Thank you for your interest as regards our ship, which is a close relative of the merchant, ships plowing the Mediterranean during the age of Alexander the Great!
NAME: The ship’s name is: “Kyrenia-LIBERTY” after the name of our beloved hometown Kyrenia. Liberty defines the ship’s crewmembers pledge and dedication towards a continuous effort to be liberated, from all those elements that divide and separate humanity, such as race, religion, party politics etc.
REGISTRATION: She is registered in Limassol (Reg.no: 711154) under the flag of the Republic of Cyprus member state, of the European Union.
DIMENSIONS: Her Length Over All (LOA) is 14,7 metres, Max.breadth is 4 metres and her depth is 1,8 metres. Her draught is from 0,45 metres to 1,7 metres depending on the load of her cargo.
THE GREAT DISCOVERY: The Kyrenia-LIBERTY is an exact replica of an ancient ship discovered in November 1965 at a depth of 100 feet (33 metres) by the Cypriot pioneer scuba diver and member of Kyrenia’s Municipal Council Andreas Cariolou. The town of Kyrenia, our hometown, is situated on the North coast of the Republic of Cyprus, and the shipwreck area was approximately 1,5 nautical mile to the East of the Kyrenia harbour.
RAISING FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA: In July 1968 following a permit granted by the Republic of Cyprus, a team of expert Nautical Archaeologists under the leadership of Prof.Michael.L.Katzev , excavated the shipwreck site. By the year 1973 work at the bottom of the sea was completed. The findings marked a unique and universal success as this was the first time, an ancient ship was brought to light with more than 60 percent of her hull in a comparatively excellent state of preservation. This enabled scientists to learn a great number of unknown elements of ancient shipbuilding.
SAILING AND SINKING: The ancient ship was probably sailing from her home port in Cyprus or Rhodes with just over 388 amphorae mainly from the island of Rhodes and after loading almonds in the port of Kyrenia sailed off for probably Palestine following the coast line of Minor Asia.. It is probable that immediately after departure the ship suffered an accidental shifting of cargo or bad weather or even some other human activity, which, in one way or another damaged her hull integrity (she was probably over 60 years old when she sunk!). She took a lot of water and subsequently sunk on a muddy seabed at a depth of 33 metres 1,5 N.M. East of Kyrenia Harbour, whilst crewmembers being so close to land, holding on the yard or mast or other floating wooden paraphernalia were able to swim to safety with their valuables.
THE ANCIENT SHIP, “SHELL-FIRST” CONSTRUCTION: The hull of the vessel was discovered resting on the seabed covered with mud and silt, with the bow facing North-East towards the open sea. She was a Hellenic merchant ship. Parts of her wood were cut, of Aleppo Pine (pinus halepensis) in approximately 388 B.C (dated by Carbon 14 analysis). The hull was constructed by using the “shell first” method which means: after laying down the keel of the vessel, the ancient shipbuilder constructed the shell (the planking) of the hull first before attaching inside later on, the 53 frames. Contrary to this practice, contemporary traditional wood-boat-builders always need, before anything else to secure the frames, ribs or skeleton of the craft on the keel, so at a later stage they will be able to support the shell or planking on these frames. The Ancient boat builder achieved this “shell-first” construction, by using –what is known, in present day terms- the “mortise and tendon” method. Almost 8.000 Square holes were duck on the opposite sides of opposing planks and keel and then roughly 4.000 small oak-made (quercus cerris) square tendons where inserted on the keel and first plank and then joined to the next by accurately inserting the protruding tendons inside the opposite square holes of the next plank. Small Oak-wood or pine-wood cylindrical pegs where then carefully hammered into pre-drilled holes in order to lock the thousands of tendons in position. It is estimated by scientists that the ancient ship had over 4 thousand oak tendons and over 8 thousand square holes or “Harmonias” as the ancient Hellenes used to call them! Upon completion of the shell, the hull was strengthened by frames or “ribs”. The frames where supported on the shell by an ingenious method using “wooden-rivets”. A rather large diameter hole was drilled passing through the frame and the plank. This hole received a hollow cylindrical softwood peg, which penetrated both frame and plank. A long hand-made copper nail was then inserted and hammered from the outside, through the hollow of this cylindrical peg like a modern rivet! Then the protruding point of the nail, from the inside, was bended and hammered into the inner face of the frame. (More or less looking like a “staple”). The ancient ship had an approximate length of 14 metres and a beam of 4 metres, the hull below the water line was covered by 1.5 to 2 millimeter lead sheathing offering probably water tightness.
THE ANCIENT CARGO: She was carrying a huge cargo of at least 388 Rhodian Amphorae (26 liters each) , she had a shingle ballast probably exceeding 1-1.500 kgs and had 29 pieces of 15 grain millstones made of andesite of volcanic origin probably from the island of Nisyros (total=1.652 Kgs). Amongst many other, at least 10.000 almonds were found, which were cut from probably Kyrenian almond trees in approximately 289 B.C. (dated by Carbon 14 Analysis). Traces of grapes, lentils, and figs where also found. Ship repairing hand tools, fishing net lead weights, blocks and pulleys, iron spearheads and very few coins, a very starange looking iron key and personal crockery for 4 persons reveal the activities and the number of crewmembers on board. On the front (bow) part of the ship over 160 lead rings gave a clew as regards the sailing rigging, as it is believed, those rings were carefully sawn on the leeward side (the side never exposed to the wind) (fore-part) of the ancient square sail in rows and vertical lines thus enabling the reefing of the sail upwards on the Yard. The mast step position was discovered but unfortunately no other parts including the mast, yard and rigging were preserved. It is sad to note that there was no evidence as regards the steering system of the vessel except some remains of a plank which one may assume that it could have been a part of a steering oar or quarter rudder blade.
WHERE IS THE ANCIENT SHIP NOW: Laina Swiny and Susan Katzev amongst more than 50 prominent scientists worked on the wreck for over 5 years and carefully recorded all the findings. The wood and almonds were preserved in polyethylene glycol by expert Francis-Talbot-Vasiliadou (fallen in love and became a Kyrenian!) And finally the ship was re-assembled in the castle of Kyrenia by the late Prof.Richard Steffy (A.I.N.A University of Texas).
BUILDING OF THE FIRST REPLICA BY THE SHELL-FIRST METHOD: In 1984 Harris Tzalas a brilliant and dedicated self taught historian, nautical archaeologist and researcher, president of the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical tradition, conceived the idea of executing a unique scientific experiment. To construct an accurate and exact replica of the ancient ship of Kyrenia precisely following the lines and construction plan of the ancient ship, under the close and strict supervision and guidance of the two prominent Scientists, Professors Michael Katzev and Richard Steffy. Following an accurate, strenuous and time consuming programme at the Manolis Psaros traditional shipbuilding site at Perama Piraeus Greece, an extremely successful product called : “KYRENIA-2” came into life and this ship was launched by Minister of culture late Melina Merkouris in 1986. From 1986 to 1991 the KYRENIA-2 visited many countries and took part in numerous cultural and scientific events, including the USA, Germany, Japan, and Spain and performed a magnificent return trip from Greece to Cyprus skippered by Antonis Vasiliades and Glafkos Cariolou son of the Kyrenian who discovered the ancient ship. The value and uniqueness of this naval architectural experiment dictated the necessity to avoid further exposure of the ship to the naturally expected sailing dangers and risks, so she had to be preserved as a Museum Exhibit in the Nautical Heritage Municipal Museum of “THALASSA” in Ayia Napa Cyprus.
THE KYRENIA-3 AND JAPAN: At more or less the same time, the Japanese National radio and Television Company NHK with Executive producer: Yasuji Hamagami, after a permit, constructed a second full size replica solely for the purpose of permanent land exhibition. The KYRENIA-3 is now graciously exhibited in the ship’s Museum of Fukuoka or Hakata Japan as a permanent Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus and European culture in Japan.
THE Kyrenia-LIBERTY: In March 2002 the Kyrenia Nautical Club which provided the able crew and captain for the KYRENIA-2 experimental voyages, handed over the idea of constructing a third replica, to the KYRENIA-CHRYSOCAVA CULTURAL FOUNDATION, in an effort to give answers to the many remaining scientific questions regarding the ancient steering ergonomics, the sailing performance, the cargo stevedoring and loading probabilities, the ship’s stability and performance under full load and many other important remaining questions, in order to complete this immense scientific puzzle. With the contribution of the Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece (KEDKE), the Ocean Exploration company NAUTICOS, the NEMITSAS metal factory in Cyprus, the Municipality Of Kyrenia, the Federal Bank of the Middle East, the Ministries of Interior, Education and Communication of the Republic of Cyprus, the ancient Amathus Community (Ayios Tychonas) and many other important and prominent organizations and personalities, the dream of the Kyrenians materialized. On the 10th of November 2002 the Kyrenia-LIBERTY was launched by the CHARALAMBOS AVGOUSTIS, traditional Shipbuilding Company in Limassol and she is now being prepared for her long fact finding mission.
ON BOARD “Kyrenia-LIBERTY”: Kyrenia-LIBERTY has two steering oars or quarter rudders lashed by natural fiber rope, (Abaca – Musa Textilis Nee & Sisalana) one on each side on the after-cross-beam. The ship is steered by rotating the blades of the steering oars, round their loom using two tillers, from the after deck, on opposing rotational hand-movements. The 11 metre 250 kgs mast, is positioned near the bow and it is supported by 3 port and 3 starboard natural fiber rope shrouds, the inner and outer forestays and one back stay, spliced on wooden thimbles exactly as the ones discovered on the ancient ship. The fore crossbeam is utilized during close-hauled sailing (sailing near the wind direction) for achieving better sailing performance. The ship’s sail is made out of canvas replacing the ancient sail, which was made probably by woven hemp, cotton or linen. The sail is 11 metres wide by 5 metres height and it is tied up by its head (topside) on the wooden yard. The wooden yard is supported in position by two yardarm halyards from the top of the mast, which are adjusting the yard and sail angle to the horizontal plane. The yard is mainly hoisted or lowered by the yard halyard which is supported by a system of wooden pulleys exactly the same as those found on the ancient ship. One pulley is permanently attached to the yard whilst two pulleys are on the masthead thus allowing one single crew member to lift the yard and sail on to sailing position. On top of the yard you may count 10 small wooden fairleads which accommodate a smooth passage for ten (rope) brails. These 10 brails are seen running from the top of the yard to the 10 be-laying pins on the after deck. These brails are components of the magnificent reefing machine of the ancient ship, which equals the modern contemporary “furling-gear” of modern state of the art sailing yachts. When these 10 brails are released, the square sail unfolds down the mast and opens allowing the wind to fill it up and the ship to start sailing. With 20 knots of wind Kyrenia-LIBERTY unladen can speed up to approximately 8 – 10 knots on a broad reach (with the wind behind at one quarter). The two eyes or “ophthalmi” (oculus) of the ship painted on the bow are similar to those proudly carried, by most ancient ships. These enable our ship to discover, (in the stormy weather often unleashed by Aeolus and Poseidon against sinful mariners!!), the most safe and fast course, avoiding rocks and sea monsters!
FOR ANY FURTHER INFORMATION. PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK THE CAPTAIN OR ANY CREWMEMBER OR VISIT OUR WEB-SITE AT:http://www.kyreniaship.org