Amerigo Vespucci In Istanbul 2011

Amerigo Vespucci in Istanbul for a stop over during 2011 cruise

Well I had to put the year on the headline as I used the same headline two years ago when she was again in Istanbul. I think I am not imaginative enough when it comes to writing original headlines.

The oldest ship of the Italian Navy, has arrived today and will stay till 14 August when she will sail to Odessa, Ukraine.

This year the cadets of the Naval Academy embarked in Livorno, for the start of the 77th Training Campaign. The traditional activity has developed across the Mediterranean Sea, visiting the following ports:
• La Valletta from July 11th to 14th;
• Haifa from July 25th to 28th;
• Limassol from July 29th to August 02nd ;
• Istanbul from August 09 th to 14 th;
• Odessa from August 18 th to 22 th;
• Sebastopol from August 23 th to 27 th;
• Pireus from September 03 th to 07 th.

The excerpt below is from the press release of the Italian Consulate in Istanbul for the visit of the ship. In my view it sums up pretty good what one might do as public relations activities using a sailing ship.

Since it entered in service, the ship has been deployed every year for training cruises (except in 1940 because of the war, and in 1964, 1973 and 1997 because of maintenances), mainly for the cadets from Naval Academy. Also the students from Naval School “Morosini”, Navy petty officers and young members of several sailing associations (either Italian Naval League or Sailing Training Association Italy) took part to the training cruises. 

The training cruisers, carried out during the summer, last on average three months, visiting harbours mostly abroad; therefore, during these campaigns, the main training purpose are coupled to all the aspects aimed to represent the Country abroad. Concerning the training aspects, the cadets learn the basic rules “to live at sea” as well as all the specific teachings over the following subjects: seamanship, navigation (even the use of sextant to fix positions at sea by means of star observations), operation of drive systems and auxiliaries, management of logistic, administrative and medical issues. In order to do that, besides the practical activities, a series of conferences and classes given by the most experienced crew members; the apprenticeship and its results are checked at the end of the training cruise, by means of oral and written tests.

Besides several short campaigns over Mediterranean Sea, mostly carried out so far 75 training cruises dedicated to the cadets attending the first year at the Naval Academy: 39 campaigns were carried out over northern Europe, 14 in Mediterranean Sea, 5 through Eastern Atlantic Ocean, 6 in Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea, 7 over North America, 1 over South America, one over Central America and 2 during the unique circumnavigation of the planet, carried out between May 2002 and September 2003 (throughout this period the ship was involved in all the activities related to the America’s Cup in New Zealand).

The longest navigation counts 28 days, in 2000 during the Race of the Century, form Cadiz (Spain) to Bermuda Islands.

The Amerigo Vespucci has got not only the aim forming the next Navy officers, but also represents the ambassador of Italian culture and seamanship, taking part to several events all over the world.

Among the most significant ones there are: the crowning ceremony of Elizabeth the 2nd in 1953 in London, the celebrations for the return of Triest to Italy in 1954 (and the 50th anniversary in 2004),the celebrations for bicentenary of U.S.A. in 1976 and the French Revolution ones, in 1989, the Columbus Day celebrations in the 5th centenary in 1992 in America. Among the most recent ones the ship took part to America’s Cup organization in New Zealand in 2002‐2003, the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, the bicentenary of the battle of Trafalgar in 2005 in Portsmouth and to the 90th anniversary celebrations for the end of World War I in Civitavecchia (port of Rome) in 2008. In 2007 she was also nominated “Goodwill Ambassador” by UNICEF in Genova. During the Training Campaign in 2008 the ship took part to the “Armada”, event taking place in Rouen (France) together with many sail ships and warships from all over the world, celebrating the French National Day in a greatly emphasized environment with remarkable presence of massmedia and public.

My regular readers may have been noticed that I have a weakness for sailing ships. This is the comment I wrote two years ago. And I am still standing to it.

The lack of sail training ships in inventory of Turkish Navy is in my opinion one important ommission.

There is no better way than sailing and challenging the elements, in order to develop good ship handling skills and a feeling for the sea. Today’s naval war fighting has become something like an arcade game. All command, control and communication are done in the bowels of the ship. Yet a commander of any kind of warship must be a sailor first.


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