Dreams of Sailing
This is a story about how Ukrainian steel helped to make
a dream come true: by being used to build the largest sailing ship in the world.
The France II is a 146-metre long cargo ship that was built at shipyards in Bordeaux. This type of vessel is called a 'windjammer' for its abundance of sails. It transported ore, coal and wool from Europe to French Polynesia and Indochina.
A barque is a large sailing vessel with square-rigged sails on all its masts except the stern, which has fore-and-aft sails.
A seaside structure for the construction and launching of vessels.
Sandblasting is a technique for cleaning the surface of metal with sand or other abrasive powder.

An old-fashioned new sailing ship

A ship-owner from Europe had a dream: to build the world's largest sailboat that has ever sailed the seas. While at a Paris museum one day, he saw
a model of the France II, a five-mast barque from 1911 and the pride of French sailors. The vessel is considered one of the largest sailboats in the history
of shipbuilding. This is how he got the idea to build a modern cruise ship with the aura of an old-fashioned vessel. With drawings from the museum,
he went to Poland, where a design was developed for the ship. The project was finalised and brought to life at the Brodosplit shipyard in Croatia, which is part of the DIV Group.

Building the ship's hull took two years from the time the design was developed until it was put afloat. Then came the technical equipment and interior decoration. In 2018, the ship was brought to life: the electricity was switched on in January and the engines started running in early spring.
In autumn the ship was taking its first test voyage to the shipyard in Rijeka, where it was painted. The vessel went out to sea for testing eight times
as it was checked for noise and vibration.
"This is a replica of a ship France II
that was built last century. Shipbuilders consider this liner to be among the most elegant and beautiful. We tried to preserve the silhouette and lines of the merchant ship, but made it a luxury passenger vessel. No one in the world
has done this before."
Oliver Stanić
Design Division Manager, DIV Group
Now the ship is ready for a storm, fire or even equipment failure. It was the first vessel in Croatia
to be fitted with a safe return to port system. This means that all the main equipment is duplicated: it has two engine rooms and two electricity and water supply systems. Two of the ship's electric motors are run by
a diesel generator. It can stay at sea for a couple of months without refuelling. But the liner will be using
its sails most of the time. With fair winds, it can go
as fast as 20 knots per hour.

Sailing over
the waves

Our hero of the oceans and seas is the five-mast barque Flying Clipper. This giant is 162 metres long from bow to stern, 20 metres high and 18.5 metres wide. A 60-story skyscraper could be placed along its deck.

This is a cruise ship that thinks it is an icebreaker. The vessel is capable of navigating all the seas of the world – from the Arctic to the Antarctic, from the North to the South Pole. This marvel costs more than EUR 100 million to build.

The most atmospheric part of the ship are the white sails. The world has never seen such enormous sails: a football team could easily play a match on them. As an aside, the cruise ship's passengers will have
a chance to test their abilities as sailors. Directing the sails is one part of the entertainment on board.

The premium-class vessel is designed for 300 passengers and a crew of 150 sailors. Holidaymakers experience the most fun on the upper deck, which features three pools, restaurants, bars, a library and a spa – all you could ever need for a leisurely vacation. The Flying Clipper
is designed for older passengers who have previously travelled on their own yachts. The cost of a ten-day trip starts from EUR 10,000. The most popular destinations are the Mediterranean in summer
and the Caribbean in winter.
"This ship was built from Ukrainian steel. Thanks to the steel's properties, the vessel can travel to the North Pole."
Radovan Načinović
Flying Clipper Project Manager
The sailboat is 90% made of steel: Ukraine's Metinvest supplied 3,000 of the 4,500 tonnes of steel plates and sheets for the vessel. The shipbuilding steel travelled over 3,000 km from the Azovstal and Ilyich Steel plants in Mariupol, Ukraine, to become part of the ship. The finishing materials came from different parts of the world: China, the United States, Germany, Norway, Mexico and countries of the Middle and Far East.


The Brodosplit shipyard is the largest in Croatia. It covers an area of half
a million square metres and is like a small island in the Adriatic Sea.
It has been building vessels for almost a century.

The shipyard is the main supplier of ships for the Croatian Navy. Over
the past 80 years, it has built more than 400 cargo, military and passenger vessels for customers around the world. In addition to ships, the company builds wind turbines, cranes for hydro and power plants, and metal structures for stadiums.

Brodosplit is part of Croatia's DIV Group. The group includes about
50 companies that build ships from scratch – from drafting project documentation to design solutions.

Brodosplit consumes 10,000-15,000 tonnes of steel a year. The shipyard began working with Metinvest in 2013. Since the beginning of cooperation in 2013 Metinvest delivered to the shipyard 40,000 tonnes of steel.

"Brodosplit usually has high demands for its suppliers
in terms of the quality of materials. And Metinvest meets these demands, with respect to both technical specifications and commercial features."

Tino Nikolić
Procurement Division Manager, Brodosplit

How the ships
are built

Three vessels can be built simultaneously at the shipyard. The most metal-consuming part of the ship – the hull – takes six months to assemble. As an example, a classic tanker requires 6,000-12,000 tonnes of steel to build.

The steel panels are initially cut into sheets and sections followed
by the shaping of small parts and then large components. The vessel is assembled on a slipway, launched into the water and returned
to land again to install the necessary equipment.


Everything at the shipyard starts with the warehouse, where steel sheets are laid in neat stacks.
"We are now at the place where beautiful ships are made from the sheets of steel that you see right here by me.
All ships are 90% steel."
Ivan Bulić
Manager of the Preassembly Workshop

Processing and
cutting the metal

Prior to production, the sheets are sandblasted and painted. This is how
we protect the metal against corrosion. It only provides temporary protection. The finished sections of the ship will then be painted again.

The dark blue painted sheet is then sent off to be cut. A huge crane picks
up the sheet with magnets and drops it in a pool. It then undergoes water procedures – plasma cutting. The requisite blueprints are transferred to
a computer on a flash drive, and the whole process is controlled by a person. After being cut, the sheet with cut-out patterns is dried and the parts are numbered and stored with magnets.
Each material here has its own fate. Underwater techniques
are used for sheets, and dry gas cutting is used for plates.

The more complicated designs such as angle sections are cut by robots.
A worker presses the buttons and the robot releases a stream of fire
at just the right moment.


The cut parts now need to be assembled: small structures are manually welded from them first, followed by larger ones. Machines are put to work and sparks fly in CKD and SKD workshops. Two types of ships are assembled here – polar vessels and cruise ships.

Welders say that the most intricate work is required for the forepeak – the extreme fore part of the vessel, which can be easily damaged.

Large sections of the future vessel are transported by powerful modular conveyors. The heavyset machines are so long that they cannot turn around: they have driver's seats in the front and rear. The finished units wait on the slipway, where they will be used to assemble the ship's hull.
"My colleagues and I worked on the mast for the Flying Clipper. And we are very proud of it. The mast is made of Ukrainian steel. We are pleased with the quality of this steel. There were no problems during welding."
Pjero Perak


The vessel is prepared to be launched on a slipway. Both sides of the ship
are supported by angled supports filled with sand. When the supports are knocked down, the sand spills out and only four brakes hold the giant. This
is when the countdown begins: if the vessel is not launched into the water
in five minutes, it can become warped and all the work will have been done
in vain. At this time, the captain presses the button, the brakes are removed and the vessel slides into the sea. Two tugboats are already guarding it in the water to take it ashore, where the hull is stuffed full of all kinds of equipment. Vessels have been test-launched in this manner for more than 100 years.
Only the Brodosplit shipyard still uses this old-fashioned technology.
Nobody else in the world does this anymore, as they prefer artificial pools.

Before being launched, the ship is christened. Once a bottle of champagne has been broken over the side of the vessel, the godmother cuts the rope with an axe and sends the ship out on its first voyage. Why are women most often chosen as godparents? Because women bring ships good luck, according
to Croatian shipbuilders. Another old tradition is to imbed a coin, or even
more than one, into the vessel for good luck. For instance, a minted silver
coin is imbedded in the bottom of the Flying Clipper.

The next step is equipment testing and finishing. Finally, the last stage consists of five to six test runs, each of which lasts from one to six days.
The rituals have been completed, the sea gods
have been appeased and in just a little while the ship will lift its anchor, go out to sea and live its life.
Hundreds of people from all over the world will take
the journey of their dreams. The seas separate people, ships unite them and this is all made possible by steel.