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Sail the seas as Christopher Columbus did

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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- If you have ever wondered what it would have been like to sail the seas as Christopher Columbus did, now's your chance to find out.

Replicas of Columbus' ships the Nina and Pinta will be docked at Levee Park in Winona until July 24 and the public is invited to take a self-guided tour.  The purpose of the ships is to educate the public about early explorers.

"People say we're pirate ships," said Sarah Vogele, Ship Cook. "We are not pirate ships but it's a good way to start. And it's a hands on educational experience. They get to run around and see all the different parts, hopefully not actually running for safety reasons, they get to explore the ships and really get a feel for what the age of exploration was."

The Pinta is a larger version of the original ship and would have been considered state of the art in the 1400s. The Nina is historically accurate and was built without power tools.

The ships tour for 11 months out of the year and go all over the continent. They sail as much as possible but also have motors for when the winds don't cooperate.

"All over North America," said Vogele. "We do as many river systems as we can handle with draft that we have on these ships. We do the Gulf, up the East Coast, Sometimes do the Texas coast, into the Great Lakes, everywhere we can fit."

"Escape I guess is one of the best things you can do when you board these ships," said Morgan Sanger, a senior captain. "Going back 500 plus years ago and seeing what your forefathers and foremothers had to deal with to find freedom in a new world.

The ships are open for tour every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. No reservations are needed.

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