People walking the docks of Greenport Harbor were treated to an unexpected surprise Wednesday morning when the first of six Tall Ships heading here for the holiday weekend arrived a day ahead of schedule.
The Kalmar Nyckel, a replica of the flagship in the 1638 expedition to found the first European settlement in the Delaware Valley, made its way into Greenport Harbor before noon Wednesday.
“This is our first visit to Greenport and we’re very excited to be here,” said Captain Lauren Morgan. “We’re also very excited to be with the other Tall Ships and are especially looking forward to sharing a dock with the Hermione.”
The ship, which is used as a floating classroom, teaching students about Delaware’s rich maritime history, will be on display for all four days of the 2015 Greenport Tall Ships Challenge, which begins this Fourth of July.
The Kalmar Nyckel, which means the Key to Kalmar, a Swedish city, can be found at Mitchell Park Marine, where it will dock between the A.J. Meerwald and the Hermione during the festival.
As the ship came into port Wednesday, a young girl could be overheard excitedly shouting, “It’s a real life pirate ship!”
A deckhand said the crew did full sail about seven knots to arrive early, much to the surprise of visitors to the village.
“We just got here and we’re so excited to check it out,” said Rene Costello of Malverne. “It’s a beautifully refurbished ship.”
Fellow Nassau County resident Tracey Ross said it’s “great to see the Tall Ships here in Greenport.”
The original Kalmar Nyckel was a new type of gun-armed merchant vessel called a Dutch Pinnace that was built in Amsterdam in 1625. It later served as an auxiliary warship in the Swedish Navy, before being decommissioned in 1651.
No definitive records exist, but the original vessel is believed to have been sunk while serving as an escort vessel for the Dutch in a war against the English in 1652.