Italian Amerigo Vespucci Tall Ship

Two training ships were ordered in 1925 by the Regia Marina and were to be designed by General Lieutenant Francesco Rotundi of the Italian Navy Engineering Corps. The ships were to be the same style used in the 18th century ships of the line that carried 74 cannons.

The first to be launched went into service as The Cristoforo Colombo in 1928. She ended up being used by the Italian Navy until 1943. The ship was given to the USSR for war reparations but was quickly decommissioned.

The second ship and the more beautiful of the two built in 1930 at the Naval Shipyard of Castellammare di Stabia Naples. Launched in 1931 and finally put into service in July.

Named in honor of the famous explorer Amerigo Vespucci The Italian Amerigo Vespucci Tall Ship of Marina Militare today makes its home port in Livorno, Italy. As the original plan she is used as a training ship.

The Amerigo Vespucci is a full rigged three-mast steel hull 270.34 ft long, with an overall length of 331 ft including the bowsprit and a maximum width of 51 ft. Her draught of about 23 ft and she has a displacement at full load of 4146 tons. She has auxiliary diesel-electric propulsion which will make the Amerigo Vespucci reach top speeds of 10 knots and cruise as far as 5450 nm at 6.5 knots.

She also has masts made from steel which are 50, 54 and 43 meters in height. Italian Amerigo Vespucci tall ship is rigged with 26 sails altogether. They consist of square sails, stay sails and jibs all made from the traditional canvas. Under full sail even with severe sea conditions she can reach a full 12 knots. She is the last of the tall ships with three decks and square rig to still survive as of today.

The style of this ship is truly a sight to behold. Black hull she has two white stripes that extenuates the original two cannon decks. Today she carries only the saluting guns mounted on pivots forward of the mainmast. Her deck planks made of teak get replaced every three years. The bow and stern have intricate ornaments and on the bow is a life size figurehead of Amerigo Vespucci.

When she sails with the midshipmen of the Naval Academy the crew totals about 450 officers and men. The standard crew configuration is 190 sailors, 70 non-commissioned officers and 16 officers.

The Amerigo Vespucci has auxiliary power since 1964 2 8 cylinder Fiat B 308 ESS diesel engines replace the older smaller power plant. The more powerful engines generate electric power for propulsion. The electric propulsion produces 2000 hp to propel the ship.

Today she has all the modern electronic navigation equipment and hydraulic assisted steering located on the bridge. But when training cadets she is steered by the manual stern rudder station. It has 4 steering wheels that require 2 men each to be manned at all times.

The Italian Amerigo Vespucci has maintained active service except during the war of World War II. She has sailed around the world in 2002 but mostly cruises in European waters when training the crew.

She maintains a full schedule entering the Tall Ship races, sailing in many parades. When racing she proves to be a good rival for the SSS Gorch Fock. Always when docked in port the public is granted tours of the vessel.

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