HAPAG’s Deutschland (1900), the world’s second “four stack” liner (following rival Norddeutscher Lloyd’s Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse) was launched at Hamburg’s Blohm & Voss shipyard on 10 January 1900, beginning the first of her three lives.
The 20,815 GRT twin-screw Deutschland, 602 feet long with a 72 foot beam and a 23-knot rated speed, was slightly larger than Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. Yet in terms of outward appearance, both ships were remarkably alike. Each featured four funnels and a pair of masts. When seen together the two vessels could almost be mistaken for sister ships, although owned by competing lines. On 12 July 1900, Deutschland took the Blue Riband from Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, completing a westbound transatlantic crossing in 5 days, 15 hours and 46 minutes at an average speed of 22.42 knots. The liner’s “world’s fastest” status was didn’t last long, however. On 16 September 1902, Norddeutscher Lloyd’s Kronprinz Wilhelm snatched the Blue Riband from Deutschland, completing a westbound transatlantic crossing in 5 days, 11 hours and 57 minutes at an average speed of 23.09 knots.
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