Zebu Heritage

Ship’s History | 1938-1984

Tallship Zebu, formerly known as Ziba, was built in 1938 in Råå, Helsingborg, Sweden at the A B Holms Shipyard for a Hugo Martin Wirén in Kalmar, as a Baltic Trader under sail. He was the ship’s main owner and was also joint half owner of the shipping company with his brother, Rudolf Olof Bertil Wirén. In the original order contract dated 16 November 1937, it was agreed that the shipyard would build the ship for SEK 23,500 and with delivery on 10 April 1938. Measurement certificates were issued on 29 March 1938 with 72.64 grt and 47.56 nrt.  The initial registration certificate dated April 12 1938 states that Harald Julius André Lorentzon of Kåremo Kalmar was the first Captain.

She has a reported role supporting the Polish Home Army, and involvement during the evacuation of Jewish refugees from Denmark during the war years, an aspect of her history still being researched.

This historic vessel was then transformed into a sail training and expedition ship and had an illustrious life participating in Operation Raleigh during the 80’s.


Our thanks go to the Råå Museum, Sweden who have provided much of Zebu’s historical information.

The Birthplace of Zebu | A B Holm’s Shipyard | Sweden

The shipyard was founded originally in 1899 by Idof Emil Holm (1871–1944) under the name Råå Varf. 

At the beginning of 1920, the yard was sold back to the town and then became known as AB Holm’s Shipyard. In 1942, there was a management take over by Åke Holm and from 1995, the shipyard had been owned by a representative of the Holm family and four employees trading under the name of AB Holms Varv.

For many years it was Råå’s largest employer and production had been extensive over the years of fishing vessels, schooners, pleasure yachts, pilot boats, navy vessels, cargo ships and ferries had either been been manufactured or repaired. Sadly, the shipyard is now closed after being declared bankrupt in 2008.

The War Years | 1938 – 1944

During the Second World War, it is thought that Zebu was used to smuggle refugees and arms from Poland and Denmark,[2] supporting the Polish Home Army.[3]

Her rigging was later removed when she was motorized,[2] with a custom-built engine,[4] in 1950.[5][3] She was in service as a trading vessel until the late 1960s.[2]