The Story of the Pamir is worthy of a place in the annals of New Zealand History

A prize of war for the New Zealand Government 1941-1948.
The Pamir’s stately arrival in New Zealand under a full press of sail, became an enduring image for many New Zealanders. The Finish ship, The Pamir had a touch of magic about her and was a graceful example of the Windjammers, – the last of the stately ‘Flying P Class’. The Pamir was seized by the NZ Government at the outbreak of WW2, as Finland was technically in a state of war with the Allied Powers.

During the war years, the Pamir undertook eight voyages from Wellington to San Francisco and Vancouver, carrying nitrate for the war effort.

The barque’s graceful hull, lofty masts and sails, stirred the imagination of many New Zealanders. To sail on the Pamir became an obsession for hundreds of young New Zealand men, and when she was brought into service, those accepted for each voyage counted themselves most fortunate.

PAMIR – ‘MAKING LANDFALL’

Arrival in New Zealand, 29 July 1941.

1200mm x 1000mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

The Pamir arrived in New Zealand on 29 July 1941, making her landfall at Cape Palliser. As the barque neared Wellington on a cold, grey and rainswept morning, the fresh southerly wind sent spume flying from the crest of the seas. She appeared out of the mist as a phoenix rising from the sea.

The great Southern Ocean Albatross wheeled and swung high and low around her masts. Emblazoned in white lettering on her hull, on either side of a large painted Finish flag, were the words ‘Pamir Finland’. Near the bow and stern was a large white upright square divided into three by a broad blue band.

PAMIR – ‘DIPPING ENSIGNS’

1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

The Pamir swung on her anchor in Wellington harbour for two weeks before her towing hauser was connected to the tug Terawhiti. The Pamir then weighed anchor and the Terawhiti gradually took the strain. The Pamir slowly started gathering her way. Heading down wind towards the harbour entrance, sheeting home the fore, main and mizzen sails, upper and lower topsails, inner jib and jigger stays, the voyage had just commenced. The incoming Dutch passenger cargo liner, the Klipfontein, fifteen days out of San Francisco, swept close by to the Pamir, for a courteous exchange of ‘dipping the ensigns’, an age old custom of the sea.

PAMIR – ‘CLOSE ENCOUNTERS’

1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

Crossing the Pacific Ocean on it’s fifth voyage, the Pamir came across a submarine on it’s port bow, a big slimy-looking son-of-a-gun submarine, heading straight towards the Pamir. After scrambling and quickly getting the lifeboats boats cleared to be lowered, and after five minutes of extreme tension, the submarine suddenly turned and disappeared under the waves to the South West. Was it friend or foe, we may never know.

PAMIR – ‘CRACKING ON’

1000mm x 870mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

A thrilling sight of the Windjammer Pamir tearing along in half a gale.

The ‘old man’ is cracking on sail and the ship is doing 15 knots at times, which is a lot for one of these ‘Flying P Line’ ships.

PAMIR – ‘OUTWARD BOUND’

910mm x 610mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

The Pamir leaving Auckland and rounding North Head and just about to drop her tow, and make her journey to the far side of the world.

PAMIR -‘BECALMED IN THE CHANNEL’

900mm x 900mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

The Pamir after leaving the port of Auckland and dropping her tow and under a full press of sails, becomes ‘becalmed in the Rangitoto Channel’ for three days.

PAMIR -‘PRESSING ON’

900mm x 900mm – Oil on Canvas. Available for purchase.

The Pamir after being becalmed in the Rangitoto Channel for three days, is three days later ’pressing on’ in the roaring forties.

PAMIR -‘FULL PRESS OF SAILS’

1071mm x 910mm – Oil on Canvas. Sold.

The Pamir one of the last of the majestic wind jammers, homeward bound with a full press of sails, makes for an impressive sight.