Captaining tall ship was cadet’s dream
For Captain Angelo Patruno, bringing the oldest ship in the Italian Navy into Bermuda on Monday was a particularly special moment.
Just over 30 years earlier he had joined the Amerigo Vespucci in Hamilton as a fresh-faced teenage cadet.
“As we sailed into Bermuda, my mind went back to that time when I was first here,” Captain Patruno said. “I remembered the beautiful beaches and spending a whole day on Horseshoe Beach as an 18-year-old cadet.
“In 1986 when I saw the ship, which was in exactly the same place then as it is today, and met the captain, I thought ‘I would like to captain this ship one day,' and my dream came true. It was really impressive to bring the Amerigo Vespucci into Hamilton this week and the first time I had ever sailed into Bermuda.”
The Amerigo Vespucci was launched in February 1931 to provide training for Italian Naval Academy cadets and recently underwent a huge structural and mechanical overhaul.
Her trans-Atlantic voyage for this year's Tall Ships Regatta is the first time in over 16 years that the ship has visited Bermuda or the North American coast.
The vessel and 270-strong crew will remain on-island until June 5 and will sail on to visit Montreal, Halifax, Quebec City, Boston and New York during her 2017 training campaign.
Yesterday afternoon, the commanding officer welcomed the Italian General Consul to New York, Francesco Genuardi, and other guests on board to mark the ship's return to Bermuda.
“This is a very special day in Hamilton,” Mr Genuardi, who is also the Italian consul general for Bermuda, said.
“It's a day of deep Italian pride. This tall ship is a very special piece of Italian land.
“This ship represents many layers of Italian history and values and craftsmanship, but this ship is also focused on the future.”