Fanfare as Swedish 18th-century replica ship returns from China
A replica of the Swedish East India Company's 18th century merchant vessel, the Goetheborg, returned home to Sweden on Saturday amid festive celebrations after a two-year voyage to China. Thousands ...
A replica of the Swedish East India Company's 18th century merchant vessel, the Goetheborg, returned home to Sweden on Saturday amid festive celebrations after a two-year voyage to China.
Thousands of leisure boats crowded the outskirts of the harbour in the southwestern city of Gothenburg as tens of thousands of onlookers massed on the docks to watch the Goetheborg sail in to port after retracing the original ship's route to and from Shanghai, images broadcast live on television showed.
The ship fired a 21-gun royal salute under a blazing sun as it entered the port.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, who was in Sweden for a state visit, boarded the vessel along with Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia after it docked, to the strains of traditional Chinese folk music.
The original ship, the East Indiaman Goetheborg, was returning from its third two-year voyage to China in 1745 with a full cargo when it ran into a rock at the entrance to the Gothenburg port.
Within view of the harbour it sank slowly in shallow waters. While the crew was rescued, almost nine tonnes of china were lost and recovered only in the late 1980s by volunteer divers.
A third of the cargo, which also included tea, silk and spices, was however salvaged and sold at the time, making the expedition a profitable one anyway.
On Saturday, the replica fired a gun salute after passing the spot where the original sank 262 years ago.
The 40-meter (133-feet) long and 10-meter (34-feet) wide replica, Such as replica handbags,
replica watches, gucci replica etc, Goetheborg III, was constructed in Gothenburg entirely using methods believed to have been in use in the 18th century.
The replica is, howeve, not entirely faithful to the original.
A spokeswoman said its ranges would be priced "higher" than in the US, reflecting its desire to be regarded as a premium brand alongside competitors such as Reiss and Jigsaw. It will also have to claw back the higher cost of doing business in the UK. Dresses are likely to cost upwards of 100, at least double their Gap equivalents.
Richard Hyman, who runs Verdict Consulting, a retail consultancy, said: "It will certainly struggle to persuade people of its value credentials. I think it will be very difficult for them."
Even analysts backing Banana Republic to succeed, including Bryan Roberts, of Planet Retail, believe it could find this year tough going. "If you had to pick a time to enter the UK clothing sector it probably wouldn't be 2008," he said.
This time around, the crew did not have to share space with cattle, and they were able to enjoy the luxury of showers and toilets.
Other modern amenities were water tanks, smoke detectors and even five marine engines donated by Swedish company Volvo.
The Goetheborg left Gothenburg in October 2005. Its first port of call was Cadiz, Spain, sailing on to Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia before reaching Guangzhou and Shanghai in China in July 2006.
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