Idea #589 – Embarking aboard the Mercator schooner on the port of Ostend in Belgium
Mercator is the fifth training ship of the Belgian merchant navy. Built in 1931 in the construction site of Leith in the Scotland, Mercator took the sea for the first time on September 5th, 1932. It would train every year about fifty apprentices officers supervised by a crew of a dozen men, within the framework of a winter journey of four months in the Atlantic Ocean followed by a summer cruise of three months. The seventh cruise was certainly the most interesting of those of pre-war period: this journey lasted from October 3rd, 1934 till May 21st, 1935. The Easter Island was the place of destination ; the ship also visited the island Pitcairn, Tahiti, Papeete, the Marquesas Islands and Honolulu.
This boat-schooner (also called barquentin) of a 778,86 ton gross tonnage and equipped with an auxiliary engine of 500 cv, has a length of 78,40 m, a width of 11,09 m and a depth of 4,50 m. The three-master was rigged barquentine there (three-master schooner) that is the foremast carries square sails whereas the mainmast and the mizzenmast carry auric sails. Mercator counted initially normally 15 sails of a total surface about 1.600 m². By favorable wind, Mercator could reach a speed of 13 knots.
Where is it ?
Le Mercator, Ostende, Belgium