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Weserkahn Franzius

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More ship photos

Weserkahn FRANZIUS under sail

The Franzius is an authentic replica of the flat-bottomed cargo sailboats that once carried freight and passengers between the city of Bremen and ships in the North Sea.


Franzius deck plan

In this deck plan, you can see the interior layout of the Franzius. The main cabin or mess (see photo below) has a large dining table with padded benches for sitting or sleeping. Smaller cabins are located fore and aft, each with bunks, a WC, and a sink.

The ship's capacity is 16 passengers for overnight cruises and 30 for day trips.


Franzius mess or saloon

The mess is a large, high-ceilinged room for socializing, eating, or sleeping.

The ceiling is a more refined version of the tent-like tarpaulins that sheltered the freight or passenger holds of Weser sailing barges in the early 19th Century.


Mess on FRANZIUS

I took this snapshot in the mess on a chilly morning in October. (The temperature was pleasantly warm below decks.)

The man speaking on the right is Dr. Wolfgang Grams of Research and Travel (R&T), a genealogical- research service and heritage tour operator for foreigners of Germany ancestry.


Dr. Wolfgang Grams on the FRANZIUS

Later, up on deck, Dr. Grams chatted with our fellow passengers. (In the background, you can see the banks of the River Weser, which is lined with shipyards, ferry landings, houses, and the occasional farm.)


Franzius deck

In this photo, you can see the tentlike roof of the mess and a modern life raft. The ship is being steered by the man in the stern, just behind the raft. The woman on the right is one of several volunteer crew members.


Franzius tiller

The Franzius is steered with a tiller, just like its early 19th Century forebears.


Captain of the FRANZIUS

Here, the captain takes a turn at the tiller.


Passengers help with the sails on the FRANZIUS

Passengers on the Franzius can help to raise and lower the sails. (Being wary of swinging booms, I kept my head down and out of the way.)


Passengers on the FRANZIUS

There's plenty of room for lounging and chatting on deck. (The passengers in this Franzius stock photo enjoyed warmer weather than we did.)


Accordion players on the FRANZIUS

You may hear accordion music on board if you're lucky (or unlucky, depending on your attitude toward bellows-driven musical instruments).


Mast of FRANZIUS

For a dizzying view, look straight up (but hold onto a handrail if you're on the edge of the boat).


FRANZIUS bowsprit

Car ferry on the River Weser

As the Franzius cruises along the Weser, you're likely to see sailboats, car ferries, cargo vessels, and other maritime activity. 


Weser River herring boat

We encountered a herring boat as we cruised upstream.


Weser channel marker and navigation light

We also passed a number of huge channel markers or navigation lights. (Notice the size of the marker compared to the man on the beach.)


Franzius on tidal flats

I didn't take this photo--it was supplied by the Weserkahn "Franzius" association--but I find it intriguing. It shows how the flat-bottomed boat is able to navigate extremely shallow waters, such as these tidal flats where tables have been set up for a meal.

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In this article:

Photos 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, and 17 copyright © Weser Kahn "Franzius" e.V.

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