might Also Like

Dawn of the Russian Navy
  • October 01, 1996

Dawn of the Russian Navy

On October 20, 1696, a now legendary resolution, "Let there be sea ships," was passed by the Boyar Duma, heralding the beginning of the Russian navy. Lev Pushkaryov examines how this event came to change the Russian mentality.
All Hands on Deck
  • May 01, 1996

All Hands on Deck

Life on a Russian tall ship is explored in this article about a journey on the Ukrainian ship Tovarishch.
Making Waves
  • March 01, 2019

Making Waves

One hundred and sixty years ago, the inventor Alexander Popov was born. In 1895, he created the first radio receiver. Or did he?
An Ode to the Hovercraft
  • February 14, 2021

An Ode to the Hovercraft

Russia is a land of many mysteries. The greatest of all, of course, is this: What's the deal with Russians and their hovercraft?
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
White Magic

White Magic

The thirteen tales in this volume – all written by Russian émigrés, writers who fled their native country in the early twentieth century – contain a fair dose of magic and mysticism, of terror and the supernatural. There are Petersburg revenants, grief-stricken avengers, Lithuanian vampires, flying skeletons, murders and duels, and even a ghostly Edgar Allen Poe.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

800-639-4301
802-223-4955