The «Ambassador without Borders» of Venezuela will once again sail through the Caribbean (Photos + video)
The sound of whistles comes and goes. It agitates those of us on deck, especially the cadets who, dressed in yellow, blue and red, move from one place to another in response to messages that the rest of us, outside the arts of navigation, do not understand.
These men and women, dressed in the colors of the Venezuelan flag, go up and down a «kind of ladder,» which they call a rigging table. Their mission is to loosen the sails that will allow the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar Training Ship (BE-11) to navigate without propellant. It seems like an easy task, but it requires courage, strength and, above all, teamwork.
Once the feat is achieved, the result is art in all its splendor: white sails that the wind open like the wings of great birds that cross the sky. It is Thursday March 30 and journalists from national and international media, together with the country’s military high command, are sailing in the waters of Puerto Cabello, Carabobo state, located in the north-central region of the South American country. We are part of the event «A day on board», organized by the Bolivarian Navy.
The magic of the Venezuelan flagship
Frigate lieutenant María Ramírez Poveda gets goosebumps when talking about the «Ambassador without Borders» of Venezuela. She has been an officer for three years and speaks of the ship with the ease and esteem of someone who comments on the virtues of a friend.
«This is our flagship and it is a national heritage. I believe that there is not a single officer in the Navy who does not fully identify with the ship. First of all, its name is Simón Bolívar, that totally identifies us», comments Ramírez.
Her experience has also allowed her to verify that «once a cadet disembarks from the ship he or she is not the same». Not only because of the practice of which the person is a part of in their transit through it, but also for the training that the program includes, even counting on astronomical navigation to position the ship thanks to the orientation of the stars, and for the warmth of the peoples from the Caribbean who receive the Ambassador to strengthen cultural exchange. It feels amazing to see how you are received in other ports with so much love», she says.
The strength of a Brigantine
This brig, Bricbarca type with three masts, was delivered to the Venezuelan Navy on August 12, 1980. It has 42 years of service and has visited 105 ports in 39 countries. So far, it has sailed more than 396,000 nautical miles, which is equivalent to going around the world 17 times.
It has all the current technology and navigation aid equipment, but its essence is in those 23 sails that allow it to go from one port to another propelled by air. They say that by making a calculation and with the incidence of the wind in the sails, the ship can reach a speed of five to six knots, depending on the intensity of the wind.
Frigate Lieutenant Francisco Regalado Delgado is the head of the Palo Trinquete (Trinquete Mast) area of the ship. There are three areas that make it up, the other is Palo Mayor (Mayor Mast) and the third is Palo Mesana (Mesana Mast). In them, the cadets are located by yellow, blue and red colors.
«I always define it as a magical ship because it has an energy that it transmits to anyone simply by stepping on it (…) I have had the opportunity to visit ten countries while I have been here on board», highlights Regalado Delgado.
Navigating towards the Bicentennial
This year Venezuela is sailing towards the bicentennial of the victory in the Naval Battle of Lake Maracaibo and, on this path, the Bolivarian Navy has prepared a series of activities to commemorate the date.
«We are sailing to the Bicentennial and, normally, when a ship sets sail there will be winds of all kinds and in all directions and it will be necessary to steer the ship so as to reach a safe port. That safe harbor, for us, is peace, the total, absolute independence of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. It is the stability of our homeland, for which President Nicolás Maduro, our commander in Chief, fights every day against all types of aggressions against Venezuela”, stressed the Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, before starting the navigation.
Navigation in 2023
And it will be in this month of April 2023, after being unable to do so for three years due to the pandemic, that the «Ambassador without Borders» will return to the waters of the Caribbean to visit our brother countries on the XXXIII Foreign Instruction Cruise Caribbean 2023.
«My great experience on board the flagship of the Navy has been an impeccable experience due to the seafaring work and the sailing maneuvers. We will be the first promotion after three years of pandemic that will go out on an instructional cruise. We will visit Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, until we reach a final safe port in our beloved Venezuela», explained third-class cadet Álvaro Chacín.
Good sailing and arrival at a safe port!
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