All three of our ships have colorful histories. Read on, to find out where they came from, where they’ve been, and why we love them all!
Diamant, our baby and the original vessel in the Island Windjammers fleet, was built in the Fong Kuo Shipyard in Taiwan in 1978. She was privately owned in her earlier years, some of them in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area.
Quasar Nautica, a tour company in the Galapagos Islands, bought Diamant in the mid 1980’s. Angermeyer Cruises, another well-known Galapagos tour operator, acquired Diamant around 2000. All told, Diamant sailed adventurous passengers around the Galapagos for two decades.
Angermeyer Cruises removed Diamant from service in 2007 following the acquisition of another vessel. In 2008, partners seeking to start a new sailing company in the Caribbean took possession of Diamant. The ship underwent improvements and refurbishment, and was moved to Grenada in early 2009. When the young company was unable to continue operations several months later, Island Windjammers purchased Diamant. Her thrilling first cruise as an Island Windjammers ship was in November 2009 out of Grenada. Diamant has been cruising the beautiful Windward Islands ever since, and is a beloved favorite of IWJ guests. She is scheduled to undergo a complete refit in 2016, which will include the addition of a luxurious Owners’ Suite.
Sagitta was bought by Island Windjammers in 2012, and has a particularly interesting background. Built in Sweden by Falkenberg from 1960-1961, she was originally intended to be a civilian steel trawler. At some point, the plan changed. HMS Sigrun, as Sagitta was formerly known, was delivered to the Swedish Navy in 1961. Her unglamorous but necessary function was as a support vessel to the coastal fleet—specifically, she was a laundry ship. Every navy man needs clean uniforms, and Sigrun made that happen for many years!
After being retired from naval service, Sigrun went to a private owner in Holland. She sat unused for several years, and was about to be scrapped when Angermeyer Cruises purchased her in 1996. Angermeyer changed her name to Sagitta, after the “little arrow” constellation. She sailed from Holland all the way to the Galapagos, where she underwent a four-year transformation from a very utilitarian power vessel to a majestic three-masted motorsailer. Sagitta cruised the Galapagos Islands from 2000-2012, when she became the second ship in the Island Windjammers fleet. After some upgrades and improvements, Sagitta began service out of St Maarten in December 2012. St Maarten remains Sagitta’s homeport. Sagitta also spends time in the British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, and Grenada.
Although not a “true” sailing vessel, Sagitta’s beamy hull configuration gives her the most spacious cabins and largest open deck area of all three IWJ ships. With towering masts and her sails flying, Sagitta is a beautiful and impressive sight.
Vela, formerly Tole Mour, is the newest and mightiest jewel in the IWJ crown. Tole Mour was commissioned by the Marimed Foundation in Hawaii as a health support vessel in the Marshall Islands. Her original name means “Gift of Life and Health” in Marshallese. She was built by Nichols Brothers boat builders in Puget Sound, Washington, in 1988, and provided medical services to Pacific islanders for several years.
In recent years, Tole Mour was part of the Guided Discoveries’ Catalina Island Marine Institute, offering sail training, oceanography, and marine biology education to school-aged students.
It was love at first sight when Island Windjammers’ fleet captain and fleet engineer went to inspect Tole Mour in Long Beach, California in early 2014. In November 2014, Tole Mour joined the IWJ fleet and was rechristened Vela, after “the sail” constellation. Vela is currently undergoing a complete conversion from dormitory style accommodations to comfortable, beautifully appointed single and double cabins. All have private baths with the exception of the two “solo sailor” cabins, which share a bath. Vela’s primary homeport will be Marigot Bay, St Lucia.
Vela. Her name means “sail”. She’s a vision…gleaming brass, oiled teak decks, and tall masts that appear to touch the sky. One look and your heart flutters. Your senses come alive. You can smell the salt air…hear the whisper of the wind as it unfurls the miles of canvas…her beauty is set in motion. She sails.