This ship, replica of the original, is open to the public, and a place to eat and drink in interesting surroundings. Seating areas are surrounded by tableaux showing life aboard in the 1700s, which was fairly comfortable for officers, but brutal for the serving men. There are some excellent oil paintings and display cases which also add ‘flavour’ to the visit.
For naval buffs, the details of the original vessel are fascinating. It was launched from the Havana naval yard in 1769, after two years construction and a cost of 40,000 gold ducats (about £3 million). At that time, it was the largest and most heavily armored warship afloat, almost twice the size of Nelson’s flagship, the Victory.
- 63 metres long (208 feet)
- 17 metres width (55 feet)
- 8 metres tall (excluding the masts of course)
- 4950 tons in weight, and housing 140 cannons on four decks
- Crewed by 1160 men
The between-decks are high enough to allow the gunners to stand upright – something the men on the Victory couldn’t do. It was the Spanish flagship in the American War of Independence, supporting the US colonies against Britain. It fought successfully in several campaigns, but its demise came in the battle of Trafalgar under the command of the wonderfully named Baltasar Hidalgo Cisneros. It was severely damaged in the battle, with 200 sailors killed and more than 100 injured. It was finally captured by the British who elected to haul it to their port in Gibraltar. The great ship succumbed to its own injuries and sank 25 miles south of Cadiz, where all attempts to salvage it failed. However, most of the artillery pieces were brought up and displayed in Caraca’s naval dockyard in Cadiz.
The replica in Alicante Marina gives a real feel for the original ship – with its huge size, spaciousness, the quality of the wood panelling and interiors. The large state rooms in the stern offered Officers and Masters accommodation, meeting facilities and areas for their leisure and dining.
Puerto de Alicante, Muelle 4, 03001 Alacant, Spain. Get direction