Spanish ship Juan Sebastián Elcano (1927)

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For the US Navy ship captured from the Spanish Navy, see USS Elcano (PG-38).
Elcano en Pensacola, 2009
Elcano in Pensacola, 2009
Career (Spain)
Name: Juan Sebastian Elcano
Namesake: Juan Sebastián Elcano
Operator: Spanish Navy
Laid down: 1927
Notes: training ship
General characteristics
Displacement: 3673 tons
Length: 113 m (371 ft)
Beam: 13.11 m (43 ft)
Height: 48.5 m (159 ft)
Draft: 7 m (23 ft)
Sail plan: four-masted barquentine; 21 sails, total sail area of 2,870 m² (30,892 sq. ft.)[1]
Speed: max 13 knots engine, 17.5 knots sail
Complement: 300 sailors, 90 midshipmen
Armament: 2 × 57 mm ceremonial gun mounts

Juan Sebastián de Elcano is a training ship for the Royal Spanish Navy. She is a four-masted topsail, steel-hulled schooner. At 113 metres (370 feet) long, she is the third-largest tall ship in the world, and is the sailboat that has covered more nautical miles in History: more than 2,000,000.

She is named after Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano, captain of Ferdinand Magellan's last exploratory fleet and the man to lead the first circumnavigation of the world. The ship also carries the de 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 terraqueous globe with the motto "Primus Circumdedisti Me" (meaning: "First to circumnavigate me").

Juan Sebastián de Elcano was built in 1927 in Cadiz, Spain, and her hull was designed by the naval architect Mr C E Nicholson of Camper and Nicholsons Ltd of Southhampton. Constructed by Echevarrieta y Larrinaga[2] shipyard in Cadiz. After the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in April 1931 it 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 Circundedisti Me was placed near the prow. At the time of the coup of July 1936 it was at Ferrol, a harbor that had been taken by the Nationalist faction. Her plans were used twenty-five years later to construct her Chilean sail training vessel sister ship Esmeralda in 1952-1954.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Technical details
  2. ^ Sailing Ship Rigs and Rigging, H A Underhill,Pg50