Day sails on Columbus replica launched in Grand Cayman

Two attractions, one new and one reopening, have joined the lineup in Grand Cayman.

A replica of the sailing ship Santa Clara, also known as Nina II, follows the footsteps of the Nina, the replica of one of Christopher Columbus’ original fleet of three sailing ships (the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria) used in the explorer’s discoveries of America and the Caribbean region in the 1490s.

The Santa Clara now cruises the waters of Grand Cayman’s North Sound and is a 115-foot replica of the original three-masted Nina sailing ship used by Columbus in his voyages. It is now docked at Safehaven at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, behind the resort. A variety of tours are offered, including day sails, sunset cruises and private charters.

The replicas of the Nina, which calls at U.S. ports, and the Santa Clara, were built in Brazil. Although the Santa Clara is rigged and sailed as ships were more than 500 years ago, it has modern amenities, including cushioned bench seating for 100 passengers. Below decks features an air-conditioned main galley, a salon with flat screen TVs, a souvenir shop and separate restrooms for men and women.

The Santa Clara also offers an inflatable tender and a modern dive boat, used to transfer passengers to and from the docking area.

Rates for day sails start at $45 for adults, $23 for children 12 and younger. Passengers can learn the ropes and sailing techniques of 15th century ships, take the helm, set the sails and sunbathe on the poop deck. For schedules, visit www.thenina.com.

Reopening within the next two months will be the Rum Point Restaurant at the Rum Point Club on Grand Cayman's North Side. The popular attraction closed last November when Hyatt’s management contract for the facility expired. The restaurant will be a dinner-only attraction when it opens on a limited basis, according to Adrien Briggs of Rum Point Investment, which took over the facility.

The facility was badly damaged during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and is still being renovated, Briggs said. The restaurant plans to offer Caribbean cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Gay Nagle Myers at [email protected].

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