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Special No.-July 2013

B.E. Cuauhtテゥmoc

June 1st: Navy Day

Bienvenidos Welcome to the first special number of our online magazine. -After ten years the sailing event "Tall Ships Races 2013" with its innumerable magnificent tall ships will visit Riga providing unique visual pleasure for inhabitants and guests of Riga- says the announcement in the website “liveriga” regarding the tall ships regatta that will take place in Riga during this month of July. The Mexican tall ship Cuauhtemoc is participating in the regatta among many others, so this is a perfect excuse for us to make this number in which we talk a little about the Mexican maritime tradition as well as about the ship itself, and because our objective is spread the Mexican culture and not make our dear readers boring we have plenty of pictures to discover this beautiful ship. Cezars Torres Mehiko Māja

Mexico in Latvia I met her several years ago, and I sailed the North Atlantic with her. Some years later I had the chance to join her in a trip to Japan but I refused her for a very beautiful girl who convince me to move to a magical land called Latvia but that´s another story. Now as an old lover she is comming to Riga and we will have chance to meet again, for the old times sake. In this number we will travel in time and space to learn one or two curious things about the Mexican maritime tradition, as well as about one of the most beloved icons of Riga, the Mexican tall ship Cuauhtemoc. If you don´t believe this, feel welcome to check all the promotional pictures for the regatta and you will see Cuauhtemoc´s masts and sails framed by the towers and needles of Riga´s churches, don´t mention the first view you have of Riga at the airport before leave the arrivals gate is the Cuauhtemoc. For personal reasons this is a very special number, I wish you enjoy it and find interesting what we have prepared in this pages.


The ship

The navy

Training ships


Introduction In the 18th century, the British Royal Navy used the term bark for a nondescript vessel that did not fit any of its usual categories. By the end of the 18th century, the term barque or bark came to refer to any vessel with a particular type of sail-plan. This comprises three (or more) masts, fore-and-aft sails on the aftermost mast and square sails on all other masts. Barques were the workhorse of the Golden Age of Sail in the mid-19th century as they attained passages that nearly matched full rigged ships but could operate with smaller crews. The advantage of these rigs was that they needed smaller (therefore cheaper) crews than a comparable fullrigged ship or brig-rigged vessel as there were fewer of the labour intensive square sails, and the rig itself is cheaper. Conversely, the ship rig tended to be retained for training vessels where the larger the crew, the more seamen were trained.

The ship The training ship Cuauhtémoc (ARM Cuauhtémoc BE-01) is the sail training vessel of the Mexican Navy in which cadets." from Heroic Military Naval School perform practice trips. Such practices include the study of subjects such as kinematics, nautical astronomy, national and international maritime law, naval communications, and maintenance management as well as seminars and navigation practices. Was built by the Naval Shipyards of Bilbao, Spain, in 1982, all built to a design similar to the 1930 designs of the German firm Blohm & Voss, like the USCGC Eagle and the NRP Sagres. Is the last of four sister ships, the Colombia's Gloria, Ecuador's Guayas and Venezuela's Simón Bolívar

Name: ARM Cuauhtémoc Builder: Astilleros Celaya S.A., Bilbao, Spain Launched: January 9, 1982 Commissioned: July 29, 1982 Homeport: Acapulco, Mexico Identification: Pennant number: BE01 Status: in active service, as of 2013 Class & type: Steel-hulled sail training vessel Displacement: 1,800 tons Length: 220 ft 4 in (67.2 m) waterline Beam: 39 ft 4 in (12 m) Draft: 17.7 ft (5.4 m) Installed power: 1,125 hp (839 kW) Auxiliary engine Sail plan: Barque Sparred length: 296.9 ft (90.5 m) Sail area: 25,489 sq ft (2,368 m²) Capacity: Fuel capacity: 220 tons Water capacity: 110 tons Crew: 186 officer and crew 90 trainees

Source: Secretaria de Marina-Armada de México

Cuauhtemoc ARM Cuauhtémoc is named after the Aztec Emperor Cuauhtémoc who was captured and executed in 1525. Cuauhtémoc (1495-1525) was the last Aztec ruler (tlatoani) of Tenochtitlan from 1520 to 1521. The name Cuāuhtemōc "One That Has Descended Like an Eagle", commonly rendered in English as "Descending Eagle" as in the moment when an eagle folds its wings and plummets down to strike its prey, so this is a name that implies aggressiveness and determination. Cuauhtémoc took power in 1520 as successor of Cuitláhuac and was a cousin of the former emperor Moctezuma II. His young wife, who would later be known as Isabel Moctezuma, was one of Moctezuma's daughters. He ascended to the throne when he was 25 years of age.

Coat of arms The body of the coat is formed by two concentric circles: the outside, like a manila rope, means running rigging, main element of the crew in the tasks of start-and-load the rig. The inner circle concentrically serves to divide the total circumference of the body. The inner part of these has at its center the silhouette of Cuauhtémoc training ship for its port and all rigging given by sailing west, driven by the wind, which creates his first trip to join his country. In the ring formed by the two circles have two inscriptions: one on the top that says "Armada de Mexico", institution which is part and another at the bottom that says, "Buque Escuela Cuauhtémoc", (School ship Cuauhtemoc) the official name of the ship. The same ring provides, in point east, the figure of Ehécatl, god of wind in the Aztec mythology, who with his breath drives the ship into the west. In the western point appears twilight sun, at the northern, interspersed in the inscription, the stars sidereal that enable constant awareness of position. Finally, in the upper body, the Mexican national emblem, an eagle devouring a snake, reminiscent of the origin of the vessel and its crew.

Sail rigging in Nautical Spanish

The ARM CuauhtĂŠmoc is a barque-rigged brig, with three masts and 23 sails spread (10 square sails at bats and 13 major and candles ratchet knife), totaling 2.368 square meters of sail.

The Navy The Mexican Navy is the military force responsible for monitoring and safeguarding of the coasts, territorial sea, exclusive economic zone and maritime airspace in Mexico and inland navigable waterways and lakes. It was created since the achievement of independence in 1821 as part of the Ministry of War and Navy. In the twentieth century was created the Navy Department independent from the Defense Ministry, and in 1941 rose to the rank of Secretary of the Navy. Currently the Mexican Navy comprises not just the surface units but also infantry, Special Forces and naval aviation units.

Above: Navy Secretariat building in Mexico City Right: Navy Day manouvers in June 1st

A naval battle in Mexico City

Mexican Navy has its origins in the maritime activities developed by indigenous peoples in Mexican territory and the knowledge that was inherited from Spain. Indigenous and Spanish would be the protagonists of one of the most interesting paradoxes in the history of Mexico, as it was in the region known as “el altiplano” the plateau, which is about 2,200 meters height over sea level, which started the history of shipbuilding in American continent, when Cortés decided to send thirteen brigantines built in Tlaxcala to siege the great Tenochtitlan, an later a naval battle on Texcoco lake, which eventually leads to the Spanish victory over the Aztec Empire in August 13, 1521.

Fighting Russians and pirates

In colonial times was created the “Armada de Barlovento” by the Spanish Empire, which was a military institution of around 50 naval vessels to protect the American territories from European enemy attacks, as well as from pirates and privateers. The first fight of the Armada was off the shores of Veracruz on June 9, 1640 against English pirates. This Armada was dissolved in 1715 as a result of the Utrecht Treaty, however Naval operations continue as late as the 1790´s when the corvettes “Princesa” and “Favorita” were sent to combat the Russian settlements in the north of the continent. This naval era ends with the Spanish defeat in Trafalgar.

Consummation of Independence During the Independence War (1810-1821), naval operations were made only due logistical purposes and only after the Consummation of Independence is that the new Nation formed a fleet to defend its territory. The siege of San Juan de Ulua (1825) was the baptism of fire for the recently established Mexican Navy; the Mexican fleet commander Pedro Sainz de Baranda, a Trafalgar veteran defeat the Spanish General Jose MarĂ­a Coppinger on November 23, 1825, in this way the Mexican Navy achieved the surrender of the last Spanish stronghold in Mexico, consolidating Mexico's independence. The celebration of Navy Day in Mexico, November 23 commemorate this action.

Modern day Navy

Naval Academy 

The Heroica Escuela Naval Militar is the officer training academy of the Mexican Navy.

It began operations on 1 June 1897 with a group of cadets from the Army's Military College who had expressed an interest in training as naval officers as well as personnel from the School of war materials, the National Arsenal and civilians who requested it. For their training they had the Navy corvettes Zaragoza, Yucatán, Democrat, Oaxaca and Donato Guerra.

It was originally located on the premises of the military garrison in Veracruz. Its original staff comprised one commandant, two officers, six teachers, and 26 cadets.

It was given the appellation Heroica ("Heroic") for its efforts in defending the port during the 1914 United States occupation of Veracruz.

On 11 November 1952 the Academy relocated to its current premises in Antón Lizardo, Veracruz

Old Naval Academy 1897

Currently the Old Naval Academy building hosts the Naval Museum

Mexican Naval Academy

Training ships Mexico, in the 1880s, decided to build a floating school for the training of officers and seamen and with the intention to realize a practice journey around the world. The corvette Zaragoza was the first Mexican ship that circumnavigates the world. Under the command of Commodore Angel Ortiz Monasterio, the voyage of circumnavigation began on April 5, 1895 and ended on July 3, 1897.

Acorazado Anahuac 1920´s

Transporte de guerra Durango 1930´s

Destructor Cuitlahuac 1970´s

Destructor Manuel Azueta 1970´s

Buque Escuela Velero Cuauhtemoc 1980´s


Sources, photos and information Internet: 

Portal de la Secretaría de Marina

Books and magazines: 

La corbeta Zaragoza de Ricardo Orozco

Reglas de Navegación de Eduardo Barbudo

La Fuerza y el Viento de Marita Martinez

I would like to especially thank Commander César F. Cano for the pictures and information kindly provided for this special number. To my brothers in arms, friends and colleges

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Special No. July 2013  

Special Issue dedicated to the Mexican sailing ship "Cuauhtemoc" on the occasion of her cruise in Northern Europe