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New Marina Berth Draws Replica To St. Augustine

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GALEON 052613 005

The 16th century Spanish replica ship El Galeón has extended its stay at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina until June 23.

El Galeón was able to dock at the marina because of its recently completed $2.5 million breakwater, says Harbormaster Sam Adukiewicz.

The new breakwater, which helps to defend the city marina from inclement weather by reducing wave intensity, also allowed for the construction of nine additional slips and two side docks for megayachts, Adukiewicz says. El Galeón is docked at one of megayacht spaces.

The breakwater provides other benefits. The city marina is exposed in the north and northeast, so is sometimes damaged when storms produce strong northerly winds and resulting waves. The extra protection also means that the marina is can rent slips on its previously exposed north side. So far there have been no apparent drawbacks, Adukiewicz says.

The ship first arrived in St. Augustine, Florida, on May 21, and originally planned to have tours aboard it through June 9. Now, the ship will depart two weeks later than planned, and is even considering making the marina its homeport, Adukiewicz says.

Prior to docking at St. Augustine, El Galeón visited ports at places such as Puerto Rico, and could possibly head to New York City in the future, Adukiewicz says. For now, it is helping St. Augustine to kick off its three-year celebration of what will be the city’s 450th anniversary and the state’s 500th anniversary in 2015, he said.

For that, the ship is perfect. It’s a replica of the type of vessel that city founder Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles sailed almost half a millennia ago. The replica is fitted with several different stations across the decks with exhibits and signs explaining what the various parts of the boat were and what they were used for.

The ship is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Augustine Municipal Marina, 111 Avenida Menendez. Tickets for adults are available at the nearby Ripley’s Trolley Stop for $15, and tickets for children from six to 12 for $8. Children five and under get in free.