On May 16th, Charles Milhaud, President of the Caisses d'Epargne Group, will be awarded the Remarkable Patronage Medal by the Minister of Culture : this rare distinction marks the French nation's gratitude for the vital role assumed for the last 27 years by the Caisses d'Epargne in acquiring and – by means of the Belem Foundation – restoring, maintaining and operating the tall ship Belem, now a living symbol of France's maritime heritage.
This particular symbol will be in Marseilles on May 20th, celebrating her...110th anniversary ! Nothing overstated, no special effects, just a private party on board with a host of local dignitaries. On the 25th, the venerable three masted barque will be making her way to Port-Vendres for the first of her public open days of the season.
Early in May, the Belem made her way back to the shores of France after a memorable series of voyages with trainees sailing from La Seyne to Naples, Naples to Malta, Malta to Palermo and Palermo to Nice. Discovering Italy's famous volcanoes – Vesuvius, Stromboli, Vulcano, Etna - brought added pleasure and interest to the start to the Belem's training program for 2006.
At Palermo, the Belem was met by an old acquaintance : Jean Alain Morzadec, who took his first trip on board in 1989 as a national serviceman, was recently promoted from First Mate to Commander – one of the Belem's three Commanders, with Jean-Pierre Boin and Michel Pery, who succeed one other at her helm during the six months of the training season.