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Columbus replica ships sail through the region

September 22, 2018

The Nina sails past the Guyandotte boat ramp as she and her sister ship, the Pinta, journey down the Ohio River on Wednesday.

PARKERSBURG, West Virginia — Step aboard a bit of maritime history starting this weekend as replicas of The Nina and Pinta — two of three ships Christopher Columbus guided from Spain to The Bahamas in 1492 — will be docked at Point Park, 113 Ann St. in Parkersburg, from Friday, Sept. 21, until their departure early Wednesday morning, Sept. 26.

The ships will be open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, through Tuesday, Sept. 25. The boats will also be making seven other Ohio River port city stops this fall through mid-November.

The closest they will be to Huntington is a Friday through Monday, Nov. 9-18, stay at Ashland Port & Riverfront Park, 50 15th St. in Ashland.

Other stops are: Sept. 28 through Oct. 2, at Heritage Port in Wheeling, West Virginia; Oct. 4-16 at Station Square in Pittsburgh; Oct. 19-23 at Marietta Harbor, Marietta, Ohio; Oct. 26-31 at Haddad Riverfront Park in Charleston; Nov. 2-7 at City Park Dock in Gallipolis, Ohio; Nov. 9-18 at Ashland Port and Riverfront Park; and then Nov. 20-22 at Limestone Landing Park in Maysville, Kentucky.

This is the first stop in Ashland since 2015. The boats were last in Huntington in 2012.

The Nina replica was built first when American engineer and maritime historian John Patrick Sarsfield was hired by the Virgin Islands-based Columbus Foundation to design and construct the 15th century caravel in 1988. The Nina was built by hand and without the use of power tools and is considered to be the most historically correct Columbus Replica ever built.

Co-designer Jonathon Nance, a British maritime historian and lead project researcher, produced the Nina’s 1,919-squarefoot sail plan.

The Pinta was built 16 years later to accompany the Nina. Both ships were built in Valenca, Brazil, by eighth-generation Portuguese shipwrights. It took a 20-person crew 32 months to build the Nina and 36 months to build the Pinta. It is a larger version of the archetypal caravel. Historians consider the caravel the space shuttle of the 15th century.

The Nina and the Pinta set sail in 1492 with crews of 24 and 26 people, respectively. Today, each ship usually has crews of at least 10.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors and $6.50 for students 5-16. Children 4 and under are free. The ships are open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. No reservations are necessary.

Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30-minute guided tour with a crew member should call 787-672-2152 or visit www.ninapinta.org. Tours require a minimum of 15 and are $5 per person. Email ninapintatour@gmail.com for more information, or visit http://www.thenina.com/schedule.html for the full schedule of stops.

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