Each of the vessels is a reproduction of a 15th century Portuguese caravel; common trading ships used by explorers during the Age of Discovery.
The Niña is considered to have been a favorite with Christopher Columbus. After returning from his First Voyage in 1492, he named her the flagship on his Second Voyage and she later sailed as advance guard on his Third Voyage. In all, Columbus recorded over 25,000 miles aboard the Niña.
In 1988, construction of her replica began in Valenca, Brazil using an archaic ship-building process called Mediterranean Whole Moulding. Using traditional tools such as axes, handsaws, and chisels, master shipbuilders constructed the Niña from the naturally-shaped timbers of the nearby Bahia forests. Without the use of power tools, it took three years to complete the project.
It was a worthwhile venture, as the Niña is considered to be the most historically accurate Columbus replica ever built. In 1991, she embarked on her maiden voyage with a 4,000-mile journey to Costa Rica to take part in the filming of Ridley Scott’s “1492”. This marked the first successful open ocean crossing of a caravel over a considerable distance.
More recently, the Pinta (Santa Clara) – a larger version of the archetypal caravel – was constructed and launched in 2005. She travels with the Niña to educate the public about early sailing vessels. Visitors can view a presentation about her construction in the main cabin below deck.
Here are a few images of the ships’ arrival:
Visit these historical sailing museums for a walk-on self-guided tour from Thursday, June 18 through Sunday, June 21. Located at the end of West First Street Pier in Oswego (next to the H. Lee White Marine Museum), the vessels will be open to the public each day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tickets are $7/adults, $6/seniors, and $5/students. Children age 4 and under are admitted free. Crew members will be at hand to provide assistance and answer questions about history, sailing and life aboard ship.
After your tour, visit the H. Lee White Marine Museum to learn about our own maritime history.
If you would like more information about historical attractions and events in Oswego County, please visit our Web site at www.visitoswegocounty.com.