ALL ABOARD …
Replicas of two of Christopher Columbus‘ ships are making their way up the eastern seaboard this spring – stopping in Beaufort and Charleston, S.C. and Wilmington, N.C. over the next few weeks.
The Columbus Foundation – based in the British Virgin Islands – is sailing its two vessels, La Niña and Pinta from Florida all the way to Newport, Rhode Island on another “voyage of discovery.”
The replica ships are in Beaufort until this Tuesday (April 25) and are headed next to Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina – where they will dock from April 28 through May 8. Next they will sail to Wilmington, North Carolina’s Port City Marina – where they will dock from May 12 to May 21.
The two boats are replicas of the caravel-type ships that sailed alongside the carrack-style Santa Maria on Columbus’ first voyage to the new world in 1492.
Caravel-type ships were built for Mediterranean trade routes, not the open ocean. But Columbus liked their speed and maneuverability – and the fact they could be converted from lateen-rigged vessels to square-rigged ships.
“This new sail arrangement provided the necessary adjustments to make the caravel what was commonly referred to as the best sailing vessel of its time,” according to ship historian George R. Schwarz.
La Niña – officially named Santa Clara – was Columbus’ favorite ship. Built in 1462, it carried a crew of two dozen and logged a whopping 25,000 nautical miles on Columbus’ voyages of discovery.
Pinta – built in the early 1440s – carried a crew of 26. Among its complement on Columbus’ first voyage to the new world was Rodrigo de Triana – who shouted “¡Tierra! ¡Tierra!” (“Land! Land!”) upon sighting the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.
Our founding editor Will Folks took his brood down to Beaufort, S.C. on a homeschooling field trip this past weekend to check out the ships.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
Both of these replica boats were built in Valença, Brazil using the same techniques employed by fifteenth century Portugese shipbuilders. According to the foundation, La Niña is the “most historically accurate Columbus replica ship ever built.”
Both replicas are “sailing museums,” featuring various exhibits detailing Columbus’ journeys. And while there’s no Santa Maria joining them – one of the on-board exhibits includes a model of Columbus’ famed flagship.
To be clear, Columbus didn’t discover the new world. That honor belongs to Viking explorer Leif Erikson, who landed in northeastern Canada in the early eleventh century – nearly 500 years before Columbus’ first voyage.
Columbus died in Valladolid, Spain in 1506 – still believing he had discovered a shorter passage to Asia.
For those interested in touring the ships, tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for children between the ages of five and sixteen. Guided tours are also offered, but you’ll need to have a group of at least fifteen people. The price per head for that is $5.
According to the organization’s website, the Columbus Foundation “receives no funds from government agencies or private foundations” and is “supported entirely by the fees paid to tour the ships.”
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