COCOA BEACH, Fla. (970 WFLA) – The National Air, Sea and Space Foundation will launch the Nao Victoria Experience Tall Ship Event in Tampa on March 21, 2014. 

The city of Tampa will be the second stop on a nationwide tour for the 16th century-era Nao, which will include other visits to seaports throughout Florida and the US. The Tall Ship Event Tour of Florida is part of the 500th Anniversary Viva Florida Celebration that commenced in 2013.  

The original Nao Victoria was one of five ships given to Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan to sail around the world.  Magellan, along with 245 other men, set sail from Spain in 1519. The historic voyage crossed over 32,000 miles, ending three years later with only 18 of the original crew returning on the Nao Victoria.  

Magellan was killed in the Philippines leaving Spanish explorer Juan Sebastian de Elcano to complete the voyage.  From 2004-2006, The Nao Victoria replica retraced some of Magellan’s footsteps while sailing around the world using only 16th century navigation technology.

The Nao Victoria recently arrived in the United States from Spain.  It is an exact replica of Ferdinand Magellan’s history-making ship and will be open to the public for tours.  

The Nao will be docked at The Tampa Convention Center, located at 333 South Franklin Street in downtown Tampa from March 21st through March 30th and will be open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm for public tours. This ship arrived from Ft. Myers and will be making an additional Florida stop in Port Canaveral. 

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Photo Credit 970 WFLA/K. Norman