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Tall Ships Races brings ex Nazi yacht to Helsinki

The Windfall-class sailing ship Flamingo, participating in the Tall Ships Races, was once commissioned to the German armed services as a training vessel and was taken by the British after the Second World War as reparation.

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Sail yacht Flamingo. Image: The Tall Ships Races

The impressive 56 foot (18 meters long) 26 tonnes wooden sloop Flamingo arrived to Helsinki with the Talls Ships Races fleet. The yacht, built for the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936, was used for training and leisure by German soldiers until it was taken to England as a war trophy, along with 23 similar ones.

After being constructed by the famous German shipbuilders Abeking & Rasmussen, Flamingo was first commissioned to the German Airforce, where it, among others, entertained then commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe Hermann Göring.

Flamingo is currently owned by the British Kiel Yacht Club and was sailed to Finland by members of the British Armed Forces. The yacht's captain Mike Giles told Yle it is the only one remaining of the original Windfall crafts.

Giles says it’s a privilege to train British soldiers on the vessel, many of whom have not sailed before. Every member of the 10-person crew on board is on active duty and many of them are heading out for deployment in Afghanistan after the race.

There will be an Yle News report on the Tall Ships' arrival in Finland on Thursday’s TV1 broadcast at 3:05pm. The report is also viewable afterwards online at Yle Areena.

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