Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
'History for the ages.' Replica of Columbus' Santa Maria to dock in Wilmington for visits

'History for the ages.' Replica of Columbus' Santa Maria to dock in Wilmington for visits

  • Updated
  • 0

Jun. 10—"Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492," the ditty goes. This weekend, visitors to the London Wharf in Wilmington will be able to see a model of the ship that got Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic.

The Nao Santa Maria is a 200-ton tall sailing ship and will be docked in downtown Wilmington June 10 to 13. Visitors will be able to take self-guided tours and ask crew members about their experiences.

"It's a part of history, and the Santa Maria played one of the most important roles in the discovery of America," said Stephanie Fornes, president of Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Trust Inc., in a phone interview with The News & Observer.

The model of the 15th century ship, named after Columbus' flagship, was built by the Nao Victoria Foundation. It was constructed in Punta Umbria's shipyards in Seville, Spain in 2017, and took 14 months to complete. It was launched for the 525th anniversary of Columbus's Atlantic crossing on March 16, 2018.

Although the original ship sunk off the coast of Haiti on Christmas day of 1492, the replica is reconstructed based on historical sources, including Columbus' diary, to get a feeling for what sailing across the ocean might have been like more than 500 years ago.

The Nao Santa Maria has four decks and masts, and is 93 feet long. Its rigging stretches more than 1.9 miles. It's crew has made multiple trips to the Americas, France and Spain, and has voyaged across the Atlantic.

The event is sponsored by the Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Trust, which has brought other historic ships to the Wilmington area in the past, including the Galeon Andalucía in 2015.

"Our goal is to bring awareness and activities along the Cape Fear River," Fornes said. "We were able to connect with the Nao Santa Maria, and they came in 2019, and reached out this year to come back."

The event will have some COVID-19 precautions, including hand sanitizing stations and limited occupancy. The crew has also been fully vaccinated.

"Most of the tour is in open air, so it's not like you're going to be confined with 100 people below deck," Fornes said.

As the discussion concerning Columbus' role and intentions in discovering the Americas has deepened in the past few years, Fornes believes it is important to remind people of that history.

"It's a part of history that we can't erase, it did happen, and we've moved forward. A lot of what he did, we don't have anymore," she said. "It's really just a history for the ages."

How to go

What: Tour the Nao Santa Maria Tall Ship in downtown Wilmington

When: June 10 to 13, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: At the Riverwalk between Grace and Chestnut streets.

Tickets: $15 Adults (12+), $5 Kids (5-11 yrs.), $35 Family (2 Adults + up to 3 kids). Buy at Eventbrite or at the dock.



Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

  • Updated

Jun. 9—Hollywood star Jessica Chastain unveiled a trailer of the upcoming "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" movie that tells the tale of TV evangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. The movie was filmed in Charlotte beginning in October 2019 and also stars Andrew Garfield of "Spider Man" fame. Charlotte has seen an uptick in TV and film production in recent years. The movie of Judy Blume's beloved book, "Are you ...

  • Updated

Jun. 11—LUMBERTON — Major chances are coming for the I-95 South Welcome Center located north of the border with South Carolina in southern Robeson County, according to a North Carolina Department of Transportation official. But when asked, Jimmy Parrish, Rest Area Section supervisor, quickly dismissed rumors that the welcome center was to be torn down and moved to Fayetteville, and the site ...

  • Updated

Jun. 10—NASA has a problem. It wants to send humans on long-distance space missions — to Mars or beyond — but the human body does not thrive under the rigors of space. Whether it is the loss of gravity or the abundance of radiation, our bodies age quickly beyond the confines of Earth. Humans who have spent more than several weeks in orbit have lost density in their bones and skeletal muscle ...

  • Updated

Jun. 8—The shift, mainly within younger generations, toward spirituality rather than religiosity can be seen in Fayetteville. The Rev. Kelli W. Taylor, chaplain and vice president of religious life and community engagement at Methodist University, said church research suggests a shift among younger Black Christians. The move is from being religious to being spiritual, when religion is defined ...

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alerts