Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Caravel for St. Augustine

Not quite sure how I missed this, but apparently there is a caravel being built in St. Augustine. "Built", really, is not the term, but converted. In this case, they are taking the last wooden shrimper built in St. Augustine, the Apple Jack, and converting it into a caravela redonda, similar to the Santa Clara, though stepping only three masts. She will also carry a top sail, trapezoidal in shape, typical for the period.
This isn't such a bad idea, really. I had dreams of doing something similar myself, due to the fact that, at least above the waterline, a shrimper looks quite a bit like what we expect a caravel should have looked like. I do worry, though, about the sail plan she'll carry, and really hope that plenty of thought has gone into that, as there are other "caravels" afloat that, if not laughable, are hysterically wrong in appearance. 
Based upon one of the images, though, it appears as though some serious consideration has been made to the hull and the masts rake, as well as "detail" above the waterline.

Image credit Rhonda Parker,

There are some things I could quibble with, such as the length of the quarterdeck and the shape of the bow (should be rounder), but overall I think this is an interesting project. Why Florida, and especially St. Augustine, have never had a permanent Spanish ship from this era has always puzzled me. At least the Espiritu is a start, and hopefully will do us proud.

The story in pictures - 
Applejack to 'Espiritu': Spanish Caravel will ready for upcoming celebrations

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