The Training Ship "ESMERALDA"


Her History.

The name “Esmeralda” is linked to the Chilean Naval History since 1818, year in which, under the command of Captain O’Brien, the Chilean Naval Forces fought and boarded the Spanish frigate “Esmeralda” resulting in the heroic death of Captain O’Brien on the deck in an attempt to capture the vessel.

Once the Independence War had reached its end, the second “Esmeralda” was built in England.  In 1865, under the command of Captain Juan Williams, this ship defended the sovereignty of the rising Republic of Peru, capturing with brinkmanship and courage the corvette “Covadonga”.  This precipitated the retreat of the opponent Naval Forces.

On 21th  May  1879, together with the corvette “Covadonga” blocking the saltpeter port of Iquique, the vessel confronted the main body of Peruvian Naval Forces.  After four hours of hard and bloody fight, the “Esmeralda” sank with its flag at the mast-head and its Captain Arturo Prat died becoming since then a National Hero in the Chilean History, the Navy School and a main ship of the Chilean Fleet had been named after its hero.

The third ship that was given the name of “Esmeralda” was a cruiser purchased by Japan.  This ship participated in the battle of Tsushima against the Russian Fleet.  Years later, an antisurface cruiser and frigate borne the name of the “Esmeralda”, giving the latter its name to the current training ship of the Chilean Navy in 1954.  This brigantine was the sixth “Esmeralda” that bears her name with proud in her taffrail.

The Training Ship “Esmeralda”.

In 1942, the Spaniard Navy ordered the construction of a sailing ship in order to replace the training ship “Sebastián de Elcano”, which was operative since 1929.  However, due to various reasons, its construction remained incomplete, and in 1951, it was offered for sale to Chile.

On 15th   June of 1954, in Cadiz, the Training Ship “Esmeralda” was officially delivered to Chile.  During these past 46 years, this ship has called at more than 300 ports, and is recognized by her outstanding participation as training ship and floating embassy, receiving on her deck the friendly visit of the most highest Head of States, diplomats, military chiefs, the media, and public in general.

She has participated in the Sailing Operations of New York in 1964, 1976, 1989; the Osaka World Sail in 1983 and International Regattas of Sails held in 1964, 1976, 1982, 1990, wining the “Cutty Sark” trophy in 1982 and 1990.

The training of the future seamen on board the Training Ship “Esmeralda” is invaluable.  The various events they must confront, the intense training, the elements’ inclemency, and the long seagoing passages, teach these seamen to respect rather than fear the sea.  The inner and physical strength developed during these long voyages, prepares young seamen to accomplish their duties that they have sworn to their country and Navy.


The Esmeralda is a brigantine of four masts with square sails at the pawl and fore-and-aft sails at  the after and forward main mast and mizzen mast.  The height of masts is of 48,5 m, it has  29 sails and a sail area  of  2.870 m2. Others characteristics are as follows:

Length 113   m
Beam 13,11  m
Maximum Draught  7      m
Stanchion 8,7   m
Gunwale height 5,3  m
Maximum displacement 3.673  ton.
Maximum engine speed 13  kts.
Maximum sail speed    17,5    kts.

The ESMERALDA rounded Cape Horn

The training ship rounded CapeHorn under sail in seven times.  Following, some details about these passages:

a.-  XXII Training Trip
Date   : 31 January 1977
Time   : 10:20 hours
Direction  : West to East
Commanding Officer: Captain Jorge DAVANZO

b.-  XXX Training Trip
Date : 20 June 1985
Time13:08 hours
Direction  :  East to West
Commanding Officer: Commander Hernán COUYOUMDJIAN.

c.-  XXXIII Training Trip
Date  : 18 July 1988
Time :  11:30 hours
Direction  :  West to East and East to West
Commanding Officer: Captain Hugo BRUNA.

d.-  XXXIX Training Trip
Date   : 10 December 1994
Time  :  17:54 hours
Direction  :  East to West
Commanding Officer:  Captain Eduardo GARCIA.

e.-  XLI Training Trip
Date : 30 November 1996
Time : 01:30 hours
Direction : West to East
Commanding Officer:  Captain Rodolfo SORIA-GALVARRO.

f.-  XLIV Training Trip
Date03 December 1999
Time  : 20:45 hours
Direction  :  East to West
Commanding Officer:  Captain Luis CLAVEL.

g.-  XLV Training Trip (See picture)
Date  : 18 October 2000
Time  : 10:15 hours
Direction  :  East to West
Commanding Officer:  Captain Edmundo GONZALEZ.

Valparaíso, October 2000