Tall Ship Arrives In Ocean City For Short Stay

Tall Ship Arrives In Ocean City For Short Stay

OCEAN CITY — Amid much pageantry and fanfare, the replica 16th Century tall ship El Galeon Andalucia emerged from the early morning haze off the coast of Ocean City on Wednesday and traveled first through the Inlet and then narrowly through the Route 50 drawbridge before docking on 3rd Street.
The El Galeon Andalucia calls St. Augustine, Fla. its home base on the Atlantic and is on a return trip from New York City to a stop in Puerto Rico, where it will work with NBC on a project. The National Air, Sea and Space Foundation, Inc., which promotes tours of the ship, was looking for a pit stop along the Atlantic coast to break up the trip from New York to Puerto Rico and Board Chairman Brian Lilley, who produces the Ocean City Air Show each summer, approached resort officials about bringing El Galeon to Ocean City for a late summer stop.
El Galeon Andalucia left New York on Monday and arrived off the coast of Ocean City sometime on Tuesday. The original plan was to bring the replica tall ship through the Inlet and the drawbridge on Tuesday afternoon to its berth along the bulkhead at 3rd Street adjacent to the municipal park, but extreme low tides in and around the Inlet and back bays caused by the full moon forced its arrival back to early Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, hundreds of local residents and visitors gathered around the Inlet jetty and on docks and piers just south of the Route 50 Bridge waiting for the ship’s arrival as the El Galeon waited in the early morning haze just off the coast north of the pier. After a few more last-minute delays, El Galeon began its passage through the Inlet with an escort by Tow Boat US, the Coast Guard, an armada of local boats of all shapes and sizes and the Ocean City Fire Boat, which shot a plume of water into the early morning sky.
El Galeon Andalucia, shortly after 11 a.m., passed easily through the open drawbridge, although there was not much room to spare on either side, and made its way to the 3rd Street bulkhead where hundreds had gathered to celebrate its arrival.
Captain Manolo Murube and the adept Spanish crew of 25 immediately began making preparations to accept their first guests. After lines were secured, portions of the barrier along the bulkhead were removed and a gangway was carefully lowered over the side, Murube and his crew welcomed aboard Mayor Rick Meehan, Councilman Doug Cymek and City Manager David Recor, who presented the captain and crew with Maryland and Ocean City official flags. A short time later, the familiar blue and white Ocean City flag was gently wafting over the deck of the huge ship in what little breeze there was in the stifling hot August afternoon.
El Galeon Andalucia is an impressive vessel that measures 170 feet in overall length with a beam of 30 feet, which extends to 50 feet when the yardarms are considered. Its main mast soars 120 feet, or around 12 stories, above the deck, while its foremast measures 110 feet and its mizzen mast measures 80 feet. It has six total decks, including the top five that have been carefully restored and appointed to reflect what it would have looked like over 500 years ago when Spanish explorers used similar vessels for the exploration of the New World. The lower decks are reserved for the crew, which numbers around 25 split in two working crews.
El Galeon Andalucia came into Ocean City with its sails furled, but it paints a remarkable picture when the sails are unfurled at sea. The sails are largely symbolic as the vessel is now powered by two diesel motors and two propellers with over 750 horsepower. The galleon draws a total of 11 feet, which is why there were some delays in the original arrival plan due to shallow waters at low tide in and around the resort.
The original galleons were originally constructed of oak, pine and various hardwoods and the El Galeon Andalucia was recreated with careful attention to detail. The galleons were typically funded and constructed by wealthy businessmen as merchant ships for exploration and trade, but they were often captured by rival nations and pressed into military service. El Galeon Andalucia is outfitted with several gun portals and small cannons, which were rolled out when the vessel docked on Wednesday. Oddly enough, one of the cannons on the east side of the vessel pointed directly at the City Hall dome on Wednesday.
El Galeon Andalucia will remain moored at the bulkhead between 3rd and 4th streets until Sept. 2. The first public tours were scheduled to begin yesterday morning at 9 and will continue each day until 6 p.m. through Sept. 2, when it heads back out through the drawbridge and the Inlet to its destinations to the south. Tickets are available on site or at TallShipEvent.com.