Replica Tall Ship Eyes Resort For Extended Stay In August

Replica Tall Ship Eyes Resort For Extended Stay In August

OCEAN CITY — The replica tall ship Santa Maria, of Christopher Columbus fame, could be making an appearance in Ocean City in August, resort recreation and parks officials learned this week.

The NAO Santa Maria is a replica of Christopher Columbus’ flagship of the famed explorer’s trio of ships that sailed across the Atlantic to the new world in 1492. It was designed and built by the Nao Victoria Foundation in 2017 and has been touring around seaports all over the U.S. in recent years.

During Tuesday’s Recreation and Parks Committee meeting, Special Events Director Frank Miller said he has been in discussion with the Nao Victoria Foundation about bringing the replica 1492 tall ship to Ocean City in August. The Santa Maria’s sister replica tall ship El Galeon Andalucia visited Ocean City three times in 2013, 2014 and 2017 and docked along the bulkhead at the municipal park between 3rd and 4th streets. Miller said a similar arrangement could occur with the Santa Maria this August, although the visit could be considerably longer than the one-week visits of El Galeon.

“It would arrive in August right after the White Marlin Open,” he said. “They would possibly stay two- to four- weeks.”

The Santa Maria would likely follow a similar path as her sister ship El Galeon did in its prior visits to Ocean City, which created quite a stir. On three occasions, El Galeon sailed through the Inlet and through the narrow drawbridge at Route 50 with just inches to spare before reaching its final berth at the 3rd Street bulkhead.

At just around 100 feet long, the Santa Maria is smaller than the El Galeon, but could prove to be just as majestic. According to the Nao Victoria Foundation website, it boasts 300 square meters of sail.

“It’s about two-thirds the size of the El Galeon,” he said. “It’s primarily fiberglass underneath, so it should have a shallow draw. I’ve talked to Tow Boat US about determining the depths in that area.”

When the El Galeon was in Ocean City on three separate occasions, the west end of the downtown recreation complex became a village of sorts with vendors, meet-and-greets with the authentic captain and crew and tours for visitors and school groups. Miller said a similar situation could play out with the Santa Maria’s anticipated visit in August.

“I think it would be a great addition,” he said. “We can do something shoreside. We could do a vendor village at the park similar to what we did when El Galeon was here. El Galeon came here three times, but this would be the first for the Santa Maria.”

The recreation and parks committee agreed to make a favorable recommendation to the Mayor and Council. Miller said he would start formulating a memorandum of understanding with the foundation, outlining the details of the visit in August.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.