San Agustín in front of the Castillo San Marco

San Agustín in front of the Castillo de San Marco

We Christened the Chalupa on March 22, 2015 at the Fountain of Youth!

A nimble, utility longboat, known as a chalupa to 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 was especially convenient in the early days of St. Augustine, due to St. Augustine inlet being very shallow with ever-changing sand bars.

The design for this boat comes from a well preserved marine archaeological 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 Archaeological Park.  This first boat is to be finished in time for the 450th Anniversary of St. Augustine in September, 2015.