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Replicas Of Columbus's Ships Moor In Pittsburgh For Columbus Day History Lesson

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The Nina, the Pinta, but not the Santa Maria, are now in Pittsburgh for Columbus Day.

You remember them: "In fourteen hundred, ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue."

It was pretty extraordinary and very risky at the time.

"On that first voyage, they were lucky not to lose any men," Capt. Stephen Sanger told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Friday. "After the Santa Maria sunk, they left 40 men behind, but on that first voyage, they all made it back to Spain successfully."

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

The Nina was the flagship for Columbus, and replicas of it and the Pinta are now moored at Station Square and open for visitors until they depart Oct. 10.

The Nina is a near exact replica built in Brazil using the tools of the 1400s, says Sanger.

"The Nina is considered the most historically accurate replica ever built, mainly because she was constructed without the use of any electricity, using the exact same hand tools and methods that were used back 500 years ago when the originals were built," he said.

It's hard to imagine Christopher Columbus and his crew crossing the Atlantic on a vessel so small. It's only 64-feet long by about 16-feet across. That's half the size of the Mayflower.

The Pinta is a little bigger, and both vessels spend 11 months of the year traversing the American coastline and the Caribbean.

So how did they get here?

"We were in the Gulf of Mexico touring, and we came up to Tom Bigbee Waterway passing Mobile, Alabama, and then you take a 450 mile river up to the Tennessee River. You take the Tennessee River a couple hundred miles to the Ohio River and then you take the Ohio River all the way up to the source of the river in Pittsburgh," outlined Sanger.

Unlike the originals, this Nina and Pinta have auxiliary diesel engines.

That's good news for us.

"Columbus, obviously, never trekked this far up the rivers."

While they're at Station Square, for a small fee, you can tour the boats 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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