(March 21, 2014) If the necessary dredging can be accomplished in time, the city has secured two tall ships for a month-long stay in the resort this summer.
The National Air, Sea, and Space Foundation, the non-profit group run by OC Air Show promoter Bryan Lilley, plans to bring back last year’s attraction as well as its sister vessel.
“The NASSF has put in an application to bring back the galleon and its sister ship,” said city Special Events Director Frank Miller. “The goal is to have the in town at the same time. Right now we’re looking at August 1 through September 1, with some piggyback events as well – possibly a pirate festival on one of the weekends.”
The visit would depend in depth conditions in the channel running beneath the Route 50 Bridge, which provides access for ships berthing at the city’s bayside boardwalk on Chicago Avenue between Second and Fourth Streets.
Although one vessel cleared the sandbars last year, conditions may change, Miller said. The preference would be to have contractors from the Army Corps of Engineers, who are already doing dredging in the area, clear a path.
“It’s an ongoing conversation,” Miller said.
This past August, the resort welcomed El Galeon Andalucia, a fully-functional replica of a 16th-century galleon owned and operated by the Spanish non-profit Nao Victoria Foundation. Such vessels from the golden age of sail are often referred to as “tall ships,” and are major tourist attractions wherever they dock.
Not only would the galleon return this summer, but it would also be accompanied by the foundation’s namesake vessel. The ship is named after the original Victoria, the carrack used by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition to circumnavigate the globe in 1521, and is a perfect replica of it.
Critically, unlike the Andalucia, the Nao Victoria is an exact copy of the original’s wooden hull, without any fiberglass or modern materials. This means that, despite being physically smaller than the galleon, the Nao Victoria sits just as deep in the water due to the added hull weight.