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Full steam ahead on Lake Constance – First Swiss steamer launched on Lake Constance – News


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The launching of the “Seerhein” in Romanshorn is historic, but also moving. Especially for the owner.

“Heavy,” says Michael Müller. This week, the Thurgau entrepreneur was at the emotional high point of the last twelve years: the 111-year-old steamboat that he had since had restored was launched in Romanshorn.

Legend:

The moment the «Seerhein» was launched in Romanshorn.

SRF

A historic moment, not only for Müller, but for the entire history of shipping on Lake Constance. For the first time, a steamboat will fly the Swiss flag on the lake. So far there was only the “Hohentwiel”, an Austrian paddle steamer, with Müller’s “Seerhein” Switzerland is now also represented.

Bought in poor condition in 2010

The story began in the 1990s. At that time, Michael Müller worked in shipping. Since then, the passion has not let go of him. In 2010 he seized the opportunity: “I always wanted a passenger ship. 12 years ago it turned out that I could buy one,” he says today.

But the ship was in bad shape. Because there was neither time nor the financial means to make it seaworthy again, Müller had it dismantled and stored for the time being.

Years of work with numerous helpers

Then Corona played an important role. In Müller’s company in Ermatingen, which is active in the field of heating and plumbing, there was little work due to the pandemic. Employees and other people therefore lent a hand to the «Seerhein». Around 80 helpers have worked intensively on the steamship over the past two to three years.

Ship under construction, 2020

Legend:

Work on the ship has been going on for years. This is how it looked in December 2020.

ZVG

During the renovation, Müller himself paid attention to every detail. The floor is made of local dark wood, the ceiling is modeled on a claw panel, with over 1000 brass screws. However, because many materials cannot be delivered due to the current situation, there is still a lot missing.

Hybrid powered steamboat

But the core is there: the steam boiler and the stove, which is heated with wood. “I’m curious myself how it’s supposed to work. We evaporate 420 liters of water per hour,” explains Müller.

With CO₂ neutrality, you are completely moving with the times. A special feature of the “Seerhein” is the hybrid drive: the steam engine generates electricity, which is stored in a battery. An electric motor is then available as a second motor for emergencies.

The steamboat will one day offer space for 40 people and can be rented for special occasions. However, the “Seerhein” will still be in the port of Romanshorn until late summer. At the end of August, Michael Müller wants to set sail for the first time. Until then, however, there is still a lot to be done.

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