Amerigo Vespucci, Sagres II, Simon Bolivar, Guayas, Gloria
by David Johnson
Italy's oldest and most venerated on-duty navy ship, the Amerigo Vespucci was built in 1930, in a style influenced by 19th century frigate design. Her bow and stern are covered with ornate carvings. Named for the Italian explorer and mapmaker who gave his name to the Americas, the Amerigo is a training vessel with a crew of 450. She is 330 feet long and under full sail covers the sky with 22,600 feet of canvas.
The distinctive red and white Portuguese cross adorns some of the sails of the Sagres II, while a figurehead of Prince Henry the Navigator, Portugal's great explorer-king, adorns the bow. Named for an historic Portuguese port, the Sagres II is three-masted barque and has been a training vessel for the Portuguese navy since 1962. Built in 1937 in Hamburg, Germany, she served first as a German training ship. She sailed under the American and Brazilian flags before being sold to Portugal. With a crew of 218, Sagres II is 293 feet long, and features a steel hull.
Simón Bolívar, Guayas, Gloria
Between the late 1960s and the 1980s, the Spanish government built four nearly identical steel-hulled barques at the famous shipyard at Bilbao, Spain, which were given to four Latin American nations. Three of these, the Simón Bolívar from Venzuela, the Guayas from Ecuador, and the Gloria from Colombia, will be among the tall ships visiting Boston. The fourth, the Cuauhtemoc from Mexico will not participate.
Although the Simón Bolívar is the largest, the three ships are almost identical. The Guayas features a splendid condor in her figurehead, while Liberty breaking her chains dominates the figurehead the Simón Bolívar, which is named for the liberator of much of South America. The Guayas is named for the Guayas River in Ecuador, where Bolívar founded a naval school in 1822. The Gloria is named after the wife of Colombian General Gabriel Rebeiz Pizzaro, who loved sail training.
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