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La Nao Santa MarĂ­a

525 aniversario del encuentro entre dos mundos


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The Nao Santa María of the 525th Anniversary The Nao Santa María is one of Huelva’s hallmarks and its columbine vocation. It suggests and evokes the region’s ships, seamen, the seafarer’s tradition and its most universal history. All over the world it is recognized as a symbol of this history of encounters and mutual awareness which the province of Huelva celebrates now on its 525th Anniversary. Hence the Nao Santa María Project embodies the goal of the 525th Anniversary of retracing its history to promote the columbine heritage, the tourism and the regional culture through the construction and cultural promotion of the vessel that was the vehicle of this encounter between two worlds 525 years ago, and will be again in the present. Once the Nao Santa María is built, it will be the best traveling ambassador of the 525th Anniversary and the province of Huelva in all the Spanish, European and American ports that the ship will visit on its promotional tours in the next few years.

It is for all these reasons that on the frame of the 525th Anniversary and with the support of the Provincial Government and the Cajasol Foundation, the Nao Victoria Foundation is building the replica of the historical Nao Santa María. The Nao Victoria Foundation is an institution specialized in promoting and enhancing great cultural events through its historical ships. The Nao Victoria and the Galeon Andalucía, to name two of its best known vessels, have already sailed to ports all around the world developing farreaching projects, participating in International and Universal Exhibition as well as other events with great success in public attendance and media coverage.

Construction The construction of the vessel is being carried out observing its shapes and details with historical rigor while applying a cutting edge and revolutionary system in the sector of replica-shipbuilding that combines the construction of a fiberglass structure and wood-plank overlaying. It is a new technique that means a great progress in environmental impact, costs, durability and maintenance of the vessel. The construction will take approximately 12 months, and the launching of the hull structured is scheduled for October 2017. The ship is being built in Punta Umbría shipyards and the project engages about one hundred professionals of various branches: shipyard workers, artisan net weavers, carpenters, rope makers, mechanics and electricians forming a wide and multidisciplinary work-force together with historians, engineers and shipbuilders that participate in the planning of the first blueprints of the replica designing the shapes and measurements of the vessel.


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Technical Data Once built, the vessel will weight 120 metric tons. Just as the original, the replica of the Santa María will have three masts and a bowsprit. The height of the main mast will be almost 25 meters from the waterline. 45 cubic meters of iroko wood will be used on the construction process. It is a tropical wood of great durability and very resistant to the different climatic and meteorological agents. The dimensions of the replica are the following: Dimensions Hull Length.....................................................28,30 m. Beam..................................................................7,96 m. Hull Height.......................................................3,49 m. Decks: Main, Forecastle, Quarter deck and Poop deck. Masts: Main, Mizzen, Fore and Bowsprit. Sails: Main, Top, Mizzen, Spritsail and Fore. It will hold 300 square meters of sail, with a setting of the rigging faithful to the original Nao Santa María of the 15th century, with more than 3 kilometers of line for the standing and the running rigging.

Bulding Phases • NOVEMBER 2016: Definition of the historical Project and preliminary technical specifications. • FEBRUARY 2017: Start of construction of hull mould. • MARCH 2017: Finishing of the hull mould. • APRIL 2017: inicio del proceso de laminado del casco y refuerzos. • JUNE 2017: The process of hull laminating is started. • AUGUST 2017: Equipment installation. • OCTOBER 2017: Launching of the hull. • NOVEMBER 2017: Fitting of the masts/ standing and running rigging.


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The Nao Santa María of Chistopher Columbus The Nao Santa María is one of the most famous ships of mankind. On October 12th of 1492, led by Christopher Columbus, it played the main role on one of the most important historic landmarks: the discovery of America, the encounter between two worlds that changed the future of universal history. On August 3rd of 1492 it sailed off from the port of Palos de la Frontera (Huelva, Spain) together with the caravels “Pinta” and “Niña”, the so called three caravels from which this nao was the flagship. In all references written by Columbus about the Santa María in his famous diary of the expedition, he refers to it as “nao”, as did other chroniclers of the time: “Cristopher Columbus loaded, apart from those two, a nao… and on the third, being the nao bigger than the rest, he wanted to travel himself, and hence it became the flagship” 1 It was acquired by the Spanish Crown to be part of Juan de la Cosa’s columbine expedition. Although De la Cosa was natural from the Spanish northern region of Cantabria and lived in the southern Puerto de Santa María, the general belief is that the vessel was built somewhere on the coast of Galicia, hence her previous name: La Gallega (The Galician). On October 12th, 1492, the Nao Santa María, manned by 40 men, arrived to America with the caravels, leading one of the most transcendental encounters of history. While sailing close to the Española Island on Christmas day that year, the helmsman got distracted and the vessel run aground and wrecked. On the location of the shipwreck, known as Bahía de Caracol (Haiti), the first Spanish settlement in America was built from the wreckage; 1. Bartolomé de las Casas. Historia de las Indias I. 1552

it was the Fuerte Navidad (Christmas Fort). The references made on the diary and other historic sources of the time allow us to know some characteristics and details of this Nao Santa María: it was a larger vessel with a rounder shape and deeper draft than the caravels, but slower, with a forecastle deck, quarter deck, poop deck and a cabin. Her four masts would hold the foresail, the top and mainsail formed by a course and two bonnets, the mizzen lateen sail and the spritsail on the bowsprit. She had a whipstaff as steering system and it carried two auxiliary rowing boats on board. The size is not specified, but according to studies made with historic documents of following expeditions and shipbuilding treatise writers of the time, based on the number of crew members, it could be of approximately 100 barrels. Following the same studies based on these historic sources, treaties, chronicles, iconography and other relevant sources, the main dimensions have been calculated according to the tonnage formulas of the 16th century, as well as the shapes and building details.2

2. Fernández Vial, Ignacio. Las Tres Carabelas. Diputación Provincial de Huelva. 1998


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Fundación Nao Victoria C/Progreso 20, 2ºA · 41013 Seville (Spain) Tel : +34 954 090 956 www.fundacionnaovictoria.org

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