The latest Tall Ship to join the sail training family is Santa Maria Manuela
, a four masted gaff schooner from Aveiro in Portugal. Santa Maria Manuela
was launched just eight days ago, on 1 August, and sailed directly to Hartlepool to join the fleet to take part in the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta.
Captain Antonio Sao-Marcos (pictured), who was also the project manager for the three year programme to rebuild the ship, is excited about joining the fleet and is looking forward to the challenge of taking part in his first Tall Ships Race. "Santa Maria Manuela has been built as a sail training vessel and can take 50 trainees on board with 20 crew but as she is so new we don't have any trainees on board for this event, just a crew of 17 who are going to do their best in the race."
The vessel was originally built in 1937 and is the sister to the Portuguese naval Creola. After being launched, however, Santa Maria Manuela was put into service as a fishing vessel until 1978 when her masts were removed. She remained abandoned until 2006 when her current owners, the fish importers Pascoal, bought her and decided to rebuild her and use her for sail training and commercial activities.
Captain Antonio Sao-Marcos is clearly proud of the ship he has built and will remain with her until the end of the year when he will then hand over the helm to "a younger man," as Antonio said, "as I will then begin my new project which will be the rebuilding of the vessel Argus, another four masted gaff schooner which has also been bought by Pascoal."
Santa Maria Manuela will be joining 34 other vessels for the North Sea Tall Ships Regatta which will begin at 1400 hrs local on Wednesday 11 August. The race will take the fleet via a series of waypoints to a finish line north of Ijmuiden in the Netherlands. The fleet will then take part in the Sail In down the canal to Sail Amsterdam which takes place from 19 to 23 August.