Replicas of Christopher Columbus' ships arrive in Palmetto

jdeleon@bradenton.comApril 5, 2013 

PALMETTO -- History sailed into Regatta Pointe Marina in Palmetto Thursday afternoon.

Replicas of Christopher Columbus' Nina and Pinta docked in the marina shortly before 3 p.m., a couple hours after their scheduled arrival, after the Nina ran aground trying to come into the Manatee River.

"It's really nice to be here," Capt. Morgan Sanger said.

The two replica ships will be on display and open for tours 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day starting Friday through April 15.

Sanger blamed stormy weather for the delay and the Nina running aground.

"We couldn't see anything and our radars were blanked out," Sanger said. "We just laid off until the rain let up and then we tugged the other ship off."

The narrow Manatee River was another factor, he said.

"If you are paying attention in good weather, you can do it," Sagner said.

The replicas were built by the Columbus Foundation, which Sanger started and is based in the British Virgin Islands. The foundation was formed in 1986 to raise money to rebuild replicas of Columbus' ships before 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, according to the group's website.

The Nina was built without using power tools between 1988 and 1991.

It is considered the most historically accurate ship ever built of the trio that sailed with Columbus in 1492. The larger Pinta was built between 2002 and 2006.

Admission will be $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 60 years old and older, $6 for children ages 5 to 16 and 4 years old and younger get in free.

Special $5 student rates can be arranged for school groups. Information: 787-672-2152.

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