Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cape Verde 100 Escudos - Sailship Madalan

Year of Issue: 1994
KM #: 40a
Type: Commemorative
Metal: Bi-metal (Copper-Nickel in center and Brass ring)
Edge: Reeded
Shape: 10-sided
Weight: 10 g
Diameter: 26.5 mm

Obverse: Sailship Madalan
Reverse: National Emblem

Dimensions: 147.6 x 30.2 x14.9ft (draught)
Tonnage: 357 gross. 242 net.
Power: One Cooper-Bessemer 6-cylinder diesel, 300 bhp.

Madalan was built as a yacht in 1928 by Marco U. Martinolich at Lussinpiccole, Italy for an American owner, Mr. Cornelius Crane of Ipswich Ma. She was launched with the name ILLYRIA. Apart from the captain's and crew's quarters she had four double cabins, a library, and a sitting room. Mr. Crane had made his fortune in bathroom fixtures. He made a South Sea expedition for the Field Museum of Natural History of Chicago.

Later, she was owned by George M. Moffett of New York who gave her the name MALAINA.

At the beginning of the second world war, the US Coast Guard bought her for USD 45 000 and spent another USD 44 500 to convert her, equipping her with 2 20mm AA machine guns, 2 depth charge launchers, range finders and gun platforms. She was renamed MADALAN (WYPc-345) and commissioned on 1 April 1943, assigned to the 3rd District based in Fort Tilden, NY. On 7th June 1945, she was decommissioned and transferred to War Shipping Administration.

In November 1946, John B. Pontes, a Boston Cape Verdean businessman, and his business associate Fortunato Gomes da Pina bought her for USD 35 000. Pontes kept the name Madalan, had her re-rigged as a brigantine and had the partitions below deck taken out for optimum cargo space. In 1948, a cattle pen was built under the forecastle in order to have fresh meat during the voyage.

Madalan left Providence on June 8, 1947 under Captain Sebastian Cruz with twenty passengers. It was a crossing with many a windless day. After 74 days, Madalan arrived in Cape Verde. She had a new engine, but Pontes would not allow it to be used because it was too expensive to operate. The return voyage to Providence was a good deal faster, taking only 39 days from Dakar. After staying in for Christmas and New Year she attempted a winter crossing in January 1948 from New England. Five days out of port, Madalan ran into the start of a week of gales that drove her 130 miles a day without sails. Yet apart from the three kerosene drums and a barrel of beef that were washed overboard, the brigantine came through without damage.

The Madalan was back in Providence on July 27, 1948, with forty-two passengers, after making a 48 day crossing from Dakar despite 17 windless days. The comfortable conditions aboard the Madalan had made her a popular ship, and so every year thereafter the Madalan returned to New England in July and left in autumn after the cranberry harvest, when many Cape Verdean cranberry pickers would book passage home to visit family and friends.

Madalan was eventually sold to Antonio Bento of Maio, who neglected her. In 1955 she broke loose in the harbor of Praia and was driven against the rocks. The Providence Journal reported in 1957 that "Antonio Bento can't or won't spend money for necessary repairs on leaks in her steel hull and on her sprung topsail." Sometime later, unattended, she developed a leak and sank.

Click here to see other coins with watercrafts, in my collection.

Source: and

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