There’s something undeniably romantic about tall sail ships, or windjammers, as they were called at the end of their era, that captures the imagination and takes us to another time and place. It’s the way the sails billow in the wind, the creaking of the wooden hull, and the rhythmic sound of the waves against the bow.
All hands on deck
Standing on the deck of a towering sailing vessel, you feel a sense of freedom and adventure that is hard to replicate in any other setting. The ship becomes more than just a mode of transportation – it’s a living, breathing entity that takes on a personality of its own. And when you sail on the largest sailship in the world, that feeling is amplified tenfold. As you watch the masts reaching toward the sky and the sails catch the wind, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and wonder. Unsurprisingly, sailing ships became the subject of countless romantic novels, movies, and poems over the centuries. They represent a bygone era of exploration and discovery, taking risks, and living life to the fullest.
These times should be already long gone, right? Not really. It seems that the need for maritime experiences from the old days still exists within us, and large sailing ships still have their place in the world, being successfully constructed. And they are built according to strictly classic patterns, like 100 years ago – steel hull, steel masts, iconic square-rigged rigging, and no frills.
Golden Horizon – The largest tall ship ever to sail all the seven seas
One such ship is the Golden Horizon, built in 2017 in Croatia at the Brodosplit shipyard – a steel-hulled, five-masted bark, rigged tall ship serving as a cruise ship. Its dimensions are breathtaking: 162 meters long, 8,770 tons GT, 36 sails with a total area of 6347 m², and the ability to carry 272 passengers and 159 crew members make it the largest sailing ship in human history. Interestingly, it is almost an ideal replica of the France II Windjammer built in 1911. Its first voyage took place in 2021. Originally it was supposed to be named Royal Clipper, but the uncertain status of the vessel after construction and unplanned changes in ownership ultimately resulted in the equally pretentious name of Golden Horizon.
One could write at length about the luxuries, exquisite dishes, sophisticated service, and numerous attractions awaiting adventure-hungry passengers under its sails. What is very interesting, however, are the behind-the-scenes stories of the ship’s design and the role played by Polish yacht designer Zygmunt Choreń. He is no stranger to the sailing world.
A vast portfolio
It turns out that this guy is responsible for launching at least a dozen of the largest sailing ships voyaging in all world’s seas today. Dar Młodzieży, Alexander von Humboldt, and Nadieżda are just a few of them. The Golden Horizon seems to be the crowning achievement of this fulfilled designer’s career, although there is no doubt that this is not his last word on majestic sailing ships. It was in Gdańsk’s studio of Zygmunt Choreń where the design of the hull and rigging of this largest bark in history was created. It should be added that the sails on its masts were also sewn in Gdańsk.
Although the Golden Horizon ship has already completed several voyages, it has had some bad luck. The problems with the original operator for whom it was built and the change of ownership resulted in it the vessel standing unused in port for quite some time and not fully realizing its potential. All of the planned voyages were canceled until October 2023. However, there is hope that as soon as the situation settles, the ship will resume cruising, and perhaps some of us will be lucky enough to see the Golden Horizon in one of the world’s ports. One thing is for sure – it will be a breathtaking sight.