AMICALE Internationale - Cape Horners
 

Roberto BENAVENTE
Rear Admiral
Chairman, Brotherhood of Cape Horner Captains – CHILE.
[spanish version]

I. FOUNDING OF THE AMICALE.
In June 1936, a group of French sailing ship Captains who had rounded Cape Horn met at the L’Univers Hotel in Saint Malo, France, accompanied by one of their old professors at the School of Hydrography. It was then that the initiative to create an association for the purpose of keeping in mind the experiences, recollections and traditions of voyaging under sail along oceanic routes was launched.

A year later, in June 1937, a group of 35 French deep-sea Captains – most of them from the Brittany region, France – met at the “Aux Ajoncs d’ Or” Hotel at Saint Malo. All were Cape Hornier veterans, happy to meet again and revive their recollections, personal experiences, emotions and unexpected surprises which the sea had challenged them with, on the dangerous Cape Horn route.

The Friends of Cape Horn Association was born. The group, presided over by the ‘Grand Mβt’ (Main Mast), Captain Louis Allaire, consisted of “Albatrosses” (Captains who had commanded a sailing ship around Cape Horn) and “Mollymawks” (a bird of the same family as the albatross, however smaller), the name given to Officers who had performed these duties on the great sailing ships which defied Cape Horn.

54° Congress AICH - New Zealand (1999) II. AMICALE INTERNATIONALE.
AMICALE activities were suspended during the Second World War, and renewed at the end of the fighting, with only French Captains participating in 1946 – 1947 and 1948. Belgium was incorporated in the organization in 1949 and 1950; the Britishers joined in 1951, followed soon afterwards by the Germans, whence AMICALE became A.I.C.H., AMICALE INTERNATIONALE, with 800 members who agreed, from that date onwards, to meet every year in a different country. The interest awakened by this organization, unlike any other of its kind, motivated the majority of the maritime countries gradually to join AMICALE, until a total of 16 member countries was reached.

The objectives of AMICALE were to promote and strengthen the ties of comradeship created in that unique body of men and women who enjoyed the distinction of having rounded CAPE HORN in sailing ships. This made it possible to keep alive the memory of those ships which regularly sailed along such an exceptionally difficult and perilous route, and at the same time acknowledge the courage, endurance and professional skill of the sailors who manned them.

55° Congress AICH - I. ALAND (2000)

56° Congress AICH - CHILE (2001) The sea leaves an indelible mark on all those who plow its waves. Mariners possess something no other human beings have, as they have endured and suffered exceptional and unmatched experiences, in the face of which common man can only feel respect and admiration. Whatever their nationality, this close contact with the sea and the hardship of life on board, the feeling of responsibility for the ship, the crew and its cargo, are felt the same way throughout the world. It is the spirit of comradeship which binds all mariners together beyond all frontiers, and is known by the Cape Horners as “The Spirit of Saint Malo”.

In the 66 years the Brotherhood existed, 57 International Congresses took place in 14 member countries of the organization, of these 22 were held in France, 6 in Germany, 3 in Denmark and England, and a lesser number in other countries.

57° Congress AICH. DENMARK (2002)Worthy of special mention is the case of the Chilean Brotherhood which – although incorporated in the AICH only in 1989 – was able to organize two international and very successful events, as in both cases the participants were given the opportunity to round Cape Horn. The only Section never to organize an international event was North America, consisting of the U.S.A. and Canada, which only joined the entity in 1993.

In accordance with the resolution taken at the A.I.C.H. Congress held at Mariehamn, Aland Islands, the Final Congress of this noble, original and unique international organization brought its activities to a definite end at Saint Malo on 15th May 2003 at 10:15; after having worthily accomplished its objectives, Amicale ended in beauty and died in dignity.

 

III. A.I.C.H. INTERNATIONAL CONGRESSES.
The following list shows the cities and countries where A.I.C.H. International Congresses were held.

Congress Year Country
1 1938 ST. MALO – FRANCE
2 1939 ST. MALO – FRANCE
3 1946 FRANCE
4 1947 FRANCE
5 1948 FRANCE
6 1949 FRANCE
7 1950 FRANCE
8 1951 FRANCE
9 1952 NANTES – FRANCE
10 1953 PARIS – FRANCE
11 1954 BORDEAUX – FRANCE
12 1955 LE HAVRE / ROUEN – FRANCE
13 1956 MARSEILLE – FRANCE
14 1957 ANTWERP – BELGIUM
15 1958 ST. MALO – FRANCE
16 1959 HAMBURG / BREMEN – GERMANY
17 1960 PARIS – FRANCE
18 1961 ST. MALO – FRANCE
19 1962 DUNKIRK – FRANCE
20 1963 HOORN – HOLLAND
21 1964 BORDEAUX – FRANCE
22 1965 LUBECK – GERMANY
23 1966 ST. MALO – FRANCE
24 1967 SOUTHAMPTON – ENGLAND
25 1968 JEAN LES PINS – FRANCE 
26 1969 OSLO – NORWAY
27 1970 ST. MALO – FRANCE
28 1971 SANTA MARGARITA – ITALY
29 1972 COPENHAGEN – DENMARK 
30 1973 BREMEN – GERMANY
31 1974 STOCKHOLM – SWEDEN
32 1975 ST. MALO – FRANCE
33 1976 MARIEHAMN – I. ALAND
34 1977 HELSINKI – FINLAND
35 1978 LONDON / GREENWICH – ENGLAND
36 1979 ADELAIDE – AUSTRALIA
37 1980 ST. MALO – FRANCE
38 1981 OSTEND – BELGIUM
39 1982 OSLO – NORWAY
40 1983 IMPERIA – ITALY
41 1984 KIEL – GERMANY
42 1985 ST. MALO – FRANCE
43 1986 GΦTEBORG – SWEDEN
44 1987 BORDEAUX – FRANCE
45 1988 SYDNEY – AUSTRALIA
46 1989 TURKU – FINLAND
47 1990 BRISTOL – ENGLAND
48 1991 ST. MALO – FRANCE
49 1992 MARIEHAMN – I. ALAND
50 1993 NYBORG – DENMARK
51 1994 CUXHAVEN – GERMANY
52 1995 VALPARAISO – CHILE
53 1996 BREST – FRANCE
--- 1997 RHINE & MOSELLE Rivers – GERMANY
54 1998 WELLINGTON – NEW ZEALAND
55 2000 MARIEHAMN – I. ALAND
56 2001 VALPARAISO – CHILE
57 2002 NYBORG – DENMARK
58 2003 ST. MALO – FRANCE (View article - Spanish only)