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Capital to welcome spectacular Italian tall ship

23 January 2003 Media Statement

Capital to welcome spectacular Italian tall sailing ship

Wellingtonians will be treated to a magnificent sight when the Italian Navy’s tall sailing ship, Amerigo Vespucci, escorted by a welcoming flotilla, arrives in Wellington on Sunday January 26 on its first visit to the capital, Minister for the America’s Cup Trevor Mallard said today.

An impressive symbol of sailing, Amerigo Vespucci, the training ship of the Italian Navy, is a three-masted vessel based on an 18th century design.

The Amerigo Vespucci is due to berth at Queens Wharf between midday and 2pm and will remain in Wellington until Monday February 3. It will be open to the public on Friday January 31 and Saturday February 1.

“I hope Wellingtonians will turn out in force to welcome the ship and its crew here. This is an historic occasion and an amazing endeavour for a 72-year-old sailing ship to travel around the world and grace New Zealand’s shores for five months. The Italians deserve a great reception from the capital city,” Trevor Mallard said.

Spectators can either join the flotilla near the entrance to Wellington Harbour, from approx 10am or catch a glimpse of the ship from one of the many vantage points around the harbour. The public are also invited to enjoy the special Wellington City welcoming ceremony on Queens Wharf as the ship berths.

On an 18-month world circumnavigation, the Amerigo Vespucci is visiting New Zealand to celebrate the cultural and economic ties between New Zealand and Italy, to support the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup 2003, and to acknowledge the participation of the Italian challenger syndicates. The visit is also a tremendous training opportunity for the 200-plus crew from the Italian Naval Academy.

“We’re delighted to welcome the Amerigo Vespucci to Wellington. Italy and New Zealand have become great friends over the two America’s Cup events here, and the ship and her crew have added to that relationship considerably since they arrived in Auckland in October. Now Wellingtonians get to enjoy the same experience,” Trevor Mallard said.

“Our thanks goes to the Italian Government for bringing the Amerigo Vespucci to New Zealand.”

The visit of the ship coincides with the official visit of Admiral Marcello De Donno, Chief of the Italian Navy, who will be in Wellington from January 27 to 31.

Amerigo Vespucci fact sheet and Sunday timetable attached.

Amerigo Vespucci Fact Sheet

Amerigo Vespucci, the training ship of the Italian Naval Academy

Ship’s motto: Non chi comincia ma quel che persevera
(It’s not the beginning but the persevering that counts)

Name Amerigo Vespucci (1451-1512) was a Florentine merchant and explorer and a contemporary of Christopher Columbus. While in the service of the King of Portugal, Vespucci made several voyages to the New World and claimed to have been the first to sight the mainland of South America (1497). The name America is derived from his own first name.
Home Port La Spezia, north west Italy.
Built The Amerigo Vespucci was built in Italy at Castellammare di Stabia in the Bay of Naples at the former royal shipyard. Construction began in May 1930 and the ship was launched in February 1931.
Construction The structure and ribs are made of steel. The ship has three decks including a gun deck, as well as a foredeck and a poop deck.
Dimensions Length from stem to stern 70 metres. Length from bowsprit to stern 101 metres. Width 15.50 metres at the widest point. The ship displaces 4100 tonnes and has a draught of 7.5 metres.
Sails The sails, consisting of square sails, stays, and jibs have a surface area of 2,800 square metres and are carried on three masts and a bowsprit.
Engines The ship has two diesel engines that drive an electric engine. It also has four diesel alternators to produce electricity and a modern air conditioning unit.
Speed Under sail – capable of 10 knots (19 kms per hour).
Commanding Officer Captain Guiseppi Antonio Guglietta
Crew 280 crew including 4 senior officers, 14 junior officers, petty officers and sergeant-sailors.
Arrival schedule in Wellington
Sunday 26 January
2003 10am approx at Wellington Harbour entrance (location and timing subject to weather)
Between 1200 & 2pm (closer to 12 midday) Amerigo Vespucci berths at Queens Wharf to an official welcome from Wellington City.
Open to the public Friday 31 Jan / Saturday 1 Feb from 10.30am –12 midday & 2.30pm – 7.00pm.
Welcoming Flotilla Timing of the ship will be subject to weather conditions. Boaties can contact Wellington Coastguard Radio Channels 62 & 16, and monitor Channel 14 for updates

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