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Tall Ship Ahoy.


Alexia Saoulli

THE ITALIAN navy's tall ship, Amerigo Vespucci, yesterday docked at Limassol port as part of its annual training cruises.

The ship will remain at Limassol port until Monday, according to the Italian Embassy.

Members of the public will be allowed onboard the school ship today and tomorrow between 5pm to 7pm and 8.30pm and 10pm on Saturday and between 3pm to 6pm on Sunday.

The ship's captain will meet with the town's political and military authorities during the vessel's berthing.

As part of this year's training cruise the Amerigo Vespucci's ports of call, in addition to Cyprus, include Malta, Israel, Greece, Turkey and Ukraine.

The Amerigo Vespucci is an elegant three-masted, full-rigged sailing ship of the Marina Militare, named after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. Her home port is Livorno, Italy and serves as the training vessel of the Italian Naval Academy. As of 2004, she is the last surviving three-decked square rigger.

In 1925, the Regia Marina ordered the design of two school ships, inspired by the style of large late 18th century 74-cannon ships of the line.

The first, the 'Cristoforo Colombo', was put into service in 1928 and was used by the Italian Navy until 1943. After World War II, this ship was handed over to the Soviet Union as part of the war reparations and was shortly afterwards decommissioned. The Italians preserved two paintings from the 'Cristoforo Colombo', and these now hang at opposite ends of the wardroom at the stern of Amerigo Vespucci.

The Amerigo Vespucci was built in 1930 and launched a year later.

The vessel is 82.4 metres long, with an overall length of 101 metres including the bowsprit and a maximum width of 15.5 metres. She has a draught of about seven metres and a displacement at full load of 4,146 tons.

The Amerigo Vespucci has 26 traditional, canvas sails including square sails, staysails, and jibs. When sailing she can reach a maximum speed of up to 12 knots.

The hull is painted black with two white stripes in reference to the two gun decks of the original ships the design is based on, but she carries only two 6pdr saluting guns in pivot mountings on the deck, forward of the mainmast.

Bow and stern are decorated with intricate ornaments and she has a life-size figurehead of her namesake, Amerigo Vespucci.

The stern gallery is accessible only through the Captain's salon.

The standard crew of the ship is 16 officers, 70 non-commissioned officers and 190 sailors. In summer, when she embarks naval cadets, the crew swells to 450 who are all needed if all the sails are hoisted. She is still run as a warship with armed sailors and officers wearing naval dress.

Apart from the period of World War II, the Amerigo Vespucci has been active since she was built. Most of her training cruises are in European waters, but she has also sailed to North and South America, and navigated the Pacific. In 2002, she undertook a voyage around the world.

The Amerigo Vespucci often takes part in sailing parades and Tall Ships' Races.

According to reports the crew take the vessel very seriously and are highly aware that some people consider her outdated. Other than its training duties, visits to other include dignitaries aboard and promoting diplomatic understanding.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2011

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Jul 30, 2011
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