Spanish ship, El Galeon, docks in Charleston for first time

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - El Galeon has been all over the world and now the massive Spanish ship is docked here in Charleston for a short time.

"This the beginning of the history of the United States," said Fernando Viota, manager of El Galeon.

Viota is one of 20 crew members traveling around the world and setting sail to keep history alive.

At 170 feet long, it's a full size replica of the wooden sailing ships used back in the 16th Century.

After Columbus discovered America, galeons like this ere built by the Spanish to bring cargo over for colonization.

"Our main goal is to share all of the maritime history between Spain and the world," said Viota.

Today, this is the only El Galeon replica still on the water.

The Spanish non profit foundation called Nao Victoria built it in 2009.

It's meant to look like its ancient, but has modern day engines and GPS.

Viota says they still prefer to use their sails.

"When we have to set up all of the sails, it takes around three hours, working non stop between 20 crew members and everything is done by hand," said Viota.

Viota says it took El Galeon 24 days to cross the Atlantic.

"We used the same technique as back in the day, we went like 80 percent by sail," said Viota.

When needed, Viota says the ship used the engine, a luxury a galeon in the 16th Century didn't have.

"Back in the day, when they didn't have wind, they had to wait in the middle of the ocean for two days, two weeks or two months," said Viota. "So, they were spending around three months just to cross the Atlantic."

Viota says his crew takes pride in spreading the word about El Galeon's history.

"This is our home, our work and our life," said Viota.

El Galeon will be docked at the Maritime Center until Monday, August 31. It will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., costing $10 per adult and  $5 per kids.

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