Yorktown marks historic arrival of replica Spanish Galleon

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The El Galeon Andalucia makes port at the Yorktown docks. The schooner the Serenity can be seen in the foreground. (Steve Roberts, Jr./WYDaily)

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In the midst of a warm autumn sunset, hundreds of onlookers witnessed history Wednesday as the El Galeon Andalucia, a replica of a 17th century Spanish Galleon, made its way to the Yorktown Harbor docks. 

 “Even in the off-season it’s good for York County and the surrounding localities,” Yorktown Dockmaster James Scruggs said of the historic arrival of the tall ship.

The El Galeon Andalucia made modern harbor history Wednesday, as it was the first Class A ship to arrive at the Yorktown docks since their construction in 2005, according to Scruggs.

The ship was launched in 2010 and sailed more than 35,00 nautical miles in its first three years, according to a York County news release.

Although the ship traveled the last stretch of the York River without enough wind to unfurl its seven sails and to bring it into port, the hidden diesel engines on the massive ship didn’t seem to perturb the crowd.

Michael Steen of the Watermen’s Museum suggested that tall ships such as the Hermione and the El Galeon Andalucia help support the local economy.

“We’d like to see more tall ships," he said. "In York County, tourism is the big deal.”

The Spanish-flagged exhibition vessel will offer free public deck tours Nov. 3, 4, and 7 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as paid deck tours on Nov. 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tickets will cost $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5-12. Children 4-years-old and younger will be admitted for no charge. Tickets for the paid deck tours can be purchased at the dock.