2 May 2017 08.00

The training ship Amerigo Vespucci – which will be engaged over the next five months in her Training Campaign 2017 in North America – has arrived at Sines (Portugal), birthplace of the famous explorer Vasco da Gama, located on Portugal's southwest coast.

The Tall Ship Race 2017 stopped off here, in a landscape of sheer sea cliffs and charming beaches.  This historical international sailing race - whose first leg started from Greenwich, UK, last 16 April – is an annual competitive event for the 'sea giants', which aims at keeping the sailing tradition alive and fuelling passion for the sea, mostly with young generations.

Sines is the last but one European stop of this transoceanic race. From here, training ships and other participating vessels will race towards the Canary Islands, then westbound towards the Bermudas and North America.

21 of the most beautiful tall ships from across the world - divided into 4 different classes – will compete  in the purest seafaring spirit which unites sailors (both men and women) through 7000 nautical miles, in an exciting competition involving stop-offs in several European and American countries.

The Class A training ship Amerigo Vespucci, the 'world's most beautiful ship', stands out against this multinational and multicultural environment, as a perfect combination of Italy's aesthetic accuracy and military tradition.

The crewmembers of the participating vessels have the opportunity to exchange visits onboard, and what clearly appears is the feeling of wonder and admiration that ITS Vespucci arouses in her visitors, still fascinating even those who are used to sail onboard noble and prestigious vessels such as the Norwegian 'Cristian Radich', the French 'Belem', or the Portuguese training ship 'Sagres'.

The stop-over in Sines - first stop of the Training Campaign 2017 – also offers an opportunity for experience-sharing and growth, in close contact with the local population and crews of other participating ships. In the Portuguese host port involved in the Tall Ship Race, a number of activities will be planned both within the event's venue and in the town of Sines, with a view to unite different cultures and experiences for which the sea is a shared dimension and way of life.

The opening ceremony – which saw the participation of ITS Vespucci's commanding officer, Captain Angelo Patruno, along with the commanding officers of all the other participating vessels – kicked off this 3-day stopover, which culminated with a wreath laying at the monument to Vasco da Gama and fireworks.

The Crew Parade was a cheerful event that saw sailors of different nationalities and cultures marching through the streets of Sines as a single seafaring community, with our crewmembers proudly waving the Italian tricolour flag.

On May 1st, all the ships unmoored for a spectacular and exciting Sail Parade to say goodbye to the town and start this international race which evokes epic tales of ancient navigators who dared to venture across the Ocean to try their luck in the New World.

For ITS Vespucci, this is a precious opportunity to represent our nation with pride in the farthest seas, being expression of one of the most modern Navies in the world, which boasts millenary traditions rooted in its sailors, for whom the sea is a lifestyle. Fair winds and following seas to the Amerigo Vespucci for this Tall Ship 2017!