Saving the Eugenios Eugenidis

Every ship has its own eventful history. The exhibition on display at the Averoff Battleship Museum until July 15 has, apart from the interesting exhibits, a noble cause: the rescue and restoration of the famous sailing ship Eugenios Eugenides. She was one of the most elegant specimens of craft under sail and was built in Britain in 1929. Today she is out of commission and remains anchored at a dock in Salamina, waiting patiently to go again out to sea under the Greek flag. Eight million euros are needed in order to achieve that. The collection is already under way, with Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos taking a personal interest and Vice Admiral Aristotelis Dimitsas – whose struggle led to the restoration of the Averoff – coordinating the effort. Apart from her simple beauty, the Eugenios Eugenides sailing ship silently tells an exciting story, as visitors to the exhibition can learn. It was built upon commission by Walter Runciman – the grandfather of the well-known Byzantinist Steven Runciman – at the best shipyards of the time, William & Denny Bros at Dumbarton in Scotland. It should be noted that the legendary sailing ship Cutty Sark was also built there. It was launched with the name Sunbeam III in 1929 and until 1939 was used as the private yacht of the Runciman family. Steven Runciman testified in a video which is part of the exhibition: «My first contact with Byzantium was when I saw the rock of Monemvasia from the deck of the Sunbeam during a cruise with my grandfather.» During the Second World War, the ship was used as part of the Allies’ special missions. In 1945, it fell into Swedish hands and its name was changed to Flying Clipper. It starred in the film «Flying Clipper» and also made an appearance in the film «Lord Jim,» while during the 1950s it distinguished itself in sailing races. Greece’s Merchant Marine Ministry bought it in 1965, which was when it acquired its current name, in honor of the benefactor who left funds for its purchase. It was used for the training of cadets until 1990 and was then put out of commission. It was later passed on to the Ministry of Culture and was given to the Naval Museum. The navy is trying to adopt it today; for contributions, contact Captain S. Markou at the Merchant Marine Ministry (tel 210.655.1004/1920).

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.