Druzhba's path started in 1987, when beautiful 360-foot and 2,300-ton tall ship was launched in 1987 at the shipyard of Gdansk, Poland. Natively, she was ordered and further operated by the Black Sea Shipping Co. (Черноморское морское пароходство) as a sail training ship, reserved for the Odessa Maritime Academy. The USSR had high hopes for tall ships and ordered six sisterships, which were launched at different shipyards in different years.
Druzhba is an all-steel and full-rigged ship with square sails on all three masts. There are not many vessels of its kind known in the world.
Druzhba is a real treasure and relic of our people. More than one generation of seafarers trained and started their professional way aboard Druzhba. The vessel made voyages across the Mediterranean Sea, along Northern Europe, entered the Indian Ocean, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached the United States. None of those who came aboard the tall ship, remained indifferent to its sails and masts.
Unfortunately, since the 2000s, Druzhba has been laid up at the Practical Harbor in Odessa. Without an updated technical passport and other documents, the tall ship has no right to unmoor and put out to sea. The sailing ship has been rusting without proper repair and maintenance for 20 years. The rest of the sisterships did not meet such unfortunate end. Some of them still remain afloat, repaired and ready for training sails. It is a great honor for any country to have such a gorgeous and rare ship like Druzhba, but not every country is able to appreciate and correctly use such a relic.
The sail training ship Druzhba became home for American and Soviet cadets for more than 60 days in 1990. The toll ship gathered 41 cadets from the United States and 60 of their Soviet colleagues. That was the first ever joint training cruise. The Soviet side united 5 freshmen, 39 second-year cadets and 16 third-year cadets of Odessa Maritime Academy. The sail intended to promote friendship between people of two countries and one maritime profession. The vessel named Druzhba (= Friendship) became the main symbol of this unity.
The sail was headed by an experienced Master Konstantin Kremlyanskiy. The president of the United States Tall Ship Foundation Jay D. Bolton helped to organize this cruise. According to him, the lessons learned were invaluable for all men and ladies participated in that sailing.
The Young learned a lot during the voyage, for example, piloting, navigation and of course all the professional elements. The heads of the Practice as well as the crew assured that a respect for the sea, maritime profession and your team is the main thing the sailing ship can teach you.
“I learned a great deal about the Soviet people, a great deal about sailing a square rigger and a great deal about Soviet food,” said Duane Bennett, a senior at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y. That was written by David F. White, Joc.com, in 1990.
The voyage started in Odessa and took it to Turkey, North Africa, the Canary Islands and Bermuda, then to Baltimore and New York. In all, Druzhba covered 6 500 miles and called the United States ports in August, where she was given a very warm welcome. Every port of call gathered huge queues of people wishing to come aboard. The cadets kindly conducted excursions the whole day. The participants of that sail recalled, that at least 5 000 people, both adults and children, went on board per day.
In Manhattan, many influential persons came to admire the beauty Druzhba. Chairman & CEO at Norton Lilly International Inc. John H. Griffith hosted some leaders from the American and Soviet sides, including Admiral Paul L. Krinsky and Chief of the Odessa Higher Engineering Marine School Vasily Zalyotov.
Both of them agreed that the tall ship is necessary training platform for cadets of the maritime higher education institutions and the cruise 1990 did only good for every participant.
"Our two countries are divided by many seas and oceans; however, the same oceans and seas are bringing us together. The real education of seamen could not be without the tall ships, to build up stamina and courage." Vasily Zalyotov added. The quote posted by David F. White, Joc.com, in 1990.
Druzhba went back to Odessa with Soviet cadets aboard. The tall ship overcame all the weather conditions and storms in the ocean. Summarizing, the voyage lasted more than five months, since June 10 to October 20. The crew and cadets remembered the sail 1990 as the one of the most vivid and priceless memories in their lives.