- Pre mid-life update: 2 * Sulzer diesel engines
- Post mid-life update: 2 * MAN diesel engines B&W mod. 6L23/30-D, each with 6 inline cylinders and 960 kW at 900 rpm
4 * 47 mm QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss cannons
ARA Libertad (Q-2) is a steel-hulled, full-rigged, class «A» sailing ship that serves as a school vessel in the Argentine Navy. One of the largest and fastest tall ships in the world, holder of several speed records, she was designed and built in the 1950s by the Río Santiago Shipyard, Ensenada, Argentina. Her maiden voyage was in 1961, and she continues to be a training ship with yearly instruction trips for the graduating naval cadets as well as a traveling goodwill ambassador, having covered more than 800,000 nautical miles (1,500,000 km) across all seas, visited about 500 ports in more than 60 countries, and trained more than 11,000 navy graduates.
The ninth Argentine Navy vessel to bear the name Libertad, she has a total length (including bowsprit) of 103.75 m; a beam of 14.31 m; a draft of 6.60 m; and a displacement of 3,765 metric tonnes: these figures place ARA Libertad as the world's sixth longest tall ship and the third heaviest in displacement. Her complement is 361, including 24 officers, 187 crewmen and 150 naval cadets, among them an ever-increasing number of invited officers from friendly nations' armed forces, personnel from the Argentine Army, Air Force and Coast Guard, students, journalists and distinguished people from different areas and disciplines, both local and foreign.
The ship's follows the archetypal windjammer design, with a clipper bow and a wood-carved figurehead representing Liberty in a long flowing robe and a cruiser stern bearing the Argentine coat of arms in cast bronze.
She is an all square rigged vessel, with bowsprit and three steel masts –Fore, Main (height of 56,2m), and Mizzen with boom– with double topsails and five yardarms each, which can rotate up to 45 degrees on each side. Five jibs are fixed to the bowsprit. All masts have five square sails, with the foremast and mainmast having three staysails, and the mizzen, a spanker, summing up 27 dacron sails with a total sail area of 2,652 square meters. Masts have a circular cross section, formed by welded steel sheets between 9.5mm and 12mm thick.
The vessel carries four fully functional 47 mm QF 3 pounder Hotchkiss cannons, 1891 model, which were transferred from the previous school ship ARA Presidente Sarmiento. Although only used as a protocolar salute battery, these cannons make Libertad the second most heavily armed tall ship in the world.
In 2004 she underwent a general mid-life update with special effort put into security and comfort, seeking to extend the vessel's lifespan for at least another forty years. The extensive works were finished in April 2007 and included:
- New integral painting
- Replacement of all Burma teak linings
- Modernization of steering gear
- Renewal of kitchens, laundry, nursing and dental office equipment
- Upgrading of all light appliances
- Replacement of all ship's piping and vents, using new materials and adapting them to the new embedded systems
- Building foundations for the new systems and equipment parts.
The overhaul, performed at Río Santiago Shipyard by more than 350 workers, required 285 tonnes of metal for the hull, decks and internal structures and over 25 tonnes of different shaped steel profiles.
Bedrooms and bathrooms were refitted to allow the incorporation of female midshipmen, corporals and sergeants, in line with current diversity policies in the Argentine Navy. The propulsion plant was upgraded to two MAN B&W turbocharged diesel engines mod. 6L23/30-D, each with six inline cylinders and 960 kW at 900 rpm that improved performance to a maximum speed of 13.73 knots and a cruising speed of 12.5 knots (from previous 13.5 and 8 knots respectively) This modification included replacing the propeller shaft.
The radar navigation system was replaced by an advanced model that holds greater scope and definition. The vessel update also included changing all power, communications, alarm, signalling and monitoring cabling, an adaptation required for the newly incorporated systems. The rigging was fully upgraded, which included bringing down, checking and repairing the spars, and renewing more than 55,000 meters of ropes, shrouds, backstays and steel cables.
During the three years Libertad was under overhaul.