Length: 35.90 m / 117.8 ft
Width: 9.30 m / 30.5 ft
Draft: 2.86 m / 9.38 ft
Weight : 200 tons, 45 tons lead ballast for stabilization
Back in it’s days, the carvels had to use rocks or sand for ballast, when they didn’t have any goods to transport.
Material of the hull: Oak from the Lübeck city forest
(170 hand selected trees, between 150 and 300 years old)
Wall thickness: 80 mm / 3.1 inches
Masts: Douglas fir from Lübeck city forest
Length of main mast: 24m/ 78.7 ft
Area of the 3 sails combined: 286 m²/ 330 sq yd
Speed: 8.5 kn / 9.8 mi/h
Engine: 6 cylinder and 347 PS
“Lisa von Lübeck“ is the replica of a 15th century carvel, a commonly used trading ship by the Hanseatic League in the North and Baltic Seas. The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of free cities in northern Germany and surrounding areas; formed in 1241 and most influential in the 14th century when it included over 100 towns. Lübeck was considered the “Queen of the Hanse“. The League functioned as an independent political power; the last official assembly was held in 1669.
The ship is named after Lisa Dräger (born in 1920), who had the idea of building a “Hanseschiff“. Dräger is a world renowned maker of medical and safety equipment from Lübeck. Mrs. Dräger, and her deceased husband Heinrich, are patrons, who hold the city of Lübeck very dear and have earned many honors and awards because of their involvement in various projects regarding the city. Through her connections she has opened many door for making the project happen and secured sponsors. She also provided some funds and still buys the occasional necessity for the ship and the crew (like uniforms and, most recently, the city crest on the new sail).
No technical drawings or original ships exist, so all the builders could go by were historic paintings in churches and some parts that were found during archaeological digs in the city of Lübeck. When ships were decommissioned, parts were used to build houses, so during digs they were found and cataloged. Think of it as buying a 1000 piece puzzle of a historic ship at a flea market. At home you discover that only 100 pieces are still there and you have to carefully fill in the blanks to get the complete and most accurate picture. It took a team technical and scientific experts from shipbuilding, navigation and history 7 years to make a draft of the hull, which was used for the actual construction. These experts came from the Technical Universities of Hamburg and Berlin; the project fell into the category of “experimental archaeology“.
About 350 people were involved in building the ship over a 5 year period (1999-2004). 240 of those were 19-25 year old, unskilled and unemployed young adults. This was a job-creation measure, designed to provide these people with skills they needed to enter or re-enter the job market. They received training in carpentry/wood working and metal working.
A non-profit organization that was created just for this purpose of building and now running the ship. Despite the ship being a very powerful and popular advertisement for the city of Lübeck, they receive no funds from the city itself. The organization currently has about 600 members, who support the ship with their membership fees. Only about 50 though are the active members, who actually make up the crew. Of those 50, only 2 have the licensing and necessary experience to securely captain the vessel under their command. The crew members are all volunteers who devote a lot of their time to the upkeep of the ship and, of course, to sailing it. Some come from nautical backgrounds but a lot of them learn their skills “on the job“.
16 people are necessary to actually sail the ship, while only 6 are needed when it’s running by motor only. “Lisa von Lübeck“ mostly operates as a charter ship, the most common trip being a six hour tour. It is fully seaworthy though and has been to events as far away as England and Poland. When the schedule allows, the occasional public trip will be put on, where individual tickets are for sale..