Discipline - order - seamanship
The first litter that sailed out with the school ship. The picture was taken in London in 1927 where the crew was present at the wedding of the new Norwegian seamen's church, St. Olav's Church.

Discipline - order - seamanship

It began with the Kristiansands shipowner O.A.T. Skjelbred establishing a endowment in 1918 of £25,000 to be used for the establishment of Sørlandets Seilende Skoleskibs Institution and the acquisition of a new fully rigged steel ship of approximately 6-700 br. reg. tons of space for approx. 80 boys as well as officers. In the statutes for the endowment, it was stated, among other things: "The purpose is to give boys who want the sea the best possible education in navalship as well as practically as theoretically under strict discipline and good order and seamanship on board." The capital should remain untouched until it had reached a million kroner. At the request of the shipowner Skjelbred, Christianssands Sjømandsforening took over the endowment's funds for management in the first place. In 1925, the million was reached, the seamen's association was relieved of its obligations, and the first board of the institution was appointed with then-port secretary Joh C. Tønnesen as chairman.

P. Høivold's mek. Workshop in Kristiansand undertook to build the ship, a three-mast full rig of 577 gross register tonnes. It was Høivold's first building number. In 1927 it made its first voyage to Denmark with 90 students on board. The same year, the trip went to London, where the crew was present at the wedding of the new Norwegian sailor's church, St. Olav Church. Sørlandet's first driver was G. Selmer Lindeberg.

In the years that followed did Sørlandet many voyage with constantly new boys on board. The ship visited the most important ports in Scandinavia, England and on the Continent.

The most fabled cruise went to the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, "A Century in Progress." Also a very comprehensive voyage to Madeira and the Canary Islands in 1936 there is a particular sheen of. Norwegian school kids didn't move very far in their 30s, which is why these raids were of particular interest.

Sørlandet was created in a rather turbulent time for international shipping. There were bad times in the world, and here at home it was not so easy to get work for the large groups of young people who were almost queuing to get to sea. It is illustrative of the schoolship's activities in the 1930s that all annual reports from the institution contain information on how many of the boys were hired out after the course at Sørlandet .

At the same time, there was an ongoing debate about what was right and targeted education for future sailors. There were two main factions in this battle. Older sailors maintained that there was no better background for the naval profession than an instructive stay on board such a sailing ship, while the other camp believed that education should transition from the sailing ships to steam and the motor ships. The newspapers were concerned with the issue, and it was not lacking in engaged reader posts from many quarters.

On Agder, however, there was enthusiasm that the region finally got a ship that would satisfy the educational needs of young people who wanted to become seafarers. The search for the ship was often the manyfold of the intake of pupils that was mostly around 90. The enthusiasm for the new ship's genesis is clearly expressed in an article by Commander Oscar Augensen that on 4 February 1927 at a prominent place in Fædrelandsvennen writes the following:

"He who is not himself a seaman from the time of the sails cannot imagine the sneering it is that see the hull with the elegant shapes and fine lines, thanks to the ædle giver, the constructor and the workshop.

It all only comes to its right when the master and yards is in place, and " Sørlandet » is driven forward in the dance of the waves for shiny white sails in tight lines of standing and running rigs - a sight for gods and older people, who have themselves experienced the speed and there harvested their most wonderful memories of youth.

But this is not enough. « Sørlandet » has a great task, far above cargo and profit: on board, Norwegian boys are to be developed both physically and morally, they are expected to become an ornament to our seamanship, men with professional knowledge, with a sense of duty and responsibility at the fingertips, slender personalities, who do honor to the flag, where it is flown around the ports, reliable, disciplined sailors, strong and courageous in the many difficult situations of the sea and the port.

Anyone who has hatred with the upbringing of a larger tangle of youngsters that do knows how difficult the gift is and how heavy the responsibility often becomes, not mindst at sea, where courage and snareness under over-the-counter danger are realities of daily life."

- Source: " The Ship Sørlandet - a school under sail",
published by the Foundation The Ship Sørlandet in April 1987.
Editor: Helge Svein Halvorsen

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