Juan Sebastian de Elcano arrives today.

The pride of the Spanish navy and one of the largest and most graceful of the sail training ships in service, today sails in to Palma. The topsail schooner Juan Sebastian de Elcano, on which King Juan Carlos and Prince Felipe of Spain completed their naval training, was built in 1927 and named after Magellan's navigator, a Spaniard who carried on and completed the first voyage of circumnavigation after Magellan was killed in the Philippines, returning to Spain in September of 1522. Built in Cadiz, each of Juan Sebastian de Elcano's four masts were named in honour of four previous sail training vessels, Bianca, Almansa, Asturias and Nautilus. The spectacular steel-hulled sailing ship's overall length is 305 feet and is one of the most popular tall ships in the world. With a crew of 180, she has circumnavigated the world on a number of occasions and all Spanish navy cadets spend part of their fourth year on board the training ship. All of the cadets are trained “as if to sail in the 18th century” using chronometers, sextant and nautical almanac. Cadets also learn how to use GPS (global positioning systems). But the emphasis on their time aboard “is to learn the very important art of navigation and to be an authentic seaman.”


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