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Naval Warfare

ARM Cuauhtemoc (BE01)

Sail- / Diesel-Powered Training Barque [ 1982 ]

The ARM Cuauhtemoc is a hybrid sail-and-diesel vessel used in training students of the Mexican Naval Academy.

Authored By: JR Potts, AUS 173d AB | Last Edited: 08/15/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In 1970, the Mexican Navy acquired funds to have a ship built for training the cadets of the Mexican Naval Academy. Unlike the expensive ships of the American fleet and others, several countries purchased lower cost "windjammers" to give their future naval officers an understanding and feel of wind-and-sail against the open sea. The designer and shipbuilder chosen was Astilleros Celaya S.A. of Bilbao, Spain who had already constructed tall ships for other South American navies - the Gloria (1968) for Columbia, the Guayas (1977) for Equator and the Simon Bolivar (1980) for Venezuela. The Mexican government commissioned the Spanish firm for their three-masted ARM Cuauhtemoc (BE01) barque which was finally commissioned on July 29th, 1982.

The Cuauhtemoc (meaning "Swooping Eagle") was named after the last Aztec emperor who fought against the Spanish conquistador Herman Cortes and drove them out of the ancient city of Tenochtitlan - now Mexico City - on June 30th, 1520. Cortez regrouped and later retook the city, executing Cuauhtemoc in 1525. The ship's figurehead became an homage to the last great Aztec emperor, his headpiece a jade-colored eagle and his body covered in golden leaf while holding a weapon in his right hand, fire coming from his feet.

The Mexican barque was 220 feet, 4 inches (67.2 meters) long, having a beam (or width) of 39 feet, 4 inches (12.1 meters), her draught (or depth) in the water being 17 feet, 7 inches (5.4 meters). She proved a 1,800 ton (standard) vessel and was constructed with two modes of transportation - sail power and diesel. Under mechanical power, the engine made 1,125 horsepower output to one shaft, allowing for speeds of up to 10 knots. She carried 220 tons of diesel fuel and 110 tons of fresh water in a tank below deck, her hold being too small for a true water purification system. Food and fresh water supplies were the limiting factor that drew her to port for resupply.

The Cuauhtemoc became a steel-hulled, three-masted barque. Her sail plan started at the bowsprit, a pole or spar that extended out from the bow of the ship forward from the prow. The bowsprit provided an anchor for lines of the staysails and allowed the foremast to be mounted as forward in the design as possible. The main mast was 124 feet, 8 inches (38 meters) rising above the deck and the sail plan arranged using traditional barque-rigging which was itself more intricate than rigs used on modern day tall ships. The foremast was the first mast closest to the bow and the second tallest. This fitting was followed y the mainmast fitted at the middle and the tallest of the three masts. The third, and most aft mast on the ship, was the shortest of the three and called the mizzenmast. All of the masts were square-rigged with sails fore and aft. Her masts and yards were made using steel and aluminum which allowed for taller, lightweight masts leading to less sail area to provide maximum propulsion. About her three masts she carried 25,498 square feet (2,368 meters) of sail and 296.9 feet (90.5 meters) of aluminum spar/yard length.

The crew of the Cuauhtemoc changed in number as required, most often depending on the mission. Some cruises took on 35 officers and 120 sailors plus 80 cadets while others had as few as 10 officers, 70 cadets, 37 sailors, 3 Marines, 10 civilians and, at times, even its own band members aboard. While her primary mission was in training naval academy cadets, this proved the perfect vehicle for allowing the Cuauhtemoc to become a Mexican ambassador to the world while showing the national flag.

To that end, the Cuauhtemoc has served as a training ship for 27 total cadet classes to date, managing 28 cruises to over 147 ports of call in 94 countries worldwide. She has circumnavigated the globe three times and sailed a total of 532,796 miles. She was present at Fleet Week 2012 in a visit to New York City.

All images courtesy JR Potts, AUS 173d AB.


Service Year

Mexico national flag graphic



ARC Gloria; BAE Guayas (BE-21); Simon Bolivar; ARM Cuauhtemoc (BE01)

National flag of Mexico Mexico
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)

220.3 ft
67.15 m
39.3 ft
11.98 m
17.7 ft
5.39 m

Installed Power: 1 x Diesel engine developing 1,125 horsepower; 3 x sail-rigged masts.
Surface Speed
16.0 kts
(18.4 mph)
Essentially Unlimited

kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers

1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
2 x 55mm Salute Guns

Supported Types

Graphical image of a cannonball cannon/gun armament

(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)

Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War period
Military lapel ribbon for early warship designs
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
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Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.

Images Gallery

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Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
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All 3 masts with lose sails, her trademark; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Figure head representing Cuachtemoc; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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View of the Mainmast; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Portside alunimum rope braces and brass pins with sail ropes; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Forward Anchor chain wench with The Bronx in the distance; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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The bow-sprite with crew netting; 3 collapsed stay-sails on bow-sprite w ropes connecting to Foremast; collapsed foresail on right; teak decking; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Deck rope; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Radar on Fore-mast with Main & Missenmast behind; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Mainmast; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Base of Mainmast with sail ropes; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Deck ropes with life raft containers; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Fore deck with upside down Dingy; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Well-kept 55mm salute gun at starboard; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB
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Ships bell with Red starboard and Green port anchor chain hoist; image by JR Potts, AUS 173d AB


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