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Magellan's tall ship drops anchor in Saint Andrews

Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastián Elcano went on a sailing expedition 500 years ago to prove the earth wasn't flat. Now, a replica of their flagship – Nao Trinidad – will visit the Saint Andrews wharf from Oct. 7 to 9.

The four-deck tall ship – with more than 1,200 square feet of visiting area and with four masts – typically draws in 2,000 visitors per day, according to a press release from the Nao Victoria Foundation. The non-profit has been involved in the construction of three historical replica ships, including the Nao Santa María that docked in Saint Andrews in 2019.

Saint Andrews Mayor Brad Henderson said that visit drew a huge crowd to the town, mainly from Saint John and Fredericton.

"It actually shocked us," he said.

"There wasn't a hotel or Airbnb anywhere within 45 minutes that wasn't booked."

While Saint Andrews has already seen a "busy tourism year," Henderson said as the town slows down this time of the year, "having a vessel like this could help keep our restaurants and our shops busy as well."

The process of bringing tall ships to the town has been possible due to Vaughn McIntyre, who has helped the town and Henderson in establishing connections with vessel companies.

"A guy that has vision when it comes to tourism, so a wonderful resource and very nice of him to make the introduction to attract the vessels," Henderson said.

A Charlotte County tourism advocate, McIntyre said he was asked back around 2015 to look at the possibility of drawing cruise ships to Saint Andrews, so the town could augment its wharf during the tourism season. This is when he developed several relationships with the tall ship companies that travelled to various cities.

At that time, many of these ships went to Nova Scotia and required a stop in the middle, he said, so the town marketed Saint Andrews as being a good fit for the ships due to its historical nature.

"It's a beautiful fit with the character of Saint Andrews," McIntyre said.

Trinidad was one of five ships used the Magellan-Elcano expedition between 1519 and 1522, suffering a "huge leak in its hull" up on its unsuccessful attempt to return to Spain, according to the Nao Victoria Foundation press release. It goes on to note that after it was repaired, the Trinidad was almost wrecked in a storm, making the sailors decide to give up and sail back to Moluccas where they were captured by the Portuguese and the ship was abandoned in the water.

Nao Trinidad had been scheduled to visit the Saint Andrews wharf last week, but its visit was postponed due to Hurricane Fiona.

Tickets to tour Nao Trinidad can be purchased at the dock or by visiting naotrinidad.org. The ship will be open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. A portion of all sales will support the town's dog park committee.

Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal