Gorch Fock – a school at sea

I’m lucky that I was invited from ministry of interior of the state mecklenburg-vorpommern to go to the “go see” of the famous SSS Gorch Fock ship. The “SSS” stands for “SegelSchulSchiff” – meaning, the school ship of the Bundesmarine (German Federal Navy). Wow what an honor! Honestly who has the opportunity to go to a school ship? I never thought to be one of them. But luckily I was.

To be honest I wasn’t really sure what I should expect? What kind of wardrobe I should wear? Which kind of people will I meet? Can I keep up a conversation with a soldier? I felt uncomfortable. But hey, what to loose, right?

The three-masted-ship was built in hamburg in 1958. She was named after the poet Johann Wilhelm Kinau who’s pseudonym was Gorch Fock. She accommodates around 200 cadets and has a permanent crew of 77.

The Gorch Fock is actually the second ship. 1933 the first Gorch Fock was built.

After world war 2 where Germany lost all its school ships to the allies, the German bundesmarine decided to have built a new ship.

What really amazes me, that the crew is one big family. All of them stick together for weeks and months on the sea. What a Team Spirit on this big ship! The trainees have to live in two rooms. Everyone of them has his own hammock. They used to make a difference between male and female and used to separate them in two rooms but now the girls are ok to stay with the boys.

Of course the other soldiers don’t  sleep in hammocks! They share with an another soldier if you like it or not a room. But recording to the captain, it unites in a way that only people from the ship can understand.

I believe, people who have a regular job in a building, might think the orders what they scream to each other sounds a little bit harsh. But it’s necessary. The ship is around 90meters long so you need to scream!


At the lunch break we got a typical meal for sailors and seaman. I’m not sure how to explain this meal but let me try. It’s a stew made of meat, fish, potatoes and root beet. On top the serve a fried egg sunny-side up. So the meal looks like a pink mashed potato with an egg on top! The taste? Let me say, it’s not so bad. Nice experience! The cook serves this meal usually on the end of the week. All leftovers will be combined and tatatataaaaa you have “labskaus”. Yummy.

No wonder that sometimes one of the crew is asking for schnitzel. I can totally relate. Hahaha.

Thank you Gorch Fock crew for this fantastic day! I enjoyed the view, the great tour and to see behind the curtain!


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