Cruise facts about Star Clippers

The Star Clippers story starts at the helm with Mikael Krafft founded of Star Clippers since 1990.


Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Mikael Krafft has been around boats and water his whole life. Learning from the old-timers working at the  Plyms Shipyard, Kratt embarked on a life-long love affair with ships.

Krafft’s first love was Pommern, a four-masted steel barquentine, anchored as a national historical museum at the Swedish-Finnish Island of Aland.

Fast forward through a career in law and  an ownership role of a small Swedish shipping company, L. Jeansson Co, to the launch of a new cruise line to be named Star Clippers.

Krafft relied on research about mid-19th century ships to help him restore and update his new fleet. With the expertise of  a team of naval architects and engineers, the first new clipper ship in 90 years was successfully designed with all the modern conveniences.

  • Construction of the tallest clipper ship began in 1990 at the Belgium Shipbuilders Corporation Yard at Ghent. The result was Star Flyer, a 360-foot sailing ship that launched in May 1991.
  • A year later, Star Clipper, it’s identical twin, was launched.
  • In 2000, Krafft introduced  Royal Clipper, the flagship of Star Clippers and the world’s largest square-rigger in service today.

Fun facts about Royal Clipper:

  • A total of 42 sails are used to propel the ship: 26 squaresails,
    11 staysails, four jibs and one gaff-rigged spanker.
  • The sails on Royal Clipper are made of Dacron and tailored especially for the ship by Doyle Ploch Sailmakers of Clearwater, Fla.
  • So much Dacron was needed (the biggest sail order ever placed for a single ship) that the supply in the United States was exhausted and some Dacron had to be imported from Europe.
  • All sail stitching is especially resistant to weakening caused by tropical sunshine, and a computer designed all but one sail.
  • A sail maker is part of the ship’s crew. A special sewing machine always is available at sea ready for use when sails occasionally get ripped by the wind.
  • Royal Clipper is the first fully rigged square-rigger with five masts since her inspiration, Preussen, in l902, and the ship approximates Preussen in all major measurements.
  • Royal Clipper does not use computers for sail handling. All sails are raised, lowered and positioned from the deck. Power winches are used by sailors  and hand-controlled horizontal and vertical power furling.
  • There is a total of 19,375 square feet of handcrafted Burma teak on the Sun Deck and Main Deck.

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