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Experience History, First-Hand!
Tour the world's most authentic, museum-quality replica of Christopher Columbus' flagship.
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Welcome aboard the most incredible overnight adventure in History!
Challenge yourself aboard the Santa Maria for a night of adventure exploring the life of a 15th century sailor!
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Voyage of Discovery
The Original Santa Maria
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Home >> Virtual Voyage >> The Original Santa Maria

The Fleet
Christopher Columbus' fleet consisted of three vessels obtained in a tiny Spanish coastal port. These ships were the most complicated and significant technological creation of their day. The Santa Maria and the ships that evolved from her design, opened up the world to the Europeans.

The Pinta and Nina were caravels: boats that were longer for a given width to give them a streamlined configuration. The Pinta was three-masted with square-rigged sails; the Nina, though the smallest, had four masts and was lateen-rigged (triangular sails) which Columbus had converted to square-rigged during a stop in the Canary Islands.

The flagship Santa Maria was a "nao" or cargo ship. It was significantly wider and clumsier than the caravels. Columbus even mentioned later in the voyage that the Santa Maria was not very well suited for exploration.

The Fate of the Santa Maria
The Santa Maria never left the "new world". She ran aground and became hopelessly stuck on Christmas Day 1492 on the island of Isla Espanola (modern-day Haiti). Columbus had the Santa Maria disassembled and used the timbers to build a fortress in what Columbus called La Navidad, the first Spanish settlement. Because of the loss of the Santa Maria, Columbus was forced to leave 39 men and supplies at La Navidad to await for his return.

The Columbus Santa Maria
The Columbus Santa Maria is the world's most authentic, museum-quality representation of Christopher Columbus' flagship. She was built in 1991 by Scarano Boatbuilding Inc. of Albany, New York for eventual opening to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the trans-atlantic voyage in 1992.

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Overall Length: 98 feet
Height: From the keel to the top of the mast: 89 feet
Hull Dimensions: At the water line: 72 feet by 26 feet. The hull is 2.5 inches thick below the water line and 1.75 inches thick above the water line.
Weight: 130 tons with ballast
Main Mast: This 65-foot mast is carved from a single Douglas fir.
Hull Planking: 44,000 board feet of Port Oreford cedar.
Deck Planking: and spars 22,000 board feet of Douglas fir.
Frames: 24,000 board feet of Alaskan yellow cedar.
Sails: 2,700 square feet.
Rigging: 4,000 linear feet of line.
Knees: 1,000 board feet of White Oak.
Tar: 55 gallons used to preserve fixed rigging.
Lignum Vitale: 90 board feet.
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