Historical Research

In order to draw the shapes and define the main characteristics of the ship that wrote the brightest page in maritime history, the ship’s designer and builder, Ignacio Fernández Vial, assisted by the historian Guadalupe Fernández Morente, carried out a lengthy historical research project that entailed the careful analysis of hundreds of written documents, drawings, and archaeological artefacts. Those that yielded useful information are listed below:

  • 164 documents referring to the Magellan expedition on file at the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, the Archivo de Protocolos in Seville, the Simancas Archives, and the Torre do Tombo Archive in Portugal
  • 126 drawings and engravings of Spanish ships
  • 22 notary records
  • 6 chronicles written by crewmembers of the expedition
  • 8 chronicles written by historians of the Indies in the 16th and 17th centuries
  • 18 Spanish and Portuguese sailing and shipbuilding treaties from the 16th and 17th centuries: Escalante de Mendoza (1575), García Palacio (1587), Alonso de Chaves (1520- 1538), Cristóbal Barros (1570), Thome Cano (1611), Manoel Fernández (1616), José de Veitia (1672), and so on.
  • 3 sunken ships.

There are not plans of the original Nao Victoria, so it design was the result of many hours of searching, analysing and studying the sources and materials. The investigation made it possible to define the forms, main characteristics and construction details of the original Victoria of Juan Sebastián de Elcano, that is, the hull, its displacement and forms, its gauge, dimensions, masts and yards, standing and running rigging, sails, whipstaff and bottom sheathing, its equipment and the construction methods and materials that were used to build it.

Materials used to build the Nao Victoria

Structural elements: oak /Planking: pine / Rudder: oak / Masts and spars: pine / Running rigging: hemp rope / Rope: esparto / Sails: hemp sailcloth / Block and tackles: holm oak and olive wood / Anchors: iron / Iron fittings: iron / Nails and spikes: iron / Caulking: tow / Treatment of the wood: tar, pitch, and lard / Bottom lining: lead / Fixed ballast: stone and mortar / Moveable ballast: small stone