Ocean City Today

Spanish tall ship Andalucia to return to resort in August

Vessel to dock at bayside Boardwalk between Second and Third streets during stay
By Katie Tabeling | Jul 06, 2017
Photo by: File Photo El Galeón Andalucia, a 170-foot-tall 50-ton replica of a Spanish galleon will arrive in Ocean City waters on Aug. 10. The vessel was moored here in 2013 and 2014.

(July 7, 2017) A replica Spanish galleon will be sailing back into Ocean City this August, now that local government’s special event staff has settled final details with the ship’s owner.

The City Council agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Nao Victorian Foundation to bring El Galeón Andalucia, a 170-foot-long tall ship, back to the resort, where it will offer tours and special receptions from Aug. 11-27. The vessel will tie up next to the bayside boardwalk between Second and Third streets.

Special Events Superintendent Frank Miller said that this event would be a stepping stone to future special events with the foundation.

“The foundation is building a replica of the Santa Maria, one of the ships sailed by Christopher Columbus, and it should be ready by next year,” he said “This event is a step toward getting the Santa Maria. If we nurture this relationship, maybe we’ll be an early stop when the Santa Maria is ready to tour.”

The memorandum of understanding details that the city should receive $2 for every adult ticket sold and $1 for every child ticket. Tickets will be sold at $12 and $6 for adults and children, respectively. In addition, Ocean City will receive 30 percent from any receptions held on the ship.

Miller said that water depth in the inlet channel was a concern of the ship’s operators, since the Andalucia draws about 10 and a half feet of water that in an area that reaches 11 feet at high tide.

“This year, the water depth survey came back favorable,” Miller said. “Tow Boat U.S. is confident we can get the vessel through at high tide.”

Based on attendance and expense reports from the Andalucia’s 2014 visit to Ocean City, Miller estimates that the resort would see $16,000 in revenue.

Projected expenses, including marketing promotion, manpower needed to bring the ship in, lost parking revenue and fuel costs, could be around $21,000. Fuel would be the costliest item, at $9,000.

Miller pointed out that new metered parking near the Third Street park and the new Second Street look would help cushion the $3,432 loss for parking.

However, the council had issues with the $9,000 fuel cost, even though that estimate was based on 2014 gas prices. Councilman John Gehrig sought to increase the resort’s profit share to offset the costs.

“As long as we’re breaking even, it’s a nice event for our residents and visitors. I’m not sure we should be paying to refuel them to go home. They’re making money from this,” Gehrig said. “We’re either going to account for our expenses every time or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways.”

He made a motion adjust the town’s ticket share to 17 percent, but it died for a lack of second.

Councilman Wayne Hartman said the ship’s arrival would be another great addition to Ocean City.

“This is a family event, it’s what Ocean City should be all about,” he said. “I’d like them to commit to having another ship coming back next year. We should be working with them so we’re out in front of having another tall ship visit.”

Since Ocean City is handling the ship’s marketing, Councilman Dennis Dare offered a compromise: funding the fuel up to $9,000 to top off fuel.

“As long it doesn’t exceed our break-even point for the event. That way, we don’t have the possibility of losing money, but we do have the possibility of earning money if we market it well,” Dare said.

The council agreed to that compromise, and voted unanimously to sign the agreement.

El Galeón Andalucia will be arriving on Aug. 10, and will sail in through the Route 50 bridge between 11 a.m. and noon. Tours will start the following day, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Guided tours will also be available.

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