History Brief of Trireme 'Olympias'
Construction works for the trireme of 'OLYMPIAS' began in Greece in May 1985 and was finished in July 1987. The drawings for her manufacture were provided by the 'Trireme Trust' of Britain, while the essential funds were granted by the Hellenic Navy. Initially, the trireme was used as part of an experimental archeological project, in order for scientists to determine the sailing characteristics (speed, etc. ) and her strength. Finally, battle tactics and living conditions inside the vessel were as well examined.
Information concerning the vessel's construction and tests that were followed, can be found in Commander's S. Platis H.N. relative article, published in volume 458 of the Naval Review publication. Additional information can be found in 'The Trireme Trials 1988, Report on the Anglo - Hellenic Sea Trials of Olympias by J.F. Coates , S.K. Platis , J.T. Shaw', published by Oxbow Books.
Due to trireme's frequent use when she was transported in Britain in 1993, in order to participate in events about the 2,500 years since the beginning of Democracy and the way the trireme was designed and constructed, several damages were caused to her craft. Large scale repairing from the summer of 1995 until the autumn of 1996, which was covered by the Hellenic Navy budget, rectified the previous damages. In 1997, the Naval Supreme Council decided that the trireme should be used solely as an exhibit and not for sailing. The trireme was transported in Naval Tradition Park in Trokantero, where it remained as exhibit. In 1998 it was detected that the degree of the damages had grew, while in 1999 further damage was revealed.
As a result of this extensive damage as well to the requirement for the trireme's use for the needs of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, it was decided that repairs were necessary. In 2002, Elefsis Shipyards offered to undertake the repair of the trireme, free of charge. The Hellenic Navy accepted the offer and the trireme was transported in Elefsis Shipyards. The works of repairing included the total replacement of timber in the hull of the ship and the enhancement of her stiffness. Modern ways of ship's construction were used to connect and make the timber waterproof, in order to ensure the longevity of the ship. Additionally, the timber in deck 01 was replaced and the masts as well as the steering wheel were repaired.
The trireme was launched in May 14 2004 and remained in Elefsis Shipyards for 10 days for waterproof test. The Hellenic Navy equipped the trireme and performed stability tests. Finally, the vessel was delivered to Municipality of Piraeus, which manned the ship and prepared her properly for the Olympic Flame's transportation in the night of August 11. The trireme also participated in "Classic Week" and was returned to Hellenic Navy on 15 Sept 04.
On September 2004, taking into account the high maintenance cost, the high personnel requirements, both for maintenance and for sailing, as well as the lack of any apparent practical use for the Hellenic Navy, the Naval Supreme Council decided to designate the trireme as an exhibit in a specially designed space of the Naval Tradition Park. It was also decided that the trireme be assigned to the command of the Battleship Averof navel museum. The proper storage conditions ensure the ship's proper preservation at a considerably reduced cost. The trireme was transported to this space on 25 Nov 05.