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Replicas of historic ships, Nina and Pinta, sail into Huntington

Brandon Hatton | The Parthenon

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012 02:11


Brandon Hatton | The Parthenon

Replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships, the Nina and Pinta, sailed into Harris Riverfront Park on Wednesday.

The Nina and Pinta docked in Huntington on Wednesday at Holderby’s Landing in Harris Riverfront Park.

The Pinta built in 2002 took 20 men 36 months to construct. The ships are both assembled by hand tools just like Columbus’s original ship. It is 50 percent bigger than the original Pinta. The ship is larger than the original ship to allow more deck space for visitors. The ship also host private excursions in the Caribbean. The replica of the Pinta is the size of the original Santa Maria. The Santa Maria used as a cargo ship and least favorite to Columbus.

The Nina, built in 1988 is the most historically accurate replica. The replica matches the size of the original ship. It took 20 men 32 months to construct it. The Nina occupies the Pinta on all voyages. The ships constructed in a shipyard in Brazil is one of the few places still able to construct this style. The shipyard uses the same techniques used over 500 years.

Life abroad the the ship is comfortable than the ships in the 1400s. In the Columbus days the crew would sleep on the deck rather than below deck. Below deck was commonly used for cargo and livestock while traveling to the new world. Today the ships offer the crew air conditioned cabins and room for entertainment.

The ships not only relies on wind power on the open sea, but also diesel motors to navigate on rivers where there is a lack of wind. The ships are up to date on 21st century navigation, but they also cherish the sense of originality.

The ships travel the Great Loop which starts in the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, Eastern U.S., Florida and finally back to the Gulf.

Stephen Sanger, Captain of the Nina and Pinta, said the most difficulty they face on the rivers is thick fog.

“We have modern radar GPS, but they are not always accurate, so we have to be careful,” Sanger said. “We all live in close quarters and it can be very difficult to get along with everyone at times.”

There are no plans for the construction of the Santa Maria. The ship was used mainly for cargo transportation and consists of a huge haul. The Santa Maria would use twice as much water on the route that the Nina and Pinta travel.

Marshall students and the Huntington community can view the ships at the riverfront until Monday. They are scheduled to depart Huntington early Tuesday morning.

Joshua Prince can be contacted at

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