Bristol to host replica of Magellan flagship that circled the globe

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 8/3/23

The Nao Trinidad, the flagship of the Magellan-Elcano expedition, led the first circumnavigation of the world from 1519 to 1522, and its replica is visiting Bristol from Aug. 3-13.

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Bristol to host replica of Magellan flagship that circled the globe


The Nao Trinidad, the flagship of the Magellan-Elcano expedition, led the first circumnavigation of the world from 1519 to 1522, the greatest maritime feat in history. The expedition opened new routes and connected continents and oceans from Brazil to Argentina, the Mariana Islands, the Philippine Islands, Indonesia, Brunei and Timor.

And now, its replica is coming to Bristol, arriving Thursday, Aug. 3 and staying until Sunday, Aug. 13.

It set sail from Seville, Spain on Aug. 10, 1519, at the head of a fleet of five ships which crossed the Atlantic, sailed along the coast of South America, discovered the Strait of Magellan and crossed the Pacific Ocean for the first time in history. They eventually reached the Mariana Islands, the Philippines and the Moluccas.

A man by the name of Antonio Pigafetta served as the main chronicler of the expedition. Throughout the entire journey he wrote a detailed account, including a magnificent description of the geography, nature, and the indigenous peoples who they met around the planet.

After more than two years at sea and thousands of nautical miles, the Trinidad sprang a leak in its hull, preventing its return to Spain with the expedition’s only other surviving ship, the Victoria. The latter did make it home to complete the circumnavigation just months later.

Following repairs, the Nao Trinidad attempted to return to Spain with 54 men on board, but was defeated by weather, hunger, thirst and scurvy. It returned to the Moluccas after six months of suffering and fighting against the sea, with just 17 survivors. There, the Portuguese were waiting for them; they captured the crew and abandoned the battered ship, where it vanished from history.

A project of the Nao Victoria Foundation, a non-profit entity specializing in promoting and spreading historical events supported by the construction of historical ships, the Nao Trinidad was replicated in 2017-2018 with attention to historical detail. Just as with original, the replica of the Trinidad has three masts and a bowsprit. The height of the main mast is almost 82 feet from the waterline. Iroko wood, a tropical wood of great durability, was used in the construction. The build took about 14 months, and the Nao Trinidad was launched on March 11, 2018. Its home port is Huelva, Spain.

The 93-foot, 200-ton vessel includes more than 1200 square feet of deck space over four decks, a captain’s cabin and other accommodation. It can hold 100 people for special events and hosts 2,000 visitors a day.

According to Harbormaster Gregg Marsili, the Nao Trinidad hoped to make Bristol a stop on their 2022 schedule, but it didn’t work out. He’s excited they are going to be able to make it this year, and that the boat will still be in town for the Bristol Harborfest event on Aug. 12. “It’s going to be great,” he said.

The Nao Trinidad will be open for tours from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. for the duration of its stay. To purchase tickets visit

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