Replicas sail up Penobscot Bay

Columbus’ ‘Nina’ and ‘Pinta’ dock in Camden Harbor

Wed, 06/25/2014 - 12:00pm

    CAMDEN — Columbus’s Nina and Pinta will spend the week in Camden Harbor as a fully functional floating museum. Stationed at the public landing in downtown Camden, the two ships act as an authentic replication of Columbus famous fleet. On board they are set up like floating museums with a crew excited to share their onboard experience.

    Only missing is the Santa Maria, a different style boat that captain Stephen Sanger said Columbus hated because it was so much bigger.

    Sanger said the Nina and Pinta, which draw seven feet and can maneuver tight river ways much more easily, are Portuguese Caravels. They were built in Valenca, Brazil, by eighth-generation Portuguese shipbuilders.

    “The Nina took 20 men 32 months to build and finished up in 1991 in time to celebrate the 500th anniversary [of Columbus’s 1492 discovery of the New World],” said Sanger.

    The Pinta was finished in 2006. The sister ships have been touring together throughout the United States for six years.

    “We travel to about 30 or 40 places on the river systems and waters around the U.S. Then we spend January and February doing maintenance in Alabama,” said Sanger.

    Sanger said the ships are fully functional when downwind and the crew takes advantage of any opportunity to go under sail.

    The vessels are owned by the Columbus Foundation, an organization based in the British Virgin Island.

    The Nina and Pinta have docked in Kittery and Harpswell already. They will spend the week in Camden and leave for Portland on June 30, from where they will head up the Hudson River and into the Great Lakes.

    “Hopefully they leave learning something about these types of ships,” said Sanger.

    The experience is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Boarding fees are $8 for adults, $7.00 for seniors and $6 for students, a price that includes both ships.