Hilary Tunstall-Behrens

The man

Hilary Tunstall-Behrens was a young instructor in the british Outward Bound School, founded during the Second World War in Aberdovey by Lawrence Holt and Kurt Hahn.

In may 1951 he read in the press that the Pamir and the Passat were to be refitted to serve as sail-training ships and he determined to visit them in Kiel.

The captain Grubbe intended to assume a double function of cargo transport and sail training by boarding fifty cadets of all nationalities in each ship. Over two hundred candidates had already written or come even without any announcement.

Mr Tunstall-Behrens was tasked to set up a preliminary nautical school until the end of works in the Howald shipyard. The school was set in a castle on the shores of Plöner lake near Kiel with a hundred of cadets, all volunteers, mainly germans with a few englishmen and one italian.

The 15 December 1951, the Pamir was towed out of the basin, covered with flags and four shields with the arms of the cities of Luebeck, Dantzig, Hamburg and Kiel. She arrived in Hamburg the 23 December. After Christmas, she loaded cement (420 wagons of ten tons each were necessary to fill her!).

Beginning January 1952, she left Hamburg and exited the mouth of Elbe january the 12th. January the 18th, due to a gale in the Channel, the captain radioed an S.O.S. to evacuate the cadets. The Margate lifeboat reached the Pamir but she eventually went by without assistance. She reached Rio end February 1952 and then sailed back to Rotterdam with iron ore loaded in Vitoria.

Back to Hamburg beginning of June, he learnt that Schlieven went bankrupt. He returned in England and the Pamir and the Passat laid up in Hamburg.

Twenty-eight years after Heinrich Hauser and three years after William Stark he took photos and published an account on this voyage () titled PAMIR A Voyage To Rio In A Four-Masted Barque. One can still find the used book (see references). A movie has also been shot.

The photos

Pressing along at twelve knots
down the coast of Portugal

Full canvas taken from ship's boat

Margate lifeboat stands by in heavy seas

Margate lifeboat comes alongside in a full gale

Four bells of an afternoon in the trades

Keep her full and by was the last order

Muster at the change of watch in the North Sea

Painting the under side of a yard is not too easy

A new t'gans'l takes shape on the deck

A group of beards in the jibboom net

Set the upper tops'ls

One of the "idlers" overhauls ropes
and blocks at the fiferail

Setting the main royal sail, pullee haulee

Roundy come roundy on the main tops'l sheet

Make and mend. A dohbey session

Force four to five on the starboard quarter

Captaine Grubbe whose idea was that
the Pamir and the Passat should sail again

A long sausage of canvas is hauled
on deck ready to be sent aloft

One hand for the master and one for yourself

Shifting the main royal before breakfast

View from the yard of Pamir's main lower tops'l

Overhauling buntlines

Sitting in a bos'un's chair, a cadet
smears the backstays with white lead

Looking through the ratlines and
running rigging, the main tops'ls,
t'gans'ls, t'gallant stays'l and royal

Manning a royal yard prior to shifting sail
old for new

Putting a herringbone in the no. 3 mains'l

Heaving a spare anchor
out of the hold on the fo'c'sle

Caulking the deck
© (Ref.)

18/01/1952 © (Ref.)

Proud canvas

All canvas except for the jib tops'l


Extract from the documentary

Die Pamir - Untergang eines Grosseglers

November 2006
Probably 1952 with a sequence at Rio

The Heinrich Hauser movie

The book of William Stark

The voyages of the Pamir

The Pamir