Sign of Hope and new Politics
The SAIL Amsterdam Foundation aims to bring historic Tall Ships to Amsterdam. To enjoy it and to learn from it. These ships all have a past. With positive and less positive sides. The Esmeralda has had very dark pages in its existence. We are aware of this but have very consciously invited this ship. For a long time such an invitation was rightly undesirable. And we realize that this ship still evokes mixed feelings among many. For us, the measurement meter is under which star the Esmeralda is sailing now and how it is dealt with. The democratic governments of Chile have fully recognized that past, learned from it and supported legal research. The Esmeralda is part of the history and future of Chile and is therefore also deliberately kept in service. That is why we are pleased with the arrival of the Esmeralda: as a sign of hope and of a new politics.
After previous visits in 1965 and 1968 the big white four-master ‘Esmeralda’ from Chile will visit the Netherlands again. Prior to SAIL Amsterdam 2015 she already visited several other European countries. Chile and the Netherlands met each other 400 years ago for the first time, when Cape Horn was discovered by seafarers from Hoorn. This historical fact will be remembered next year and the arrival of the ‘Esmeralda’ is also part of that commemoration. The participation of this ship in SAIL Amsterdam 2015 offers an appropriate opportunity to celebrate this historic event together.
Incidentally, this ‘Esmeralda’ is already the sixth ship with that name within the Chilean Navy. The first ship was a frigate that was captured on the Spaniards during a surprise attack on the night of 5 November 1820 near Callao, Peru. The current ‘Esmeralda’ from 1946 was actually meant to be the national training ship of Spain. But during construction on the construction site, there were some explosions which caused the ship under construction to get badly damaged. In 1950 Spain and Chile were in talks about reparation payments of the Spaniards to Chile due to the Spanish Civil War. Part of the agreements then became the construction of a training ship for Chile, after which the damage to the ship was repaired and in 1953 it was finally launched and handed over to the Chilean Navy.
This ‘White Lady’, as the ship is also called, is a sister ship of the Spanish ‘Juan Sebastian de Elcano’ belonging to the Spanish Navy. That ship only came to the Netherlands in 2013 for the first time in its sixtieth anniversary, on the occasion of Sail Den Helder 2013.
The ‘Esmeralda’ has a length of 113 meters and a draft of 7 meters. It is almost as long as the ‘Sedov’ and the ‘Kruzenshtern’, the two largest historic sailing ships in the world.
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