For the past four days South Quay in West India Dock has been the temporary home to the Brazilian Navy’s sail training ship Cisco Branco (White Swan).
She is paying her first visit to London but has been a regular visitor to European waters since she was launched in the Netherlands back in 1999.
She has been taking part in the recent Tall Ships Racing series in the Baltic (an event won by the TS Royalist) and is making various port calls as she heads back to her homeport in Rio.
As a sail training ship she is used as a floating classroom for naval cadets as well as acting as a goodwill ambassador.
She is a a sleek ship constructed from steel but with wood and brass fittings to give her the characteristic look of a sailing ship but using modern designs and materials. She is also quite a bit smaller than the BAP Union which had visited West India Dock a few weeks before.
The crew were very friendly and very happy to show visitors around their fine vessel and they had been enjoying the sights of London.
A short video from onboard can be seen here and further pictures can be seen here.
Seen heading up the river Thames on Saturday 6th June was a rather interesting vessel.
Named the George Stephenson it is a new-build steam vessel that has been planned and constructed by a Dutch businessman by the name of Servaas Strik.
The keel was laid in November 2007 and it is coming to St Katharine Docks marina in London for her official christening on 12th June.
What makes this vessel especially interesting is the combination of using very traditional engineering techniques but more importantly making use of salvaged components from a huge variety of vessels – either directly or as raw materials.
For example, the propellers are made from a smelted down screw from the former French Navy aircraft carrier Clemenceau whilst there are doors from the RMS Windsor Castle on board. Some of the wood is also reported to have come from a former Thames paddle-boat!
Whilst her lines might please some and offend others what cannot be denied is that a massive amount of time and effort have been put in to creating a unique piece of floating history and fitting that she has sailed along the Thames with it’s own long history of maritime engineering.
More details can be seen on their Facebook page here and some more pictures can be seen here.
Update 13th June 2015
The SS George Stephenson has now left London bound for Rotterdam – as she passed Woolwich (and the Sailing Vessel Wylde Swan) she sounded her steam whistle.