VIDEO: Grand entrance - Soundings Online

VIDEO: Grand entrance

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The ARM Cuauhtémoc has been to ports around the world as a sailing ambassador for Mexico. This week New London, Conn., warmly greeted the tall ship and its crew.

The tall ship Cuauhtémoc arrived at City Pier in New London, Conn., on May 2 amid applause and symbolic cannon fire, with many of the 81 crewmembers manning the yards.

The sail-training vessel is part of the Mexican navy and was named for the last Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan.

The 297-footer is the last of four sister ships built by the Naval Shipyards of Bilbao, Spain, in 1982, all to a design similar to the 1930 designs of the German firm Blohm & Voss, such as the Gorch Fock, USCGC Eagle and NRP Sagres.

Cuauhtémoc is a sailing ambassador for her home country and a frequent visitor to world ports. She has sailed more than 400,000 nautical miles during 23 years of service, making appearances at such events as Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Races, American Sail Training Association Tall Ships Challenges and Sail Osaka.

The ship offered free tours to the public during its four-day stay in New London and crewmembers mingled with local residents, but the visit was not all fun and games. The cadets are learning to sail the ship in the old-school way, without technology.

"They are learning how to sail by sail, and also to navigate by astronomical navigation and using the magnetic compass," Capt. Pedro Matacervantes told Fox 61 News. "We don't want them to become officers just by reading the GPS."

Cuauhtémoc is on a six-month mission and will cross the Atlantic, making stops in Europe during the summer before returning to Mexico in October.