A nimble, utility longboat, known as a chalupa in the Spanish of the 16th Century, was an essential craft of the early Spanish explorers and settlers. It allowed them to off-load larger ships, crossing the sandbars at the mouths of inlets, to explore shallow creeks, and land soldiers, arms, and equipment ashore.
The design for this boat comes from a well preserved marine archeological find in Red Bay, Canada [link]. This contemporary era craft was used by Basque whalers, as a pursuit long boat and gives an idea of the speed with which it could be rowed by its crew.
While a smaller, open deck rowing boat, it could be equipped with sails and was seaworthy for long coastal and even open sea travel. Built with 10 oars, a rudder, and two masts, this versatile craft is the first building project of our replica boat yard on waterfront at the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park. This first boat is to be finished in time for the commemoration of the discovery and claiming of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon in 2013.
The keel of the chalupa has been further worked and shaped into its final form. The stems have been dowelled together and the rib stations have been marked.