Friday, October 26, 2012

 Santa Maria Wooden Boat Model

    The Santa Maria was a flagship of the Columbus fleet. It was a merchant ship, between 200-600 tons. The boat's length was 75 feet with a wide beam, 25 feet. This allowed it to carry more people and cargo. She had a deep draft, 6 feet. The vessel had three masts, a mainmast, a foremast, and a mizzenmast. Five sails altogether were attached to these masts. Each mast carried one large sail. The foresail and mainsail were square; the sail on the mizzen was a triangular sail known as a lateen mizzen. The ship had a smaller topsail on the mainmast above the mainsail and on the foremast above the foresail. In addition, the ship carried a small square sail, a spritsail, on the bowsprit. In the diagram above, the spritsail cannot be seen. Each sail was attached to a long wooden pole, a yard, which spread the sail out across the top and held it open. The Santa Maria also had a crow’s nest on the mainmast. It had a raised stern. There was a forecastle in the bow of the ship. Most of the force used to drive this ship came from the largest mainsail. The other sails were used for "trimming." Though many sailors believed that the Santa Maria was a fine ship for her day, Columbus was not so impressed. He did not think it was a ship fit for discovery. Because of the deep draft, the vessel was not suited for sailing near reefs and shallow island waters. In fact, the craft ran aground off Hispaniola and had to be abandoned.