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Wednesday, 7 October 2015
On This Day: Charter of the Imperial St. Petersburg Yacht Club Signed
Topic: Yachts

Early 20th century photograph of the Imperial St. Petersburg Yacht Club
On 7 October (O.S. 25 September 25) 1846, Emperor Nicholas I signed the Charter of the Imperial St. Petersburg Yacht Club — the first official yacht club in Russia.

The history of sailing sport in Russia dates back to the times of Peter I, when in April 1718 the Emperor set up the “Neva Poteshny Fleet” (literary: Neva Amusement Fleet) in St. Petersburg. With a special decree Tsar ordered not only his admirals, shipwrights and doctors, but also dignitaries, bishops and even monks “who abide in St. Petersburg, to sail across the Neva River if the wind permits”. He granted them “perpetual and hereditary possession” of 141 vessels, and prohibited to use them for transportation or any other needs, “because vessels have been granted to be used like carriages and coaches on the road, and not like dung carts”. Meanwhile on the Fontanka River bank opposite the Summer Garden was established a “particular” (civil) shipyard responsible for building fairly small sport and travelling ships for “…the beauty of the reigning city, as well as for amusement of citizens, but still more for the best training”.

After the death of Peter I the “Neva Poteshny Fleet” ceased to exist and it was only in 1840s during the reign of Nicholas I, that the first St. Petersburg Imperial Yacht Club was officially registered.

To run this institution a special committee was set up which included Duke A.Ya. Lobanov-Rostovsky, Rear-Admiral M.A. Putyatin, I.A. Ribeaupierre, Count I.A. Shuvalov, Duke B.D. Golitsyn and Count F.K. Apraksin. Among its honorary members were Admirals F.F. Bellingshausen and M.P. Lazarev — discoverers of Antarctica, and also Admiral F.P. Litke — explorer of the Arctic Ocean, initiator of foundation of the Russian Geographic Society and its vice chairman.

The first paragraph of the society’s charter read that the yacht club was given the name of the Imperial. Accordingly in the picture of its flag (the white with a blue cross) appeared an image of the Imperial crown. The charter also stipulated that only noblemen, who owned “a sailing vessel not less than 20 tons in weight, which did not have a trading purpose” were allowed to become members of the yacht club.

At first the member list of the yacht club numbered only 19 people, who possessed five yachts. These were mainly representatives of military élite, court officials, representatives of foreign states’ diplomatic services.

On 20 July (O.S. 8 July) 1847 members of the yacht club held the first sailing race in Russia, which brought together seven yachts. The winner was called the tender “Varyag”.

As long as the club’s yachts were equaled to military vessels with a right to hold St. Andrew’s Flag during long voyages, their permanent crew often included Navy officers and Guards depots sailors, seldom hired sailors.

An active work of the Imperial St. Petersburg Yacht Club members lasted only for about 12 years, which was caused by the Crimean War and loss of interest to sailing sport (more and more often members of the yacht club were buying more comfortable steam vessels, unlike yachts). The last sailing race launched by the yacht club took place in 1859.

In 1860 was officially set up the first public St. Petersburg River Yacht Club, with a larger number of members but smaller sized yachts.

Until 1917 about 70 sport associations, which practiced sailing, rowing and other sports were operating in Russia. 
© Presidential Library / Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 07 October, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:48 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof Reopens After Restoration
Topic: Yachts
The Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof reopened on June 6th after completion of restoration and renovation projects.

The tiny museum, which is located near the pier in the Lower Park of Peterhof was closed from October 2014 to May 2015, so that a number of upgrades and renovations could be carried out. Restoration work included upgrades to the buildings facade, roofing, carpentry, and new heating equipment for the basement. 

The museum tells the little-known chapter in the history of Peterhof - the summer residence of the Russian emperors. The palace ensemble is situated on the Gulf of Finland, the small harbour was frequented by the imperial yachts that belonged to the Russian Navy.

During the restoration a number of the existing exhibition halls of the museum were updated, offering visitors a new perspective on the floating palaces of the Russian Imperial family. The Great Hall now features a new multimedia display. Visitors can now look out the window and see the boat rocking on the waves, and then watch a chronicle of historic newsreels and vintage photographs which showcase the life of the imperial family at Peterhof and onboard their yachts.

The museum features the largest collection of models of the yachts from Peter the Great to Nicholas II. Museum workers have even recreated the office of Nicholas II on his favourite yacht the Standart, decorated with Russian-Byzantine style furniture.

The number of items has been expanded from the vast collection of the Peterhof State Museum Preserve, including a portable inkwell Tsesarevich Alexei, a door sign "AE Derevenko", a whistle from the Standart’s boatswain.  Glass showcases throughout the museum are filled with porcelain and crystal from various imperial yacht dinner services, photographs and navigational items.

The Imperial Yacht Museum is open daily from 10:30 - 18:00. Admission is 250 rubles.

My Russia: The Imperial Yact Museum at Peterhof (by Paul Gilbert) published in Royal Russia Annual No. 6 - Summer 2014. The article includes 8 pages with 9 black and white photographs:

Click Here for More Information or to Order Your Copy 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 10 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:11 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 10 June 2015 8:52 AM EDT
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Thursday, 8 May 2014
Bukowskis Offers Painting of Imperial Yacht Polar Star
Topic: Yachts

The Russian Imperial Yacht Polar Star in the Harbour of Copenhagen. Artist: Holger Peter Svane Lübbers (1850-1931). Photo © Bukowskis Helsinki 
Bukowskis Auction House in Helsinki, Finland will offer a beautiful painting of the Russian Imperial yacht Polar Star at their upcoming auction May 26 - 27, 2014. The estimate is 3,000 - 4,000 Euros.

The painting by Holger Peter Svane Lübbers (1850-1931) depicts the yacht of Empress Maria Feodorovna in the harbour of Copenhagen, Denmark.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 May, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:09 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 11 May 2014 9:21 AM EDT
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Friday, 13 September 2013
Monument to Imperial Yacht Standart at Sevastopol
Topic: Yachts

The monument at Sevastopol harbour marking the spot where the Imperial yacht Standart used to dock
A simple monument marks the spot where the Imperial yacht Standart once docked in the harbour of Sevastopol in the Crimea. The pier is now part of a new yacht marina inaugurated in the South Bay of Sevastopol harbour, near the railway station on September 28, 2011. Before the Revolution, the dock was known as "The Tsar's Wharf," and used by the Russian Imperial yacht when it sailed into the region (the Standart docked at Sevastopol a total of 4 times). The Imperial family would travel from St. Petersburg to Sevastopol by train. Upon arrival, they would walk from the railway station to the “The Tsar’s Wharf” where the yacht awaited to sail them along the Crimean coast to Yalta, where they would then proceed to their palace at Livadia.

The Imperial yacht Standart at Sevastopol
The stone monument notes 1893 as the year that the Standart was constructed, and 196-, the last year left blank due to the fact that the exact year that the historic yacht is unconfirmed. In 1934, the Standart was converted to a minelayer of the Baltic Fleet and renamed Marty. Then, in 1948 it was renamed Oka. It is known that in the 1960s the vessel was decommissioned by the Soviet navy and used as a target and subsequently destroyed and sunk. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 13 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:37 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 13 September 2013 12:54 PM EDT
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Monday, 14 November 2011
Imperial Yacht Standart Exhibit at Livadia
Topic: Yachts


An exhibition related to the journeys of the last Russian Imperial family onboard their beloved yacht Standart has opened at the Livadia Palace, situated near Yalta .

According to contemporaries, the Imperial yacht Standart evoked admiration by all who saw or sailed on her, and was hailed as the world's largest and most luxurious yacht of its time. 

The photo exhibition shows Tsar Nicholas II and his family during their journeys across the Baltic and Black Seas to visit relatives in Denmark and Britain, or for stays at their residence of Livadia on the sunny coast of the Crimea.

The exhibition is part of the ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the palace, which was built by Krasnov between 1910-1911.

It is important to note that a monument to the Imperial yacht Standart was unveiled at Sevastopol in early October of this year.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 November, 2011


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2011 12:05 PM EST
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Friday, 20 May 2011
Imperial Yacht Museum at Peterhof
Topic: Yachts


Many visitors to Peterhof are unaware of the many smaller Romanov-related museums situated within the palace grounds or the town of Peterhof itself.

The Imperial Yacht Museum is situated in a tiny building near the pier overlooking the Gulf of Finland.

The museum features models of the yachts dating from the 18th to the early 20th century (including the Shtandart), porcelain and fine china dinner services, crystal, vintage photographs, uniforms and other items associated with Russian Imperial yachts.

The museum is open daily from 10.30 to 18.00.

© Royal Russia. 20 May, 2011

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 1:30 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 20 May 2011 1:33 PM EDT
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Thursday, 10 March 2011
Royal Superyachts: How Kings and Queens Sail the Sea
Topic: Yachts

The following is an excerpt from an article published by CNN;

Before luxury yachting was the preserve of Russian tycoons and Silicon Valley moguls, it was only the world's wealthiest royals who built palaces on the sea.

There have been and continue to be a fleet of imperial yachts used to transport royals, from Russian czars to princes of Monaco, in the opulent fashion to which they are accustomed.


If you thought that Abramovich and his fellow billionaires were the first of their countrymen to build ultra-ostentatious pleasure boats, then think again.

The Russian imperial yacht "Shtandart," built according to the specifications of Emperor Alexander III and his son Nicholas, was the largest imperial yacht on the oceans during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Completed in 1895, the opulent vessel was 401 feet long -- about the length of a soccer pitch -- colossal even by today's immodest standards.

Indeed, "Shtandart" was a veritable floating palace, adorned with mahogany-paneled drawing rooms, formal salons with polished floors, brass fittings, crystal chandeliers and velvet drapes.

The czar's private study was furnished in dark leather and elegant wooden furniture, while the czarina's drawing room and boudoir were bedecked in her favorite English chintz. The imperial yacht even had its own chapel for the private use of the family.

However, Russia's largest royal yacht was also her last. After the revolution in 1917, the ship was stripped of all its elegance, renamed "Vosemnadtsate Martza" and refitted as a drab, gray minelayer for service in the Soviet Navy. The boat was scrapped at Tallinn in Estonia in 1963.

© CNN. 10 March, 2011

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:43 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2011 4:12 PM EDT
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Imperial Yacht Shtandart, 1832
Now Playing: Andrei Stackenschneider (1802-1865)
Topic: Yachts

The Russian Imperial family enjoying a summer cruise onboard the Imperial yacht, Shtandart.

The painting portrays Tsar Nicholas I (reigned 1825-55), his German-born wife the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and at least some - if not all - of their seven children, Alexander (the future Tsar Alexander II, reigned 1855-81), Nicholas, Michael, Constantine, Maria, Olga and Alexandra. The vessel depicted is presumably the Shtandart, the second imperial yacht of this name but about which very little is known.

This charming watercolour by Andrei Stackenschneider sold at Christie's (London) for £8,963 ($16,616) in 2004.

© Christie's. 10 March, 2011


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 2:35 PM EST
Updated: Friday, 1 April 2011 4:13 PM EDT
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