With six feet to spare, the triple-masted Colombian barque ARC Gloria slid through the raised bascules of Tower Bridge yesterday to end a three-day goodwill visit to London.
Reputedly the training vessel was signed into being in 1966 by the then Defence Minister, General Gabriel Rebaiz Pizarro, who authorised its commission by signing a napkin with the words "worth one sailboat" written upon it. Built in Bilbao it is one of the largest ships in the world.
The Gloria's central mastmeasures 133ft, allowing it to squeeze through the Londonlandmark which has clearance at high tide of 139ft.
Many in the capital's 80,000-strong Colombian community had turned up to greet their navy's official flagship with full crew and dog on board when it arrived in the rain at Docklands on Wednesday on the latest leg of a global tour.