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16th century replica ships return to St. Augustine

El Galeon 060713 (Lorena Inclan)
El Galeón may soon become a fixture in St. Augustine. City leaders and the NAO Victoria Foundation are working to make St. Augustine the ship's home port. (Lorena Inclan)
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Updated: 12/23/2013 1:57 pm

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A replica of the ship that carried Ferdinand Magellan has sailed back into the historic city. The Nao Victoria arrived today at thE St. Augustine Municipal marina in the St. Augustine historic district. It's sister ship, El Galeón will follow just after the new year. This will be the first time the two ships have ever docked in the port in North America.

The Nao Victoria is a replica of the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world commanded by Ferdinand Magellan in the 16th century. It is smaller than El Galeón, at just over 85 feet.

El Galeón is a 170-foot authentic ship was built just three years ago, but has already sailed through Europe, Asia and North America where it now sits in the marina at St. Augustine. This is a familiar destination for a Galeón ship, which brought Pedro Menendez Avilez to dry land in 1564.

Troops defeated the French to take the land, and probably had a little help from a hidden treasure below the deck. It's an artillery room, now filled with 12 replica canons, used to defend themselves while out at sea from the pirates looking to steal their cargo. The strategic planning was discussed in the Noble Room. It's also known as forbidden territory.

One piece of authenticity that visitors might find intriguing is the steering, which is exactly what was used on the Galeón centuries ago.

El Galeón will return to St. Augustine's Municipal Marina Jan. 6 .

Both ships will remain in St. Augustine through the end of January and will be open for public tours. A two-ship ticket is $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased on board the ship.

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