A full-size replica of a 17th-century Spanish Galleon, similar to those of the Spanish Armada that was famously defeated by Sir Francis Drake in 1588, is now in Ramsgate harbour.
El Galeon was launched in 2009 at Huelva in Spain. The entire timber structure used iroko, pine and beech, reinforced using a totally new and innovative technique to ensure her 500-year-old design meets all 21st-century regulations to safely sail the world’s oceans.
After three years of intense research followed by two and a half years in building, the vessel was rigged with over eight miles of traditional rope to handle her 9000 square feet of sails.
The 500 ton and 160ft length ship’s six decks accommodate a fascinating range of features and exhibits that provide a ‘floating museum’ displaying the history of these magnificent craft and the age in which they operated.
The 17th century vessels weren’t just fighting ships, but massive trading vessels that could carry over 1200 tons of cargo whilst accommodating 150 crew plus merchants, servants and families, not forgetting animals – for food.
Enormous fleets, sometimes up to 70 ships, would sail in convoy between Spain and the Americas or Asia, taking supplies to their colonies and returning with gold, silver and precious gems.
It was hardly surprising the ships were armed as they had to frequently defend attacks by pirates and foreign nations – which included England.
It was these Spanish galleons that linked nations to trade and share cultures between continents.
El Galeon has arrived a day earlier than expected. The ship is open to the public from 10am until 8pm daily from May 4 until Sunday 14 May. There is an admission charge with reduced prices for children and families.
Tickets are £10 Adults, £5 Children between 5-10 years old, Free for children under 5 (must be accompanied by an adult) and £25 Family Package (2 adults and 2 children).
Tickets on sale at the ship or online at www.velacuadra.es
Tall ship Morgenster is also back in harbour following a four-day cruise to Ostend. The ship will be departing from Ramsgate on 3 May again bound for Ostend, but on this occasion will not be returning to the UK. The single trip can be booked, with return ‘self-arranged’ using train via Brussels or by ferry from France.
For more information about sailing trips on ‘Morgenster’ contact Fair Ferry directly on 0031 623 529309 or email: [email protected]