The Sedov, originally named the Magdalene Vinnen II, was launched in Kiel in 1921 at the Friedrich Krupp Germaniawerft at Kiel, Germany, for the shipping company F. A. Vinnen & Co. of Bremen, one of the largest German shipping companies at the beginning of the 20th century. The shipping company initially objected to have an engine installed in the ship, but the ship yard successfully argued for an engine, making the ship the first sailing ship with auxiliary engine designed to modern principles.
The Magdalene Vinnen II was at the time the world's largest auxiliary barque and exclusively used as a cargo ship with a crew that was partially made up of cadets. She sailed on her maiden voyage on September 1, 1921. Her voyage took her from Bremen via Cardiff, where she took on coal, to Buenos Aires. Despite bad weather, the journey from England to Argentina with holds full of coal took just 30days. The Magdale Vinnen II carried all sorts of cargo: apart from coal, she took timber from Finland, wheat from Australia, pyrite from Italy and unit load from Belgium. The four-masted barque made two voyages around Cape Horn to Chile. Until her last voyage under the Vinnen flag in 1936, the ship sailed to Argentina, South Africa, Australia, Reunion and the Seychelles.
On August 9, 1936, the Magdalene Vinnen II was sold to Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen and renamed the Kommodore Johnsen. The new owner modified her to a cargo-carrying training ship. More accommodation was provided, as the ship, apart from her permanent crew, was to have a complement of 50 to 60 trainee officers on each journey. Sedov
She came under Russian state ownership after the surrender of Germany - on December 20, 1945, the British handed over the ship to the Soviet Union as war reparation. In the Soviet Union, she was converted into a sail training vessel of the Soviet Navy. Renamed the Sedov after the Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov who died during his expedition in the Arctic in 1914, she was used as a training ship of the Navy from 1952 to 1957. She made several friendly visits to South America and Africa during this period. From 1957 to 1966 she was used as an oceanographic research ship in the North Atlantic. During these voyages, the Russian Navy also used her for training young cadets. In 1966 she was transferred to the reserve in Kronstadt, formally under the civil ownership of the Ministry of Fisheries. In the 1970s, she was only infrequently used as a training ship, sailing in the Gulf of Finland.
In 1981, the Sedov reappeared after renovation with some new features added, such as a glass-domed banquet hall with a stage and a movie theatre. She was now based at the Baltic Division of Training Ships in Riga. She embarked cadets from navigation schools of Kaliningrad and Murmansk. After the declaration of independence of Latvia in 1991, she left Riga for Murmansk, and was transferred to the Murmansk naval school with the city of Murmansk ensuring her management and maintenance.
In 1991, the barque was handed over to Murmansk State Technical University and new generations of future navigating officers, ship engineers, radio operators had their training on its board. The "Sedov" was entered into the "Guinness Book of Records" as the biggest sailing tall ship.