Monday, January 11, 2016

The Many Faces of the Santa Maria

Since 1885, there have been a number of studies that have attempted to show the appearance of Columbus' initial flagship, the "Santa Maria". This is an attempt to compile a basic catalog of many of them. It is by no means complete, but hopefully shows the different thinking of many of the researchers. Only three of the designs presented herein were ever built as "accurate" full sized replicas. A number of them were strictly model studies.
Dimensions are in Imperial and metric (in parenthesis). Some dimensions are estimated, and noted as such. No tonnages are given.

1. Monleon (I), 1885 -
Watercolor painting only. The ship in the center is the "Santa Maria". This is an early work by Rafael Monleon, and was actually part of a series of works depicting the history of the ship. It has been covered separately on this site. While not a true study per se, it should be considered the first serious attempt at an accurate reconstruction.

2. Monleon (II), 1892 -
Beam - 25.78' (7.86m), Keel - 64.3' (19.6m), Between perpendiculars (PP) - 77.8' (23.72m)

3. D'Albertis, 1892 - 
Beam - 27.55' (8.4m), Keel - 62.34' (19m), PP - 86.6' (26.3m)

4. Duro/Spanish Commission, 1892 -
Beam - 25.72' (7.84m), Keel - 60.7' (18.5m), PP - 74.15' (22.6m)

5 Guillen Tato, 1927 -
Beam - 24.6' (7.5m), Keel - 61.35' (18.7m), PP - 84.32' (25.7m)

6. McCann, 1927 -
(Estimated) Beam - 23' (7m), Keel - 58' (17.67m), PP - 70' (21.33m)

7. Anderson, 1930 -
Beam - 26.9' (8.2m), Keel - 54.13' (16.5m), PP - 81' (24.7m)

8. Landström (I), 1961 -
Beam - 26' (7.92m), Keel - 55.5' (16.92m), PP - 78.5' (23.93m)

9. Martinez-Hidalgo, 1963 -
Beam - 26' (7.92m), Keel - 51.84' (15.8m), PP - 77.43' (23.6m)

10. Landström (II), 1966 -
Beam - 28' (8.53m), Keel - 56' (17.06m), PP - 82' (25m)

11. Timofeyev - Моделист конструктор, 1973 -
(Estimated) Beam - 25.6' (7.8m), Keel - 62.33' (19m), PP - 78.74' (24m)

12. Serrano, 1991 -
Beam - 18.86' (5.75m), Keel - 41' (12.5m), PP - 65' (19.8m)

13. Zu Mondfeld, 1991 -
No data available. Included here because of its unique appearance, especially in the stern quarters. Certainly a fascinating design.

14. Vazquez - Coin Cuenca, 2012 -
Beam - 19.69' (6m), Keel (est.) - 65.6' (20m), PP (est.) - 78.74' (24m)

Notes -
Monleon (II) data from his two part article "Las Carabelas de Colón" (1892), however drawings were found in "Christoph Columb - Vu Par Un Marin" by J.B. Charcot, 1928, pages 63-64.
D'Albertis drawing from "Le Construzioni Navali e L'Arte Della Navigacione al Tempo C. Colombo", 1892-1894, page 101 (via Google), with additional data from "Columbus' Ships" by Jose Maria Martinez-Hidalgo, 1966.
Duro/Spanish Commission drawing from "La Nao 'Santa Maria' Memoria de la Comisión Arquelógica Ejecutiva", Rafael Monleon et al, 1892, with additional data from "Columbus' Ships".
E. Armitage McCann drawing from a series of articles on building the model in Popular Science Magazine, December 1927 - February 1928, (via Google)
Julio F. Guillen Tato drawing and data from "Columbus' Ships", page 16.
R.C. Anderson data from "Columbus' Ships", however drawing (by Victor Lazzaro) from Time-Life "Great Ages of Man" volume "Age of Exploration", pages 83, 88 & 89.
Björn Landström (I) from "The Ship", 1961, page 103.
Jose Maria Martinez-Hidalgo drawing and data from "Columbus' Ships", page 50.
Björn Landström (II) from "Columbus", 1966, pages 46, 47, & 50.
B. Timofeyev - Моделист конструктор drawing their May, 1973 issue, pages 30 & 31.
Juan Luis Rubio Serrano drawing from "Arquitecture De Los Naos y Galeones De La Flota De Indies", 1991, pages 198 & 200.
Wolfram zu Mondfeld drawing from personal files. No other data at this time.
J.M. Lopez Vazquez & Luis M. Coin Cuenca drawing and data from "Reconstrucciones de la Nao Santa María". Also covered previously on this site.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Dear Sir:
    Im the author of the Nao Sta. Maria, version 2012. Its been quite a good surprise finding me here.
    For your information, the particulars of the ship are:
    Keel lenght: 14m
    Waterline lenght:17.637m
    LOA: 21m
    BOA: 6.4m

    Regards .....

    1. Dear Juan, I'm desperately looking for your article but cannot find it anywhere; is it still available for download somewhere? Regards

  3. Juan, Thank you for this timely update. I am planning to build a version of the Santa Maria in the next year.

    And Robert, Terrific work as always.Thanks again for all you do here and on the various Forums.

    P.S. The radio still worked in my "Santa Maria". I'm thinking I should have left it in and just locked the controls to 1 channel... LOL.

    Nino at FSM

  4. I located a site that seems to have similar references to the ones you've shown here. There may be a few more of interest. Take a look at:,%20planos%20modelismo%20naval,modellismo%20navale%20piani,model%20schiff%20bauplane.%20parte%20p-s/Santa%20Maria/

    Could be it is a re-hash of info you've already provided but Maybe it can add to the "Faces" of the Santa Maria.