Did you always want to know what sailing in a 15th century galleon felt like? This wonderful and unique experience of long passed times you can live on the ‘Santa Maria’, a replica of the Columbus’ ship, which is cruising daily along Madeira’s beautiful south coast.
Rob Wijntje, a native Dutchman having made Madeira to his and his family’s home, had had this dream of building a full-scale replica of Columbus’ ship for many years. A dream, which finally came true when in July ‘97 he started the construction together with 8 locals in the fishing village Câmara de Lobos.
As no original plans of the ‘Santa Maria’ existed, Rob had to find all his knowledge about this ship from books and pictures and tried to build this replica as close to the original as it was possible under these circumstances. Today’s ‘Santa Maria’ is 22 meters long, has 3 masts, the tallest of which is 16 meters high, and is built entirely of mahogany,
Originally Rob “just wanted to built a boat”, but he never imagined the interest that this project would attract. So, right after it was finished, the ‘Santa Maria’ sailed to Lisbon to represent ‘Madeira Wine’ in the ‘Expo 98’. During 25 days of exhibition it received a total of 97.016 visitors!
Back in Madeira, the ‘Santa Maria’ serves as an excursion boat, cruising twice a day along Madeira’s south coast, or it takes on special charters. For example, in the summer of 2003 it was booked by two TV companies, one from Germany and another one from the U.S.A., for shooting documentaries, which included this magnificent galleon.
During the excursions you will be able to watch a galleon ship crew (who look actually more like pirates… of course friendly ones!) doing their daily routine work while you are enjoying the breathtaking views over the sea and the island of Madeira… and if you're lucky enough you will also get the opportunity to spot dolphins! Free Madeira Wine and honey cake are offered to the passengers during the trip.
The ‘Santa Maria’ offers space for more than 100 passengers, a bar and sanitary facilities. For more information, please address to their kiosk at the Funchal Marina or call (from abroad dial first +351) 291220327 or 291225695.