Nordwind and her sister ship, Ostwind were built in 1938 / 1939 for the German Navy as replacements for the yachts "Astra" and "Orion", two ocean racing sailing yachts which the Navy maintained as part of their officers training programs at their stations in the North Sea (Wilhelmshaven) and in the Baltic (Naval Academy Flensburg Mürwik). Nordwind was the first to be finished and was sent to participate in the 1939 Fastnet race in which she took line honors and established a new record that held for 24 years until it was broken by "Gitana IV" in 1963.
A lot of myths surround Nordwind and her sister ship Ostwind: It has been alleged that Nordwind has been "Admiral Dönitz's boat" and Ostwind has even been called the boat of various Nazi Chieftains including Hitler himself. None of this is true. Both boats were regular commissioned Navy vessels. Nordwind was initially stationed in Wilhelmshaven, where Admiral Dönitz at that time was the highest-ranking officer. As such, he has actually sailed on her three or four times, but he neither commissioned her nor ever skippered or let alone owned her. Likewise, Ostwind never had any infamous owner or skipper and even though she was after the war sunk off the coast of Florida for allegedly having been "Hitler’s boat", the infamous Nazi leader never set foot on her.
After the war, both Nordwind and Ostwind were confiscated and sent to England where Nordwind was bought by Lord Hugh Astor who raced her for many years in the Solent and on the North Sea. In the late 70's, Dutch naval architect Gerard Dijkstra turned Nordwind into one of the earliest classic yacht restoration projects. Works were started at Camper & Nicholson’s in England and finished in Holland. Unfortunately though, the restoration of the hull was faulty at the time, hence another complete restoration became necessary which the present owner undertook from 2001 to 2004 in Spain. But for her interior layout, where some of the modifications made by Dijkstra were maintained, Nordwind has been restored to her original plans. She has since participated in many classic races including the 2005 Transat, where she was beat by "Sumurun" by two hours and 34 minutes.
Today Nordwind travels to remote corners on all oceans. In 2009/10 Nordwind has rounded Cape Horn and extensively traveled the Straight of Magellan, the Beagle Channel and the South coast of Chile and in the summer of 2012 she will attempt to sail the Northwest Passage.
|Builder||Burmester, Bremen Burg, Germany|