The Sørlandet is a unique cultural heritage of maritime Norway under sail. Previously, she was a school ship for seaman training of school ship boys. She is now available for higher education and adventure sailing for "youth" of all ages.
A hundred years ago, more specifically, on February 25, 1918, Marie and Oluf Andreas T. Skjelbred created a grant whose funds were to be used to build Sørlandet. The operation of the ship and the school activities were organized through the "Sørlandets Seilende Skoleskibs Institution". The ship was built in Kristiansand and launched in May 1927. The purpose of the school ship business was to provide youth with the best possible education in practical and theoretical skills. The financial framework conditions for operating Sørlandet have been demanding both from a historical perspective and in the present. The ship was built as a niche product. Right from the start, the ship type was outdated. However, it was recognized that a traditional rigged sailing ship was well suited to give young people introduction to maritime skills and thus open up the opportunity for a professional career.
CAN A SAILING CULTURE TREASURE BE RELEVANT IN OUR TIME?
Never before has humanity experienced a faster technological and economic development than in the last century. By then more than 7,500 school ship boys had completed their basic maritime education at Sørlandet. In the early 1970s, the ship was sold to a shipowner and used as a sales venue for maritime equipment. The great-grandson of the original donor bought the ship back from a bankruptcy in 1977 and gifted it to Kristiansand municipality that year. In the following years, new program offerings were introduced. Defense Cadet Program. Sørlandet became the first sailing ship in the world that gave women the opportunity to get a maritime education. Tall Ships Races for Youth. Sailing at home and abroad during the summer. In the period from 1980 to 2010, approx. 12,000 people participated as co-sailors. During the summer, Sørlandet participated in a number of harbor festivals at home and abroad, which helped millions of visitors to experience the region's unique sailing cultural heritage. In addition, the ship has had considerable press and media coverage. The ship has been used extensively by Norwegian foreign service stations and export companies along the worldwide sailing route. One can therefore conclude that the ship has been a good and important ambassador for Norway for over 90 years. When the A + World Academy was established in 2014, the Foundation has devoted considerable resources to developing a unique and competitive school program designed for Norwegian and international students at the upper secondary level. After a challenging start-up phase, the development shows that the investment was right. This is best demonstrated by the fact that the number of Norwegian applicants is greater than available capacity and that the proportion of international students is increasing from year to year. While the school contributes with a recognized international curriculum, the ship ensures that students are introduced to practical skills, mastery experiences, social training and knowledge of different cultures in the many port stays. By combining the best of both worlds, we have succeeded in establishing a high school offering that claims well in a tough international competition. A + World Academy prepares and encourages all students to take on global responsibility and leadership. By adapting the product content through changing times, Sørlandet has been able to offer socially useful and relevant assignments right back from its inception in 1927.