A great flotilla of tall ships from twelve countries set sail from Rio de Janiero on February 7th of this year for a months-long regatta to commemorate the bicentennial year of Mexico, Chile, and other Latin American countries. After departing Rio, “Sails of South America 2010” called in at Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, Valparaíso, and other points before finishing in Veracruz, Mexico in time for the commencement of the Mexican bicentennial in September.
ARM Cuauhtémoc (above), the training ship of the Mexican Navy, is a steel-hulled barque built in Bilbao in 1982.
From left to right: Mexico’s ARM Cuauhtémoc, Colombia’s ARC Gloria, and Portugal’s NRC Sagres III.
The four-masted Esmeralda is the pride of the Chilean Navy. She is one of the tallest and longest sailing vessels in the world. Esmeralda was built in Cádiz, Spain, and was originally intended to be Spain’s national training vessel. Debt owed by the Spanish government to Chile, incurred during the Civil War, had yet to be repaid, and the Chileans negotiated to have the unfinished Esmeralda included as part of the repayment.
The ARBV Simón Bolívar was launched from Bilbao in 1979 for the Venezuelan Navy.
ROU Capitán Miranda belongs to the Uruguayan Navy. She was built in Spain in 1930 and operated for several decades as a hydrographic survey vessel before being acquired by Uruguay in 1978 to serve as a naval training vessel.
The USCGC Eagle began her life as the Gorch Fock-class vessel Horst Wessel, build by Blohm & Voss in Hamburg in 1936. She was transferred to the United States as reparations after the Second World War and commissioned as the Eagle in New London, Conn. in 1946. She returned to her former home, the German naval port of Bremerhaven, in the summer of 2005, to an enthusiastic reception of the locals.
The tall ships were joined by modern naval vessels from the nations they visited along the way. Not every tall ship that participated in the flotilla made it all the way: Argentina’s ARA Libertad only participated in a portion of the sail due to budget cuts in the defense ministry.