Friday, July 15, 2016
The Amerigo Vespucci in Mahon Harbour in a windy morning
The Amerigo Vespucci arrived early today to Mahon Harbour and it will remain in port for a few days.
The Amerigo Vespucci is a tall ship of the Marina Militare, named after the famous Italian explorer. Its home port is La Spezia, in Italy and it is in use as a School Ship.
In 1925, the Regia Marina ordered two school ships to a design by General Lieutenant Francesco Rotundi of the Italian Navy Engineering Corps, inspired by the style of large late 18th century 74-cannon ships of the line(like the neapolitan ship "Monarca"). 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 USSR as part of the war reparations and was shortly afterwards decommissioned.
The second ship was the Amerigo Vespucci, built in 1930 at the (formerly Royal) Naval Shipyard of Castellammare di Stabia (Naples). She was launched on February 22, 1931, and put into service in July of that year.
The vessel is a full rigged three-masted steel hull 82.4 m (270.34 ft) long, with an overall length of 101 m (331 ft) including the bowsprit and a maximum width of 15.5 m (51 ft). She has a draught of about seven metres (23 ft) and a displacement at full load of 4146 tons. Under auxiliary diesel-electric propulsion the Amerigo Vespucci can reach 10 knots (19 km/h) and has a range of 5450 nm at 6.5 knots.
The three steel masts are 50, 54 and 43 metres high, and carry sails totalling 2824 m² (30400 ft²) The Amerigo Vespucci has 26 sails – square sails, staysails, and jibs: all are traditional canvas sails. When under sail in severe sea and wind conditions she can reach 12 knots (22 km/h). The rig, some 30 km of ropes, uses only traditional hemp ropes; only the mooring lines are synthetic, to comply with port regulations.
The hull is painted black with two white stripes, harking back to the two gun decks of the ships her design is based on, but she carries only two 6pdr saluting guns in pivot mountings on the deck, forward of the mainmast. The deck planks are of teak wood and must be replaced every three years. Bow and stern are decorated with intricate ornaments; she has a life-size figurehead of Amerigo Vespucci. The stern gallery is accessible only through the Captain's saloon.