The Velas Latinoamérica 2022 regatta kicked off in Brazil on February 13. The nautical event, carried out every four years, brings together tall ships of partner nations’ navies to sail through the waters of South and Central America. Navy commanders of the Americas approved the creation of the event at the 2012 Inter-American Naval Conference. The regatta aims to strengthen bonds of friendship among institutions and future generations of officers and crews, while sharing the culture of each participating country during their stay in ports of call. In addition to naval training and education, navy cadets and midshipmen will carry out other activities, such as coastal cleanups.
“It’s an opportunity that the navies of Latin America have created to promote integration and professional, technical, cultural, and social exchange, providing training in integrated operations to future navy officers and strengthening the bonds of friendship,” said Brazilian Navy Captain(ret.) Claudio da Costa Reis de Souza Freitas, spokesperson for the Velas Latinoamérica 2022 Executive Committee.
Seven tall ships
Seven tall ships are taking part in the fourth edition of the event: the Brazilian Navy ship Cisne Branco, the Argentine Navy ships Libertad and Dr. Bernardo Houssay, the Ecuadorian Navy ship Guayas, the Peruvian Navy ship Unión, the Colombian Navy offshore patrol vessel 20de Julio, and the Uruguayan Navy training ship Capitán Miranda.
The lengthy journey of more than 12,000nautical miles began in the city of Rio de Janeiro, and will continue south, docking at the ports of Punta del Este and Montevideo, in Uruguay; and Mar del Plata, in Argentina. The vessels will then cross the Strait of Magellan and stop in Punta Arenas, Chile.
In the Pacific Ocean, the ships will visit the ports of Valparaíso (Chile), Callao (Peru),Guayaquil (Ecuador), and Balboa(Panama), before crossing to the Caribbean to visit Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Curaçao. The voyage is slated to end in late June at the port of Vera Cruz, Mexico. Being the port of departure this year has a special meaning for Brazil. The event is part of a scheduled series of celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. “We are honoring the sailors who, in1822,contributed to maintaining the integrity of our territory and were instrumental inbuilding our country. So, today, the Brazilian Navy commemorates the union of our territory made by noble sailors of the past — a reason for great pride,” Capt. Souza Freitas concluded.