Completely rebuilt and totally converted in 1992-1993 as a 42m luxury yacht, the steel hull of the Sir Robert Baden Powell was originally laid in 1957-58, when she was built as a service tug and icebreaker in Magdeburg, Germany at the VEB Edgar Andre shipyard. The tugboat `Robert` comes from a series of ships that were built for export to the socialist sister states. In 1989 the ship was laid up and put up for sale after the collapse of the Eastern bloc, and with it the Polish state company for which the 'Robert' had been in service. In 1991 she was purchased by her current owners and transported to Lemmer in the Netherlands where commenced a total conversion from commercial tug to a luxury passenger sailing ship.
The Dutch naval architects Kapteyn & Stromenger from Enkhuizen based the extensive conversion plan and re-design as a topsail schooner, on the model of the Baltimore Clippers. Developed for the American Revolutionary War, the Baltimore Clipper was a very fast and agile sailing ship that had good performance characteristics both upwind and downwind and was therefore well suited as a blockade runner. These Baltimore Clippers could maneuver much faster and better than the sluggish British ships of the tine. Other characteristic were the strongly aft inclined masts (up to 15 degrees mast rake), as well as the 1-2 square sails as typical for a topsail schooner.
The actual conversion work on the hull was carried out by the shipyard van den Berg in Lemmer, with the interior work by Azomat, and finish work later by Aquamar BV in Lemmer. Power by a 300 hp Mitsubishi diesel engine, her hands-on skilled owners installed all new electronics, rigging and interior finish work and furnishings. In the spring of 1993 the conversion was completed, and she was christened as Sir Robert Baden Powell - after the English general who fought in the Boer War. He later founded the Boy Scout movement – “to get the youthful proletariat off the streets” and help them find good employment in turn-of-the-century England. Sir Robert believed in the principles of education for self-education, social behavior, taking on responsibility at a young age with a strong connection to nature and environmental protection – and her owners deemed it a fitting tribute to name the ship for Sir Robert.
Today the SS Sir Robert Baden Powell is a running well established sailing cruise ship business accommodating 20 passengers and 5 professional crew members offering full board cruises in the Mediterranean Sea including themed trips such as learn to sail, scuba diving in combination with shore activities such as hiking, cycling, corporate incentive trips, family & child friendly charters.
SIR ROBERT has had extensive refits in 1999, 2012, 2016-2017, 2020-2021.