During the construction of the Imperial Yacht Standart, Emperor Alexander III died on November 1, 1894 due to effects of a neglected kidney disease. When the building of the ship had eventually reached the stage near to launching, Emperor Nicholas II decided that the ship should be launched on March 21, 1895 (March 10, 1895 Old Style), his fathers birthday.
However the winter of 1894 - 1895 was very hard and severe and the harbour entrance to Copenhagen was covered by a 40 cm. (16 in.) layer of thick ice, so it would have been best to postpone the launch until the ice had broken up by itself. But the outlook for better weather appeared poor for a long time ahead so the Russian captain, V.V. Friedrichs, insisted that Burmeister & Wain had to comply with the Emperor's wish. Burmeister & Wain could do nothing else than have a channel cut through the ice and several hundred men were working day and night to prepare a channel long and wide enough to enable the ship to float out safely. Only with the greatest difficulty could the insurance company be persuaded to accept the risk of the launching of the Imperial Yacht Standart.
Standart pictured on the day of her launch - March 21, 1895
On the day of the launch a violent storm caused the water level in Copenhagen harbour to fall 60 cm. (2 ft.) below the normal level; however the standing ways were, to cover all possibilities, made extraordinary long out into the water, so that the launch, in spite of the abnormal weather conditions and the low water level, could be carried out without further difficulties.
A picture from the bow just before the launch - March 21, 1895
Note the rectangle window cut-outs on the main-deck and the absence of overlapping steel plates on the outside of this main deck
A ceremony attended by members of the Danish Royal Family, Russian Diplomats and Officials, and other high placed members of the Copenhagen society was held on this cold and windy day. A lunch was served and music played before the Imperial Yacht Standart was finally given her blessings (and to those who sail her). To the relief of Burmeister & Wain and their insurers was the Imperial Yacht Standart succesfully launched and could construction go ahead.
To: Maiden Trip