Posted: 15 March, 2009 by SeaBart in special
Tags: ,


IMO :  n/a

Build : 1880 by John Elder & Co. Shipyard, Glasgow in  Scotland

An Imperial Yacht for Emperor Alexander II of Russia, this is not an ugly vessel but more a very strange one, although, again, her story is kinda ugly…..She was designed by Russian Vice-Admiral Andrey A. Popoff and considered either the pinnacle of shipbuilding of that time or totally not seaworthy, depending to whom you were talking to. The interior was built by the best craftsmen using high quality materials. Her test runs were satisfactory and she was gladly accepted by the Russians.

As you can see her hull is  shaped along traditional lines to faciliate effective steering, but with an extraordinarily wide beam, and riding on an oval, lower hull, called a “turbot,” after the flat fish. This design wasn’t really thought through and her maiden voyage, from her builders in Scotland to Sebastopol at the Black Sea turned out to be a disaster. The movement of the vessel in foul weather tossed the passengers around and they all were soon green from seasickness. Also the vessel suffered from the bad weather and she had to repaired in Spain.

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She spend the winter in Ferrol, drawing the interest and attention from the high society with her brilliant nighttime illumination and luxerious accomomdation. In the mean time Czar Alexander II was assasinated and succeeded by his son Alexander III. In the summertime the yacht was uneventfully sailed to Sebastopol where she arrived on june 8, 1881. She made only one cruise with her intended passengers, during that cruise on the Black Sea a storm decended on her and the passengers became frightened & sick from the behaviour of the ship  and the Czar ordered an investigation.

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This investigation didn’t turn out good for her and her designer Vice-Admiral  Popoff,  he was sacked and she was laid up and stripped of all her fittings and machinery. Several of the machinery ended up on other Russian navy vessels and the hull served for another 44 years as a repair ship for the Baltic Fleet, a combination of barracks, warehouse and machine shop. At the  end she was sold for scrap, wearing the name of Block Ship no 7.

Picture via

Picture via

As in that time they didn’t have much camera’s, let alone digital camera’s so there are not much pictures of her in real life. That’s why we have to do with mostly pictures of a paper model. This model, more info & history of the ship can be seen, read and ordered at

More information about the Imperial Yachts can be found here:

More pictures of the interior of the vessel can be found here on the Alexander Palace Forum.

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