Replica ships in port through May 17th


LAMP Director Chuck Meide reported to Historic City News that the Niña and Pinta are scheduled to make a trip to the Nation’s Oldest Port however, this time they will dock in St. Augustine.

Beau Phillips tells Historic City News that the archaeologically based replica of the Niña and her larger sister ship, the Santa Clara, (representing the Pinta) are owned by the Columbus Foundation based in the British Virgin Islands. From the time they land through May 17th the two famed replicas, docked at the City Marina, will offer tours from 9am – 6pm.

The Niña is distinct because of its authentic replication. Traditional shipwrights built the ship using all hand tools in Brazil and the hull shape was reproduced using data recovered from archaeological excavations of contemporary 15th century caravels excavated around the Iberian Peninsula as well as the Caribbean. The collaborative effort, which combined the resources of traditional shipwrights, maritime historians, archaeologists, and marine engineers, helped produce a vessel acclaimed as the most authentic caravel replica afloat.

As an accompanying ship, the Santa Clara is a floating museum as well as reception platform. An exhibit in her hold shows how the Niña was designed by the collaborative research team and built by traditional shipwrights. Visitors not only get to see the finished product but experience the research and effort behind making a reproduction of a 15th century sailing vessel. This ship is thoroughly modern inside and includes an air-conditioned exhibit space, gift shop, and galley.

The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, worked with the Columbus Foundation to get these ships into St. Augustine. As hosts, LAMP and the Lighthouse will be providing volunteers to assist visitors dockside and provide a living historian who will portray Christopher Columbus. Caravels were used in 1565 in the colonization of St. Augustine and afterwards to supply it with the ‘situado’, a yearly installment of Spanish money to support the colony. “It is important to remember these workhorses of the sea,” said LAMP Archaeologist Brendan Burke, “and a great opportunity, since the local ‘450 Corps’ is studying the feasibility for creating a replica here in town for the upcoming 500th anniversary.”

Admission for adults is $6, children over 4 are $4, and senior citizens are $5. A guided group rate of $3 per person is also available for groups of 15 or more. A portion of the proceeds will go to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum.

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