Bill Pinkney sails Amistad to Havana

Bill Pinkney is the first African American to sail around the five southern capes. After completing that feat he became the first master of the reconstruction of the schooner Amistad, launched at Mystic, Conn., in 2000. Now Pinkney will once again command Amistad as it sails into Havana Harbor on March 25. Amistad’s arrival will be part of the United Nations International Slavery Remembrance Day.   

From the press release: William “Bill” Pinkney, first black man to solo circumnavigate the world via Cape Horn and Master Emeritus of Freedom Schooner AMISTAD will sail the 129 foot Baltimore Clipper into Havana Harbor on  March 25, 2010 in observance of International Slavery Remembrance Day as observed by the United Nations.

The arrival is the culmination of a fifty-year sailing career for the 74-year-old Connecticut resident who was the founding Captain of the vessel, a project of Amistad America, Inc of New Haven, Connecticut in 2000.  This historic arrival also marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the ship at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut where it was built over a two-year time span. The ship, is a reproduction of a vessel commandeered in 1839 by 53 African captives. The incident later lead to the first Human Rights case in the U.S. Supreme Court. See

Pinkney who was the feature of the Peabody Award winning documentary “The Incredible Voyage of Bill Pinkney”, is author of the John Southam award autobiography “As Long As It Takes.” Semi-retired, Captain PInkney gives inspirational presentations about his sailing adventures. He is the official spokesperson for the ship and along with the crew acts as docent.

Amistad will arrive in Havana after brief visit to Matanzas, Cuba, cradle of Afro-Cuban culture. Prior to arrival in Cuba, the ship was in the Dominican Republic conducting a Cross-Cultural voyage with Dominican and Haitian students. In keeping with its mission hundreds of school children visited the ship while it was in harbor in Santo Domingo.

While in Cuba the team will be learning more about the background of the  Amistad story that started in Havana and ended in the U.S. Supreme Court.  It is hoped that more information on the history of the schooner itself can be uncovered in the archives of the historical museums.

Upon his return in early April, Captain Pinkney will be available for interviews and speaking engagements.

By Ocean Navigator