San Salvador flagship

San Salvador Flagship

San Salvador flagship

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San Salvador was Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo's flagship. It was 100-foot full-rigged galleon with 10-foot draft and capacity of 200 tons. It carried officers, crew, slaves and a priest.


San Salvador together with La Victoria, the second Cabrillo's ship, were the first two ships to anchor at Santa Catalina Island, California October 7, 1542. The two ships were not square-rigged galleons commonly used for crossing vast expanses of open ocean. Rather, they were built in Navidad, Mexico, especially for exploration along the coast. Navidad is some 20 miles northwest from Manzanillo, Colima, today almost forgotten.

The requirements of building exploration-ships was the ability to sail with ease into small harbors. The ships were rigged with triangular sails supported by swept booms. This sail arrangement, a forerunner to the sails found on modern-day sloops, ketches and yawls, made the craft more agile and gave them the ability to point higher into the wind than square riggers. Entering harbors and coves would have been much easier with these craft as compared to square riggers.

San Salvador replica construction. Started Spring 2011 in San Diego, California

The Maritime Museum of San Diego is building a full-sized, fully functional, and historically...
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