On Dec. 4, 300 years after Ming Dynasty general Cheng Cheng-kung, better known as Koxinga, landed in Taiwan, the Taiwan Cheng Kung, a NT$100 million replica of his boat, set sail from Anping Harbor in Tainan City towards Luermen.
Tainan Mayor Hsu Tain-tsair presided over the launch, which was also attended by world famous film director Ang Lee. Lee, who is a graduate of National Tainan First Senior High School, said that Taiwan’s modern history started from the moment Koxinga landed at Luermen, and it means a lot for him to witness such a historical moment in his hometown.
Hsu said the maiden voyage is one of the most important events to happen in Tainan for many years, and is a symbol of the city’s unsurpassable cultural value as Taiwan’s ancient capital. He hopes that Tainan’s rich cultural heritage will attract tourists from all over the world.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China, the Taiwan Cheng Kung will make a round-island trip before sailing to Japan’s Nagasaki Prefecture, the birthplace of Koxinga. The boat will also go to Quanzhou in China’s Fujian Province where Koxinga trained his troops, Kinmen, where his troops were stationed and Penghu, where he fought the Dutch.
Hsu said that when Koxinga’s rule over Taiwan ended 300 years ago this kind of ship disappeared, which is why the voyage of the Taiwan Cheng Kung means so much. The Taiwan Cheng Kung was used for both commerce and battle, and when Koxinga landed at Luermen 300 years ago on a similar vessel, he changed the course of Taiwan’s history.
The vessel is 29.5m long, 7.6m wide, and its mast is 28m high. Master carpenters from Taiwan and China were brought in to work on the ship, and Southeast Asian beech wood, meranti wood and teak wood were used on different parts of the ship.
Although the vessel relies mainly on wind power, it is fitted with a modern propulsion system. Tainan City government has already formed a sailing crew and recruited two experts from China to train them in readiness for their forthcoming voyage.(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED AND COMPILED BY TAIJING WU)