Replicas of Columbus' ships visit Wilmington

The replica of the Pinta. (Source: WECT)
The replica of the Pinta. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The replicas of two of Christopher Columbus' famous ships arrived in Wilmington Wednesday afternoon.

The Nina and the Pinta are docked at Port City Marina, located at 10 Harnett Street, and will open to the public on Thursday, May 11. The ships will depart on May 21.

On WECT News First at Four, we heard from one of the ship's captains.

The Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Trust (WHET) is the non-profit organization that helped organize the visit. The group is made up of property owners, business interests and boating enthusiasts, who promote development and recreational activities along the Cape Fear River in Wilmington.

The Nina is an exact replica and was built completely by hand without the use of power tools. The ship was constructed in Brazil and completed in 1991.

The Pinta is 14 feet longer and eight feet wider than its namesake. It was also constructed in Brazil and finished in 2005.

Both ships are considered caravels, which are small, lightweight ships developed in Portugal in the 15th century to explore the western coast of Africa and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Columbus Foundation said the boats sail together as a new and enhanced "sailing museum" for the purpose of educating the public about the ships which were used to discover the new world in 1492.

Officials with the organization said they haven't built a replica of the Santa Maria because it was a different class of ship known as a "Nao," which is considerably larger than caravel class ships. A Santa Maria replica would require deeper waters and wouldn't be able to travel to some places the Nina and Pinta visit.

Tickets for the Nina and Pinta are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $6 for students between 5 and 16 years old. Children 4 and under are free. The ships will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. No reservations are necessary.

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