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Germany

German teaching ship starts journey to Cape Horn

The German Navy's sailing ship 'Gorch Fock', which is used to train marine officers, has started one of its longest journeys yet, to Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America.

Sailors hoist sails on the training ship Gorch Fock

Recruits have been trained on the Gorch Fock since 1958

The teaching ship 'Gorch Fock' has set sail from the northern German city of Kiel and is headed for Cape Horn in Argentina, on what is going to be one of its longest journeys yet.

The ship, which is used to train 250 recruits hoping to become naval officers, will sail 42,500 kilometers (23,000 miles) and will not return until June next year. Sailing around Cape Horn on the southernmost tip of South America, is considered the highlight of the trip.

"For sailors, Cape Horn is the equivalent of Mount Everest for mountaineers," says Captain Norbert Schatz.

Christmas at sea

The ship will first go to the German port city of Bremerhaven, then sail to Las Palmas on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria before crossing the Atlantic to Brazil.

All 250 officers and crew will spend Christmas on board the Gorch Fock and celebrate New Year's Eve in Montevideo, Uruguay, before heading to Ushuaia in Argentina to sail around Cape Horn.

Other destinations include Lima in Peru, Acapulco in Mexico, Cartagena in Colombia, Florida in the US, Hamilton in Bermuda and Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

The Gorch Fock made its maiden voyage in 1958 and has since trained over 14,500 officers. It has sailed to 380 ports in 55 countries, clocking up 750,000 sea miles.

Author: Nicole Goebel (apn/dpa)
Editor: Susan Houlton

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