Bragging rights are kind of fun. Whether they mean anything or not is often an open question. How one strings together the adjective phrases can make all the difference. For example, HMS Victory is said to be “the oldest commissioned warship in the world,” while the USS Constitution is said to be “the world’s oldest floating commissioned naval vessel.” The important word here is “floating.” What good is a warship if she is not afloat? Which is not to say that it is likely that the USS Constitution will sail out again to fight pirates they way she did in 1803 regardless of whether or not she is floating and still in commission.
Enrico Gurioli, writing for the Times of Malta, manages to avoid these sorts of nit-picky details by describing the Italian training ship, Amerigo Vespucci, simply as “the world’s most beautiful ship.” As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no one can really argue the case one way or another. While I may not agree wholly with Mr. Gurioli, the Amerigo Vespucci, is a handsome vessel. I might be willing to go along with “the most beautiful sailing vessel built in 1931 named for an early Italian explorer.” Thanks to Irwin Bryan for passing the article along.