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Colombian Tall Ship Arc Gloria Visits Curacao in Sept 2010

Colombia's tall ship ARC Gloria paid two visits to the island's capital Willemstad in September.

Gloria, the official flagship and sail-training vessel of the Colombian Navy, is based in Cartagena, where she is moored just a few minutes walk from Cartagena's historic central district. Purpose built in 1968; the 72.6m (239ft) steel-hulled ship is one of the biggest and most beautiful tall ships afloat. On board there is plenty of varnished wood and polished brass and her three masts and 23 sails give her a magnificent appearance. Every step on the ship has the name Gloria engraved in the solid brass scuff-plates. Her figurehead, coated in gold-leaf, is known as Maria Salud, which is said to be the name of the artist's daughter.

While in Curaçao the Gloria carried a full crew of 155, of whom 73 were cadets. Guests were welcomed by Commander Guillermo Laverde Rendón, and honored with a 'Corazon' (heart) pin.

Gloria is often invited to tall ship regattas, and the government of Colombia use the ship to showcase their county's history to the many foreign dignitaries who step on board.

During his stay, Commander Laverde Rendón paid a visit to Mrs. Emily de Jongh-Elhage, Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, and presented her with a beautiful escutcheon plaque. Over the weekend, the ship was open to the public.

Gloria's visit to Curaçao was organized by the Sail Foundation. The foundation was established in 2000 in order to promote interest in traditional ships by organizing international maritime events.

Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist in Curaçao.

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