A STUNNING Italian sailing ship is due to make a rare visit to Portsmouth tomorrow.
Majestic tall ship Amerigo Vespucci is expected to enter the city’s harbour at 7.30am for a brief stay over the bank holiday weekend.
It’s the latest time the three-decked square rigger – the only one left in the world – has visited Portsmouth, with her last stopover in 2012.
And people in Portsmouth will be given a chance to step on board the 270ft vessel at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard this weekend.
Named after Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer in the 1400s, the 87-year-old vessel is used as a training ship for officer cadets in the Italian navy.
She is 164ft tall, with 26 enormous sails and miles of rigging. It is her 11th time in Portsmouth since her maiden voyage during the Queen’s Coronation Fleet Review in 1953.
Hundreds of people are expected to flock to see the impressive ship this weekend. John Rawlinson, director of visitor experience at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: ‘She was once dubbed the most beautiful ship in the world by the American aircraft carrier, USS Independence, so we expect to draw plenty of attention.’
The ship will stay in Portsmouth until Bank Holiday Monday. Visitors will be able to get on board on Sunday, between 1pm and 4pm.
Amerigo Vespucci is one of three training ships of foreign navies due to enter Portsmouth in the coming days – Japanese warships JS Kashima and JS Makinami are due in tomorrow morning.
The visits are unrelated but have been hailed by the Royal Navy as a shining example of global partnerships being forged between Britain and ally nations.
A navy spokeswoman said: ‘The two unrelated visits by our international partners are both formal visits as part of their current deployments around Europe and represent the global partnerships that exist between the Royal Navy and our international allies.’
Both the vessels will be berthed on the north corner of Portsmouth Naval Base. Amerigo Vespucci is expected to be alongside at South Railway Jetty.
Japanese sailors are expected to spend time with their British counterparts, visiting a number of naval institutions in the area. A band from the vessels will be performing at the historic dockyard on Saturday and Sunday, 12pm to 1pm.