‘Spanish globe-trotting ship captures imagination at Maritime fest’

May 30, 2017

WHEELY BIG: Divy and myself take a couple of minutes to stand next to the 108-ft tall Poole Harbour Big Wheel, that from the top had incredible views of Poole Quay, the harbour and Brownsea Island.


CASTING OFF: The sailing, training ship, the Queen Galadriel, heads out to sea after several days moored up on Poole Quay.

LATIN SOUNDS: Jorge and Rod of Afro Tallawah belt out some Cuban-inspired Salsa music which proved too tempting for some not to dance to.


GLOBAL REPLICA: This modern-day version of the NAO Victoria, which circumnavigated the world from Seville, Spain, from 1519-1522, attracted many visitors on Poole Quay during the Seven Seas Festival between 19 and 21 May. This trip re-enacted the trip from 2004 to 2006. Nautical treaties and 15th Century iconography enabled Fernando Vial to accurately produce the ship’s sails, spars and dimensions.

SHIP SHAPE: I’m pictured on board the NAO Victoria looking down into the middle of the ship. The living conditions for the crew for the trip around the world were pretty basic.


SIX months of full-on planning brought to a reality the three-day Poole Maritime Festival that took place on Poole Quay and Baiter Park.

Also known as the Seven Seas Festival,  hosted seven stages, seven bars, seven unique worlds bringing together all different cultures, tastes and sounds and represented a world food, music and culture festival and it was all given for free.

Accompanying me for Sunday afternoon is a friend of mine, Divy, who previously came with me to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. When we got some street food from the Indian Ocean area of the site from a stall manned by some Sikh guys, he was very pleased to see them. Some Tandoori chicken wraps proved a different kind of fast food, and with the culinary originality, it was the real McCoy.

We were also went around to support Jorge and Rod from Afro Tallawah who were playing under a Cuban flag and some natural Salsa dancers proceeded to give a practical demonstration of this unique style of dancing to onlookers.

Joining us for most of that time was Robert from Slovakia and for 45 minutes were listening transfixed to the Caribbean sounds of Legend, a tribute to Bob Marley and The Wailers. They were playing classic Bob Marley tracks like Three Little Birds, One Love and Buffalo Soldier.

For the duration of the three-days and some weeks previously, the 108-ft tall Poole Harbour Big Wheel dominated the skyline and those revellers who took the opportunity to go for a ride saw amazing views of Baiter, the harbour and Brownsea Island.

Previously on the Saturday I visited Poole Quay and I took the opportunity to have a look around hips being used by the Cirdan Sailing Trust and the NAO Victoria, the latter being absolutely fascinating.

The NAO Victoria is a replica of a Spanish-style sixteenth century ship that circumnavigated the world for the first time. It left with a group of four other ships from Seville in 1519 with 150 men, returning three years later in 1522. Only the Victoria came back with 12 sailors.

One of the most famous members of its crew was the Portuguese sailor and explorer Ferdinand Magellan. He had been asked by King Charles I find a westward route to the Spice Islands but never completed the voyage, as he died in the Battle of Mactan in the Phillippines in 1521.

An exhaustive study based on documentary sources, chronicles, Nautical treaties from the 16th Century and iconography of the era, allowed to accurately reproduce the ship’s original dimensions, spars, sails and equipment.

This enabled Fernandez Vial to define the Victoria’s shape and define its characteristics – which are 30 metres long, a beam of 6.72 metres, a depth of 3.32 metres and a weight of 169.76 tonnes.

To commemorate the original Victoria’s global achievement, its replica set off again from Seville in 2004, covering 27,094 miles and stopped off in countries such as the Spice Islands, Indonesia and the Philippines, just as their predecessors did.

Another boat that caught the public’s eye was the Queen Galadriel, a Baltic trader ship, used initially as a motor sailor and then a cargo vessel.  When it retired from being  a trading vessel, it was bought by the Cirdan Sailing Trust in 1983.

The boat, that has a crew of 17, went under a major restructural re-fit to replace the keel, extensive re-planking, installation of watertight bulkheads, a renewal of major systems and the re-design of her accommodation.

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