From July 8 – 13, Boston celebrated the third leg of the Atlantic Challenge by welcoming 40 tall ships into her fair harbor. Among them was the beautiful 270-foot, three-masted barque, Mircea, from Constanta, Romania. With her sails hanging in decorative folds and her bright yellow paint reflecting the sunshine, she proudly represented her crew and homeland.
Built in 1938 in Hamburg, Germany for the Romanian navy, the ship was named for a 14th-century Romanian hero, the Wallachian Prince Mircea cel Batran (the elder), who liberated the country’s Black Sea coast from the siege of the Turks. The ship was commissioned by the Romanian Royal Navy on 17 May 1939, and is the successor to the first Romanian training ship, in service from 1882 – 1939.
The Mircea participated in OPSAIL 76, celebrating America’s bicentennial. Her 2009 visit to Boston drew out the enthusiastic local Romanian community; she was formally welcomed by Adrian Vierita, the Romanian Ambassador. Public events included a rhythmic gymnastic ensemble set to the music of Enescu.
A WEDDING ABOARD: On the final day of Sail Boston (Sunday, July12), a Romanian bride and groom exchanged their wedding vows aboard the Mircea. The couple had met on their very first day of school in Romania but had lost touch for many years until they reconnected on Facebook. The groom, Claudiu Badea, toured the ship earlier in the week when the idea to marry aboard struck him. He proposed to his girlfriend, Alina, the day before the wedding. The 192-member crew of the Mircea put together a magical event for the couple who were married beneath a white tarp on the commanding deck of the ship in the company of 40 family members and friends. It will surely be a story for the generations.