Meteor - The German Royal Yachts | Sailing Yacht

Note: This article handles not the 52m schooner yacht by Royal Huisman from 2007. 

Meteor were the names of five German royal racing sailing yachts owned by Wilhelm II, German Emperor.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, German EmperorWilhelm II (in English: William II) governed the German Empire from 1888 to 1918 and was also the King of Prussia and belonged to the House of Hohenzollern. His grandmother was Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Not much known: Wilhelm II was an enthusiastic yachtsman. He owned several sailing yachts and enjoyed yacht races in Germany and United Kingdom. He owned not only sailing yachts. Two of his yachts were the H.M.S. Hohenzollern I (88 meters) and H.M.S. Hohenzollern II (120 meters).

Meteor I

The original name of the first Meteor was Thistle. This yacht was designed by George Lennox Watson launched in 1887 at D. and W. Henderson & Company at the Clyde river in Scotland and had a length of 33.05 meters. The order was given by some members of the Royal Clyde Yacht Club. Her Mission: Challenging the American defender yacht Volunteer at the 7. America’s Cup. Unfortunately, she lost 0-2 against Volunteer from the New York Yacht Club. However, she was very successful when she was back in her home waters. That’s why Wilhelm II bought the yacht because he was looking for a promising regatta yacht.

Yacht Meteor I former Thistle

Meteor I (ex Thistle) in drydock before 1899.

Meteor I Yacht (ex Thistle)

Meteor I (ex Thistle)

Main Specifications

Type:Racing cutter
Year:1887
Length over all:33.05 m
Length water line:26.35 m
Beam:6.20 m
Draft:4.16 m
Sailing area:1.245 m²

Meteor II

Wilhelm II wanted a faster racing yacht. He charged the yacht designer George Lennox Watson to construct the new one. The yacht was also built by D. and W. Henderson like her predecessor. She served until 1902. This yacht was similar to H.M.Y. Brittania

Main Specifications

Type:New dashing racing-cutter of Britannia-type
Year:1896
Length over all:37.06 m
Length water line:27.02 m
Beam:7.27 m
Draft:5.50 m
Sailing area:1.045 m²

Meteor III

1902 – new yacht, new designer and new shipyard. Not British, not German – Wilhelm II decided to the American designer Cary Smith and the American shipyard Townsend & Downey Shipbuilding Co.

Alice Roosevelt – the daughter of the U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt – christened the yacht. That was the beginning of the German-American sailing friendship.

In 1909 Dr. Carl Dietrich Harries (the husband of Werner von Siemens‘ daughter – Hertha) bought the yacht and renamed her in Nordstern (North Star) and converted to cruise with her in German and Mediterranean seas.

Yacht Meteor III

The launch of Meteor III in New York, 25 February 1902

Main Specifications

Type:Schooner
Year:1902
Length over all:
Length water line:
Beam:
Draft:
Sailing area:

Meteor IV

Meteor IV was a complete German yacht. She was designed by Max Oertz and was built by Germaniawerft in Kiel.

Yacht Meteor IV

Postcard of the Meteor IV by the Imperial German Post Office

Wilhelm II on SMS Meteor IV

Wilhelm II on SMY Meteor IV

Oil Painting by Ulrich Hübner - Yacht Meteor IV

Oil Painting of Yacht Meteor IV

Main Specifications

Type:Schooner
Year:1909
Length over all:47.14 m
Length water line:33.05 m
Beam:8.27 m
Draft:5.49 m
Sailing area:1.371 m²

Meteor V

She was the last and biggest sailing yacht belongs to Wilhelm II. Like Meteor IV also designed by Max Oertz and built in 1914 by Germaniawerft in Kiel.

Main Specifications

Type:Schooner
Year:1914
Length over all:47.60 m
Length water line:32.13 m
Beam:7.68 m
Draft:5.48 m
Sailing area:1.410 m²

About Publisher

Hey, I’m René, the ‘captain’ of this luxury yacht blog. I found my passion of the big ones in 2002 (at the age of 17). I have grown up with sailing since a little child. I have an education in Business Informatics and specialized in digital media solutions like Social Media, User Experience and Social Intranet. I’m working as an independent Luxury Yacht Consultant with YES-yachts.com. My home port is in Oldenburg, Germany next to Lürssen and Abeking & Rasmussen.

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