Shtandart - History of the Original
years ago, upon the order from tzar Peter and governor Menshikov,
began the construction of the first Russian ships for the new Russian
Navy in which Shtandart became the flagship.
The name Shtandart signifies the new trade route that Russia had gained
via the Baltic Sea. In 1703 Peter changed his standard by adding the
fourth map of the Baltic to the previously existing maps of the three
Russian seas. A new royal standard was created and in its honour the
first Russian ship of the Baltic Navy was named Shtandart.
The art of shipbuilding
Russia’s military success against Turkey allowed Peter to claim
a lucrative trade route to Europe – via the Baltic
Sea. But to protect the Baltic land he needed a strong Navy. During his
Grand Embassy Peter studied the art of shipbuilding. In Amsterdam “Peter
and Paul” frigate was built and launched specially for Peter so
he could watch the full building cycle. Peter received a certificate
that stated that Peter Mikhailov “studied the art of shipbuilding
to the extent that we are knowledgeable in it”.
But Peter was not
satisfied with that knowledge. The reason being that the Dutch school
of shipbuilding relied heavily on practical experience rather than
the precise theoretical knowledge and calculations. The knowledge and
of the craft were passed down from father to son. To use this method
of building in Russia would be impossible, as Russia did not have generations
of carpenters, riggers and cutters. So Peter needed to learn a more
structured science and after Holland he proceeded to go to England,
famous for its precise, formalised and structured approach to everything
including designing and building ships.
was another reason Peter wanted to go to England. William III promised
to give to his brother Peter the Royal Transport, a yacht of
incomparable beauty and speed..
Thus, having spent 5 months in Holland, Peter spent another 4 months
in England, travelling and learning from shipwrights and admirals.
what did he learn during that trip?
Apart from 500 experts that Peter
hired to work in Russia, he also brought with him technologies and innovations
for various industries but in particular for his most beloved shipbuilding.
Applying the knowledge
The chance to apply the new knowledge came very soon. The building
of new ships for the Baltic navy began in 1702-1703. The second shipyard
(Olonetsky shipyard) of two newly constructed ones, proved to be more
successful. In just 5 months, working literally in an open field and
building the shipyard as they went along, the first 10 ships were completed.
The biggest among those was the 28 gun Shtandart, chosen to become
flagship of the new Baltic Navy.
The work was overseen by the Dutch and English masters, as well as
the Russian specialists who studied shipbuilding during the Grand
Tzar Peter himself did many designs and technical drawings and he would
only entrust his projects to the best of his shipwrights. Among them
was Vybe Gerens, who by that time had already gained a reputation of
being a talented shipbuilder. He was responsible for the construction
of the 38 gun vessel in Voronezh and Archangel, also building two
8 gun yachts
and even another ship with 68 guns. He was given the task to build
Ship”, later called Shtandart.
Sadly Peter’s drawings did not survive.
But the look
and the structure of Shtandart was carefully recreated using the data
from the Olonetsky shipyard and results of more than three years research
by a Russian historian Viktor Krainukov.
Shtandart gives us an interesting example of the combination of two
very different building styles.
The Dutch needed their ships to be comfortable
in shallow waters, as many of them were built in areas with shallow
canals. Compared to the English ships of the same ammunition the Dutch
had a much smaller draft. In the deep open sea where anchors can’t
reach the bottom, it was crucial to have the ability to beat along
the wind. This is what English ships have always been famous for.
Shtandart, Peter used the best practices from both schools: the smaller
draft necessary for navigation in the Gulf of Finland and the high elegant
rigging of the English.
Peter himself was involved in the building of Shtandart. He’d
been present at the Olonetsk shipyard since July 21 1703. It was probably
due to his energy and determination that the construction was finished
within only five months. His people worked until dark every day, and
we know northern summer days last a long time…
In a very short time, only two weeks in fact, the masts and sails were
ready. On September 8, 1703 Shtandart set sail for St-Petersburg under
command of captain “Peter Mikhailov”. The flotilla of ships
arrived at St-Petersburg in the middle of October.
her 16-years of service Shtandart had several captains. Their names tell
a very international Navy history of the time:
Mikhailov - Russia -1703
P. Grey - England - 1704
Jan Delang - Holland - 1705
F. Vilimovsky - Russia - 1706-1707
Shonvick - Holland - 1708-1709
Henry Vessel -Norway -1712
B. Edwart - England - 1713
Disrepair and the Empress's
A few years later the result of the hurried constructions began to show
their effects. The timber was not dried properly, the ship came to a
state of disrepair and was scheduled for retimbering.
The repaired Shtandart
continued service until 1719, when Peter decreed the frigate
to be preserved forever as the first ship of the Russian Navy and a monument
of the art of shipbuilding.
Sadly, without care and attention, Shtandart
and several other ships stored at Kronwerk Canal deteriorated very
In 1727 a special commission ordered by Katherine I checked the
condition of the ships and decided to bring Shtandart ashore to be restored.
But water and time had already done so much damage that during the lifting
attempts the cable actually cut the hull in sections. The old Shtandart
was taken apart with a new decree from the Empress: “In honour
of the name given by His Majesty Peter I will build the new one”.
decree remained unfulfilled until the late 20th century when the modern
exact replica Shtandart was build in St-Petersburg by a team of enthusiasts
and volunteers led by naval architect and sailor Vladimir Martus.
Read more about the replica...