Spanish training ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano

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Elcano Pontevedra.
Elcano in Pontevedra
NameJuan Sebastian de Elcano
NamesakeJuan Sebastián Elcano
OperatorSpanish Navy
Ordered17 April 1925
BuilderEchevarrieta y Larrinaga yard, Cadiz, Spain
Cost8,189,532,28 pesetas[1](49,220)[2]
Launched5 March 1927
CommissionedAugust, 1928
Maiden voyage19 April 1928
HomeportCadiz, Spain
Notestraining ship
BadgeCoat of Arms of Juan Sebastián Elcano A-71.svg
General characteristics
Displacement3673 tons
Length113 m (371 ft)
Beam13.11 m (43.0 ft)
Height48.5 m (159 ft)
Draft7 m (23 ft)
Sail planfour-masted barquentine; 21 sails, total sail area of 2,870 m2 (30,900 sq ft)[3]
  • max 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph) engine
  • 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph) sail
Complement300 sailors, 90 midshipmen
Armament2 × 57 mm ceremonial gun mounts
NotesLine art of Juan Sebastián de Elcano
Line art of Juan Sebastián de Elcano

Juan Sebastián de Elcano is a training ship of the Spanish Navy. It is a four-masted topsail, steel-hulled barquentine (schooner barque). At 113 metres (371 ft) long, it is the third-largest tall ship in the world, and is the sailing vessel that has sailed the furthest, covering more than 2,000,000 nautical miles (3,700,000 km; 2,300,000 mi) in its lifetime.

It is named after Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano, captain of Ferdinand Magellan's last exploratory fleet and the man who completed the first circumnavigation of the world. The ship carries the Elcano coat of arms, which was granted to the family by Emperor Charles I following Elcano's return in 1522 from Magellan's global expedition. The coat of arms is a globe with the motto "Primus Circumdedisti Me" (meaning: "First to circumnavigate me").

Build and design[edit]

Juan Sebastián de Elcano was built in 1927 in Cadiz, Spain, and its hull was designed by the naval architect Mr C E Nicholson of Camper and Nicholsons Ltd of Southampton. Constructed by Echevarrieta y Larrinaga shipyard[4] in Cadiz. After the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in April 1931 the ship became part of the Spanish Republican Navy.

In 1933 under Commander Salvador Moreno Fernández's order, a series of improvements were made to the ship and the bronze plate with the Latin language inscription Tu Primus Circumdedisti Me was placed near the prow. At the time of the coup of July 1936 Juan Sebastián de Elcano was in Ferrol, a harbor that had been taken by the Nationalist faction. Its plans were used twenty-five years later to construct its Chilean sail training vessel sister ship Esmeralda in 1952–1954.

Maiden voyage[edit]

It conducted sea trials between April and July that year from Cádiz to Málaga, with King Alfonso XIII on board as a passenger, and then on to Sevilla, Las Palmas, Tenerife, San Sebastián, Cádiz, São Vicente, Cape Verde, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Suva, San Francisco, California, Balboa, Panama, Havana, New York City, Cádiz.[5]

Naval Commanders of Juan Sebastián Elcano[edit]

Commanders that have been in charge of Juan Sebastián Elcano for crossings and instruction.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Juan Sebastián Elcano" -
  2. ^ History summary of the ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano
  3. ^ Technical details Archived 2010-11-25 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Sailing Ship Rigs and Rigging, H A Underhill, p.50
  5. ^ History summary of the ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano
  6. ^ Relación de Comandantes de J. S. de Elcano en sus cruceros de instrucción|autor. Ministerio de Defensa|fechaacceso