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The most famous sailboats in history

a small boat in a large body of water

Navigation is one of the most important means of transport for the development of trade and humanity in general, and today ships are the vehicle by which 90% of the world’s goods travel.

The boat is therefore an inseparable protagonist of the development of civilisations throughout history, and although it all began with the rowboat, for millennia the ultimate in any vessel was the sail.

That is why in this post we are going to review some of the most famous sailboats that have ever sailed the seas of our planet to inspire you if you want to rent one of our sailboats.

The 3 ships of Christopher Columbus

replica of santa maría boat

Replica from 1892 of the Santa María boat – Source: possibly by Edward H. Hart., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

There is not much to say about the three caravels that took Christopher Columbus to America for the first time. The names La Niña, La Pinta and the Santa Maria surely ring in anyone’s head when pronounced as three of the most iconic ships in history (and hated perhaps too, especially by anti-colonisation movements).

Although these three ships are referred to as caravels, only two of them were, as the Santa Maria was a “carraca”, which means a ship for transporting goods.

As a curiosity, a replica of these three ships can be visited at the Muelle de las Carabelas, in Huelva.

The Victoria

Victoria Boat

Replica of the Victoria built for the Expo of 1992. In the picture, in Japan in 2005. Photo by Gnsin, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The Victoria was the first ship to ever circumnavigate the planet, captained by Juan Sebastián Elcano, who was under the orders of Ferdinand Magellan (until his death in 1521).

Of the five ships that set sail in 1519 from San Lúcar de Barrameda, only the Victoria managed to return badly damaged, almost 3 years later, in 1522.

The Victoria disappeared in the Atlantic during a second voyage while returning from Santo Domingo. A replica of the Victoria can be visited in Huelva.

The Beagle

The HMS Beagle

Distribution of the HMS Beagle for her second trip (1832) Photo by R. T. Pritchett, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This list could not miss the ship of one of the most famous scientists in history: Charles Darwin.

The Beagle was an impressive brigantine of some 30 metres in length that circumnavigated the globe on several occasions, and it was during the second expedition that embarked Charles Darwin.

It was during this voyage, which lasted 4 years and 9 months, that Darwin developed one of the scientific theories that changed the way we saw nature until then.

The A

A Yatch

The A doing some test near Kiel (Germany) – KarleHorn & Waldi, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

This minimalist name was given to what is now the largest sail-assisted yacht in the world.

It is a 142-metre giant launched in 2015 at the Kiel shipyard (Germany); it was designed by Phillipe Starck at the expense of Andrey Melnichenko, its owner. In 2017 it could be seen sailing along the coasts of Ibiza and Formentera.

The Southern Cross

a large white boat sitting next to a body of water

Finally, this is not one of the most famous sailboats in the world, but we love it because it is the only historic sailboat you can rent in Barcelona and one of the largest and most beautiful sailboats you will find here or in the rest of Spain: the Southern Cross.

Its value lies in the fact that it was built at the request of the English royal family in 1962 with a multitude of details and with the finest materials of the time.

It is now in Barcelona and can be rented for your most demanding events.