Navio Escola Sagres moors in Douro again after 25 years

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The day was clear, even though there was some wind in the mix. In the late morning of Monday, through the Douro’s mouth at Foz, the most iconic ship of the Portuguese navy entered: the “Sagres”, accompanied by small recreational and tourism crafts. After all, no one wanted to miss out on this historic event – twenty-five years later, the school ship has moored in Douro again and, for the first time, in Porto’s shore, to participate in the celebrations of Navy Day, that is marked in Porto on the 18th and 21st of May, and gathers more than 30 initiatives, open to everyone.

The trip lasted less than two hours and a half. Between the hustle of a normal workday, at Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, a ship that had never been there before stood out. The beginning of the Navio Escola Sagres’ trip, with the destination of Cais da Ribeira, in Porto, coincided with the official start of the Navy Day’s celebrations. At high sea, some of the most iconic sails of the ship were hoisted.

Rui Moreira, the mayor of Porto City Hall was on board, joined by the chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo, councillors, the president of the Municipal Assembly, the presidents of the Administration of the Douro, Leixões, and Viana do Castelo Ports, SA, Museu dos Transportes e Comunicações, Clube Náutico and Sport Clube do Porto, representatives of companies connected with Port Wine, besides many other guests.

“To receive ‘Sagres’ in Porto, such as the celebrations of Navy Day, is special for the city because this is a port city, of tradition and respect for naval activities”, Rui Moreira stated.

As for the chief of Naval Operations, “Navy Day without ‘Sagres’ is not Navy Day, so for that reason, being that Porto is a port city with an amazing estuary, we could not stop from coming here and bringing ‘Sagres’”.

“It is with great pride that we come to Porto, a city that is so important to us”, added the captain of the ship, Mário Domingues.

Moored for the first time in Porto’s shore

Through the course of its long history, the Navio Escola Sagres moored in Douro four times: in 1964, in celebration of the 600th anniversary of Infante D. Henrique’s birth (the ship’s figurehead), in 1992, 1994, and 1998. Today, and for the first time ever, the ship has moored in Porto’s shore, specifically in Cais da Ribeira. There, from Thursday to Sunday, the ship will open its doors to free tours, an initiative inserted in the celebrations of Navy Day. The tours will happen at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 6pm, and the entrance will be at the berths of the boats between Cais da Ribeira and Alfândega. The goal for this initiative is to bring society closer to the Navy, and to show people that this field of the Armed Forces is an instrument of the Portuguese State in its action at sea.

The frigate D. Francisco de Almeida, the ocean patrol ship Sines and the inspection ship Rio Minho will join Navio Escola Sagres until Wednesday, the day before the official start of the commemorations.

The celebrations for this Navy Day will have more than 30 initiatives, among them tours to the ships, sea baptisms, exhibitions, concerts, and a military parade.

Emphasis on the 19th, Friday: the Army Band jumps to the stage with Miguel Guedes to a concert at Parque da Alfândega, with open entrance at 9:30pm. The program for celebrations ends on Sunday, the 21st, with all the attention turned to the military ceremony, that at 12pm, joined by a formation of about 500 military members, for a parade in Rua Nova da Alfândega (direction Alfândega-Ribeira), will be performed for all the population. In the last part of the parade, that will last for about an hour and half, a demonstration of abilities is predicted to happen, next to Douro River.

For more information on the Navy Day’s program click here.