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The Nao Trinidad. (Credit: Courtesy

A painstakingly reconstructed replica of one of the five ships from explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition to circumnavigate the globe has docked in Greenport.

The ship’s visit is part of Tall Ships America, a nonprofit program founded in the 1970s to promote sailing instruction and tall ships.

The original Nao Trinidad was the flagship of the famous expedition that set sail from Seville, Spain, in 1519 and included the Nao San Antonio, the Nao Concepcion, the Nao Victoria and the Nao Santiago, with a crew of nearly 300 men across all vessels. “Nao” is a medieval term for ship.

After three years and many calamities — including a failed mutiny and a massacre — only 18 men and one ship returned to Spain, after completing the first documented circumnavigation of the Earth. The journey of roughly 32,000 nautical miles was the first to prove that the globe could be circled by sea.

The five ships were given by Spain’s King Charles I to Magellan, a Portuguese explorer, who set sail with his fleet for the East Indies — and landed in what are now Indonesia’s Maluku Islands, then known as the “Spice Islands.”

The expedition sailed west from Spain, around the southern tip of South America and reached the Philippine islands, establishing a maritime trade route for Europe and linking Asia, Europe and the Americas together for the first time.

Magellan had initially proposed the expedition to King Manuel of Portugal, but was rejected, so he took it to King Charles of Spain, who bought in. Magellan’s decision to work with Spain angered the Portuguese monarch, who sent his own expedition of sailors to the Spice Islands to arrest Magellan for treason.

But the famous explorer was killed in battle in the Philippines in 1521, and the voyage home to Spain was completed by Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian Elcano helming the Nao Victoria.

The Trinidad made it to the Spice Islands in the East Indies, but a huge leak in the hull forced the crew to try to return to Spain for repairs. The Trinidad set out eastward, by the same route it came, with 54 men aboard, but was further damaged in storms. Only 17 members of the crew survived hunger, thirst and scurvy and returned to the Spice Islands. The Portuguese were waiting for them, though, and captured the remaining sailors, abandoning the badly damaged Trinidad to the ocean.

The Trinidad’s modern day replica was constructed over 14 months in 2017 and 2018, according to Marina Quesada, the ship’s project manager, and includes four masts, five sails and five decks, with a main mast that rises 82 feet in the air.

She said that while some modern machinery was used for cutting and sanding the ship’s hull, the master carpenters and shipbuilders who created the replica “used the same traditional methods and the same tools for the rope and sails that were used in the 16th century.”

Ms. Quesada said that this year, the Trinidad has visited the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, Key West and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Wilmington, N.C., before making its way up the coast to Greenport.

She said that the ship can accommodate up to 2,500 visitors a day, and that most are enthralled by going down in the hold — where cargo, including food, wine and animals, was stored. There they watch a video about the construction of the replica ship. 

Ms. Quesada said visitors are also “really amazed by the steering system, but I’ll wait for you to get here to see it for yourself.”

The replica of the Nao Trinidad will be docked at the East Pier of Greenport Harbor until June 25 and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children and $35 for families with up to three children, and can be purchased at