Friday, August 7, 2015

And Yet, Another "Santa Maria"

Whilst doing my daily Internet dig for obscure, possibly forgotten maritime historical data, I stumble upon this -


The designer is none other than Professor Luis M. Coín Cuenca, the person who designed this replica of the caravel "Niña". Here is his "Santa Maria" - 
The Newest Santa Maria, courtesy Cadiz Capitana del Mar
 I like the sail plan and the sheer. While the sheer may seem excessive, it would not be entirely unexpected for ships from this period, based upon the art and the model of the "Mataro Nao". However, this elevation view is a bit deceptive. It does not appear to be built on the traditional 1:2:3 formula (with 1 being the beam, 2 being the keel length, 2 x beam, and 3 being length between the perpendiculars, 3 x beam). This appears to be an effort to improve the sea keeping capabilities of the small ship. Based upon the information gleaned from the page, it appears as though they took inspiration from Diego Garcia del Palacio's 1587 work "Instrucción Náutica". 
In short, his interpretation of the "Santa Maria" is rather narrow in beam. 
Understandably, Prof. Coín Cuenca had his reasons for making this startling new design, but this seems, to me at least, the wrong way to go about it. Ship design changed vastly in the intervening years between 1492 and 1587. While I believe that his version of the nao will probably be a lot more seaworthy, certainly better at sailing the Atlantic, it seems to me to have more in common with the later galleons, and less with the 15th century stock from which it originated. 
Unfortunately, at this time I do not have access to his research to see the reasons. There was a conference held in Cadiz in 2012 where this was discussed at length, and sadly the author could not attend. I do hope to find more information about this version of the "Santa Maria", and you may expect that I will share it here. 

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