Monday, August 15, 2011

The Cape Horn congress

The stamp was issued for the XXXVIII Cape Horn Congress which was held in Mariehamn, June 8-11, 1992. Society for the sailors who had rounded the southern tip of South America was founded in 1936 in France. It now has 1400 members, of whom 235 live on Åland. The background image on the stamp is the world map on which the routes of the wheat trade are marked, from England around the Cape of Good Hope to Australia and thence westward back via Cape Horn. This was the only route on which sailing ships even after the Second World War could be used. In the foreground is the four-masted Herzogin Cecilic: she belonged to the maritime counsellor Gustaf Erikson's fleet. The ship was seized in New Zealand in 1941 and was returned to her owners in 1948. The following year she made her last circumnavigation under the Finnish flag. In 1950 she was sold for scrapping, but ended up as a school ship in Hamburg. The ship went down in fierce storm near the Azores on April 4th, 1957. - The stamps upper part shows a pennant and in it the Cape Horn association's emblem and the word Åland.
FOUNDING OF THE AMICALE. In June 1936, a group of French sailing ship Captains who had rounded Cape Horn met at the L’Univers Hotel in Saint Malo, France, accompanied by one of their old professors at the School of Hydrography. It was then that the initiative to create an association for the purpose of keeping in mind the experiences, recollections and traditions of voyaging under sail along oceanic routes was launched. A year later, in June 1937, a group of 35 French deep-sea Captains – most of them from the Brittany region, France – met at the “Aux Ajoncs d’ Or” Hotel at Saint Malo. All were Cape Hornier veterans, happy to meet again and revive their recollections, personal experiences, emotions and unexpected surprises which the sea had challenged them with, on the dangerous Cape Horn route. The Friends of Cape Horn Association was born. The group, presided over by the ‘Grand Mât’ (Main Mast), Captain Louis Allaire, consisted of “Albatrosses” (Captains who had commanded a sailing ship around Cape Horn) and “Mollymawks” (a bird of the same family as the albatross, however smaller), the name given to Officers who had performed these duties on the great sailing ships which defied Cape Horn. This nice FDC was given to me by My Dear Friend Pia.

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