3 mast full rigged sailing ship
Displacement 4,100 Tons
Sparred Length 333 Feet
Beam 51 Feet
Draft 21 Feet
Sail Surface 28,000 Sq. Feet
Amerigo Vespucci 3 mast full rigged sailing ship
takes its name from the famous Italian sailor and cartographer who also
lent his name to the new world. Built 1930-31, Royal Shipyard
(formerly), Castellamare di Stabia. and carried out many voyages before
World War II. The period of the war was the only time the ship has not
been active. The elegant, three-mated full rigger serves as the training
vessel of the Italian Naval Academy.
I spent Friday morning aboard Amerigo Vespucci
(currently at anchor in Auckland, New Zealand).
Some trivia for your page, if you're interested:
The standard crew is around 300 people. This swells to 450
during the Italian summer, when they embark naval cadets. The
full crew is needed if all the sails are hoisted.
Amerigo Vespucci makes about 4-5 knots.
The entire rig and all the sheets are traditional
materials: Canvas sails and hemp ropes. The only synthetic
on board is the mooring lines, which have to be an approved type for
some of the ports they visit.
The sheets, laid end to end, span 35 km.
Amerigo Vespucci had a sister ship, the
"Christopher Columbus" (named in Italian, and I can't do it
justice). Both were built as replicas of an 18th century vessel
(sorry, not sure of it's name). This sister ship was given to
Russia as war reparations immediately after WWII. The Russians
(apparently) had no interest in maintaining such an impractical
"warship", and decommissioned it shortly afterwards.
The Italians preserved two paintings from the other vessel, and these
now hang at opposite ends of the wardroom at the stern of Amerigo
The crew take the vessel very seriously.
They're highly aware that (ignorant) people consider it anachronistic
and silly, and have well-developed and well-reasoned explanations as
to why it is not true. Other than it's training duties, they
visit other countries and take dignitaries aboard, to promote
It's run as a warship. Naval dress, armed
sailors and so on. This only adds to the disorienting sensation
when you're on board.
It has twin steering, one manual and one
hydraulically assisted. The hydraulics are used to shift the
rudder with the smaller crew aboard, and are driven by a wheel about
75cm in diameter. The manual steering is used when the vessel
has a full crew aboard, and are driven by four parallel wheels of
about 150cm in diameter. Two men are assigned to each wheel at
all times. Twelve turns of the large wheels is one degree of
Decking is tar-bonded teak, scrubbed daily and
replaced every three years.
All of the winches aboard are man-powered, with
reduction gearing in the capstan. The one exception is the
anchor winch, which has an (optional) hydraulic assist. The main
winches are the size of a birdbath (80cm diameter), with an ornate
brass plate embossed with an image of the ship under sail.
Everything aboard is immaculately clean and
polished. Sailors carefully carry their cigarette ash to ornate
brass ashtrays in the shape of the prow of a man-o-war hung on the
sides of the deckhouses
Photo above taken by Dave Schmaus of
the Amerigo Vespucci Christmas 2002 in Auckland, N.Z. during
its America's Cup port call.
Photo above was taken at the 1953 Spithead
Review by Capt JM Parsons who was in command of BP Protector, an Ocean
going salvage tug, and was there to ensure the good passage of
dignitaries. copyright Capt JM Parsons
Submitted by. Mike
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Vespucci Born: 1454, Died: 1512. Italian navigator Explorer.
& Sailing Terms