Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum; Nao TRINIDAD Tall Ship passes a good time

Published 8:26 am Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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RESERVE—This past weekend the Nao TRINIDAD Tall Ship left Baton Rouge and passed through the River Parishes on its voyage down the Mississippi River.

The ship was hosted by the USS KIDD Veterans Museum and was open for public tours from during the month of March.

The Nao TRINIDAD is a Spanish-built replica of the 16th-Century flagship of the Magellan-Elcano expedition, the first to sail around the world.  The original was the flagship of the Armada del Maluco (1519-1522), captained by Ferdinand Magellan. Five Naos (a ship that combined the design elements of both Mediterranean and Northern European-style ships) departed from Sevilla, but only two made it to the Spice Islands, Nao TRINIDAD was one of them.  The replica Nao TRINDAD’s visit to America celebrates 500 years since the world’s first circumnavigation of the globe.

Completed after 14 months of construction on March 11, 2018, the replica Nao TRINIDAD weighs 200 gross tons, is 93ft in length with a 26ft beam.  Her three masts carry five sails, with the mainmast being more than 82 feet high.  Her hull contains five decks and was constructed of  tropical Iroko (African hardwood) and pinewood. Nao TRINIDAD has sailed to many different ports in the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic coasts of both Europe and America as a training vessel and floating museum.

The Naos have a unique and original design that made them the most advanced in naval engineering of that time, used first as cargo ships in Spain and then as exploring vessels. Nao TRINIDAD is a full-scale replica, faithful to the original’s design and dimensions. More than a hundred maritime artisans worked on her construction, including ship carpenters, rope masters and naval engineers.

Nao TRINIDAD was built and is managed by the Nao Victoria (NV) Foundation, a non-profit entity that focuses on sharing their maritime heritage, supporting the recovery, construction and promotion of historical ships, and interaction with the public through worldwide sailing tours. The NV Foundation combines historical accuracy with modern techniques in shipbuilding to deliver a safe and accurate living history experience.


More to be seen and learned


The USS KIDD Veterans Museum opened a new permanent exhibit inside the Museum building this month.  Entitled, “Pirates! The Story Behind the Pirate of the Pacific”, the exhibit is directed toward pirate enthusiasts of all ages and highlights the role that pirates have played in the USS KIDD’s history.

The exhibit is housed within a full-scale replica of a 18th-Century pirate ship’s gun deck. As visitors walk through the deck, they will learn the story of Captain William Kidd, described by historians as “America’s most ruthless buccaneer”.  But was he actually a pirate or a pirate hunter?  Facts are put up against fictional assumptions about pirates…how true are the public’s assumptions about pirates?  As the story continues, visitors will learn how the fictional portrayal of Captain Kidd, popularized by Hollywood in the 1940s, inspired the World War 2 crew of the newly commissioned USS KIDD (DD-661) to adopt a pirate identity.  Pirate artifacts from the USS KIDD (DD-661) and her namesakes, USS KIDD (DDG-993) and the currently-serving USS KIDD (DDG-100) will demonstrate the pirate legacy that has been passed down from the 1940s to today.

The last story to be told before exiting the exhibit will be that of Jean Lefitte, “Louisiana’s Pirate.”  Visitors will learn about Lafitte’s role in shaping New Orleans and southern Louisiana into what both are today.

New signage on the north face of the Museum building highlights USS KIDD’s legacy as the “Pirate of the Pacific.”  The new exhibit was designed to tell the story behind that claim.  Both southbound traffic on River Road and attendees to the Raising Cane’s River Center will now see the familiar skull-and-crossbones pirate emblem inviting them to pay a visit.

The USS KIDD Veterans Museum is open daily. Admission is charged. Visit the website at usskidd.com or call 225-342-1942 for more information.