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Replica ships to dock at Harris Riverfront

Nov. 13, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- History sails into Huntington this week, as replicas of two of Christopher Columbus' ships will be docked in Huntington for the next seven days.

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, replicas of the Nina and the Pinta are expected to arrive in Huntington. They will be docked at the Huntington Yacht Club at Harris Riverfront Park, until the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 20.

The ships will open to the general public Wednesday, Nov. 14.

Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, guided tours are offered for groups of 15 or more, and individuals and small groups can take their own walk-aboard, self-guided tours of the ships. The Nina was built by hand without the use of power tools and is considered to be the most historically correct Columbus Replica ever built, according to a press release.

The Pinta was recently built in Brazil and is a larger version of the original caravel, or sailing vessel. Historians consider the original the "Space Shuttle" of the 15th Century.

There is no replica of the Santa Maria because it didn't turn out to be a very good ship for Columbus, said Senior Captain Morgan Sanger of Nina and Pinta touring ships.

"Columbus named it a dog," Sanger said. "He didn't like it or the sailing quality. It wrecked halfway through the first voyage, and we just didn't want to get involved in a vessel that wasn't sea worthy."

The replica ships began tours in 1992 and have really been growing in popularity over the past 15 years, Sanger said. They travel waterways throughout the country and usually come up the Ohio and stop in Huntington every few years.

This year, they come to Huntington by way of Charleston, and next head to Maysville, Ky.

"It's fascinating for people of all ages," Sanger said. "Over the years, people have realized these are very special ships, and it shows how forefathers and mothers came to find freedom in the new world."

No reservation is necessary to visit these maritime museums. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for students age 5 to 16. Kids age 4 and younger are free.

Teachers and other groups of 15 or more can sign up for a 30-minute guided tour with a crew member. To sign up, call 787-672-2152 and leave a message. Cost for these tours is $5 per person.

To learn more, visit www.thenina.com or email columfnd@surfbvi.com.

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