OCEAN CITY – Following last year’s success, the National Air, Sea & Space Foundation (NASSF) is looking to not only bring one, but two historical tall ships to Ocean City for the entire month of August.
NASSF will be proposing to the Town of Ocean City to bring two tall ships to the resort to be docked at the bayside boardwalk between 3rd and 4th streets from Aug. 1 to Sept. 1.
“An application was submitted by the NASSF to bring back the Andelucia, which was the Spanish Galeon that was here last year, and its sister ship the Nao Victoria, which is slightly smaller but a better replica,” Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller said on Wednesday.
In July of last year, the NASSF first proposed to bring a tall ship to Ocean City from Aug. 23 to Sept, 22, and proposed two locations — the bayside pier between 3rd and 4th St. or Sunset Park using the U.S. Coast Guard Pier.
The foundation preferred the bayside boardwalk as it provided space for exhibits across the street in parking spaces or the ball fields, as well as the organizer suggested partnering with the town and having vendors in the area during Sunfest.
Because the request came so soon, city officials were weary of the quick time frame to prepare for the vessel and instead granted the El Galeon to berth at the bayside boardwalk from Aug. 23 until Sept. 3 for a trial run.
Before El Galeon arrived, the town prepared by installing cleats into the dock and added two concrete pads to hold the ship in maximum current and a 50 mph wind load positioned east of the bulkhead. It was designed to take on the entire load of the ship instead of the bulkhead. The total cost to the town was about $3,000.
According to NSASF President Brian Lilley, there were between 14,000 and 15,000 people who visited the ship while it was in Ocean City, and at least 13,000 boarded the vessel for a tour.
As a result of the success, immediately following the El Galeon’s departure, Miller began exploring other tall ship opportunities.
“We figured out how to place two ships between 3rd and 4th streets so that it does not affect the fishing between 2nd and 3rd streets,” Miller said this week. “We will have to add additional cleats for the second vessel.”
Along with the two tall ships being berthed at the bayside boardwalk for a month, NASSF is requesting to conduct an “educational week”, as well as considering having a pirate festival at the ballpark across the street.
“It would be great to have it along with the vessels,” Miller said. “I would love to see it happen but that is up to NASSF.”
According to NASSF, the Nao Victoria will visit ports-of-call up and down the East Coast from Florida to Maryland in 2014.
The Nao Victoria is an exact replica of Ferdinand Magellan’s ship that was the first to circumnavigate the globe on a three-year, 32,000-mile voyage from 1519-1522.
After Magellan’s demise in the Philippines, the last part of the voyage was commanded by Juan Sebastián Elcano. The expedition began with five ships and 245 men but the Victoria was the only ship to complete the voyage returning in 1522, almost 3 years later. Only 18 men survived the 32,000 mile trip.
The El Galeon Andelucia is a replica of the late 16th century fabled merchant vessels and war ships that made up the early navies of Europe.