The story

The North Wind and its sails

1928 as “Karl Franz”, photo: Herbert Karting, Ships, Shipowners and Captains from the County of Steinburg, 1977


The ship was built in 1898 as a cargo sailer at the shipyard of Johannes Thormählen in Elmshorn. The ship was considered an excellent sailer, but due to its shallow draft was mainly used for sailing to ports in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and did not receive an engine until 1912.

historical names:

1898-1921 ALMA ELISABETH, Hamburg

1921-1924 #Stralsund

1924-1929 OLGA and HILDA, Stade

1929-1931 KARL FRANZ, Hamburg

1931-1951 ALITA IV, Hamburg

In 1951, the ALITA IV was renamed FEHMARN III by its then owner.

In 1954, the FEHMARN III was sold again and used as a storage ship for scrap in Holtenau, as it was almost impossible to find cargo for such a small and old vessel.

It was to be assumed that the FEHMARN III, like many old-timers, would make its very last journey to the scrapper.

But things turned out differently: In 1963, the FEHMARN III was taken down and converted into a yacht in 1965, initially without a rig.

1930s as “Alita IV”, photo: Herbert Karting, ships, shipowners and captains from the Steinburg district, 1977

The “Fehmarn III” after conversion to a sailing yacht, photo: Historischer Hafen Flensburg.

In 1968, the FEHMARN III was converted into a self-sailing yacht at the Peter Ahrens shipyard in Hamburg. It is rigged as a staysail ketch.

Since 2013, the Fehrmarn III is called “Nordwind”. She is said to have sailed in the Mediterranean as a charter yacht under British flag mainly between Elba and Corsica. Home port is said to have been Gibraltar, the owners German.



After six years in the water, the Nordwind 2020 will be overhauled and receive new sails.

In 2021, the Nordwind will be sold via an online advertisement from her berth in Peenemünde with her whereabouts still unknown.

In 2022, the presumably last three old sails of the Nordwind will be sold. The Stag and the Gross start their journey to Spain.

How things went on with the sails after their arrival in Spain is told in the film “the making of –
from an old sail to a work of art.

2020 as “Nordwind”, photo: Facebook page of the Nordwind