The Esmeralda is on a five day visit to Auckland arriving 0830 on 19 July and departing 1600 on 23 July. She will be open to the public on Princess Wharf over the weekend 20/21 July 1000-1200 and 1400-1800.
The ship is the sixth to carry the name Esmeralda. Construction began in Cádiz, Spain, in 1946. She was intended to become Spain’s national training ship. During her construction in 1947 the yard in which she was being built suffered catastrophic explosions, which damaged the ship and placed the yard on the brink of bankruptcy. Work on the ship was temporarily halted. In 1950 Chile and Spain entered into negotiations in which Spain offered to repay debts incurred to Chile as a result of the Spanish Civil War in the form of manufactured products, including the not yet completed Esmeralda. Chile accepted the offer and the ship was formally transferred to the ownership of Chile in 1951. Work then continued on the ship. She was delivered as a four-masted topsail schooner to the Government of Chile on 15 June 1954. Her sister ship is the training ship for the Spanish Navy, the four-masted topsail schooner Juan Sebastián Elcano. Sometime in the 1970s Esmeralda’s rigging was changed to a four-masted barquentine by replacing the fore gaffsail (course sail) by two main staysails. The third (top) main staysail is still in place. She has now five staysails, three topsails, six jibs, three course gaff sails, four square sails, 21 in all.
Esmeralda last visited New Zealand in November 2016 to participate in the RNZN 75th Anniversary.