NEWBURYPORT — The Custom House Maritime Museum will play host to a tall ship for the first time in four years when Nao Trinidad pulls into the docks at high tide on June 29.

Jack Santos, a member of the Custom House’s board of directors, said the museum is thrilled to announce the tall ship’s visit.

“We’re really looking forward to this,” he said.

Nao Trinidad, based out of Seville, Spain, is a replica of the flagship from the Magellan-Elcano expedition, which sailed between 1519 and 1522. Considered the greatest maritime feat in history, the Magellan-Elcano expedition was the first to circumnavigate the globe.

The Custom House hosted its first Spanish tall ship, El Galeon, in 2016. The American tall ships Alabama and Adventure visited the waterfront in 2017 and Nao Santa Maria came to Newburyport as a replica of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria in 2019.

Nao Santa Maria has since been renamed Nao Trinidad, and Santos said the 200-ton ship has been completely refitted with new exhibits to reflect the Magellan flagship.

“The ship is spectacular and this is an organization we have worked closely with before,” he said. “They will have exhibits onboard and tours that emphasize that round-the-world trip.”

The Fourth of July is typically a slow day in Newburyport, so Santos said the Custom House wants to bring some life to the holiday.

“We want to change the impression of the Fourth of July around here and this should spice things up,” he said.

City residents will still need to wait until Yankee Homecoming to see fireworks on the waterfront. Santos said the Custom House does not want to compete with Yankee Homecoming’s Super Saturday when the fuses are traditionally lit.

“We don’t have any plans for fireworks,” Santos said. “And, even though a lot of Newburyport residents leave town that week, it is a perfect week to bring in a lot of outsiders, which is a large part of the intent of bringing a tall ship into town. We want to get all of these people in from the North Shore, southern New Hampshire and Boston, which does not have a tall ship event this year.”

Educational tours of the ship will be available for youth groups and summer camps during the day, and private parties can be booked for adults in the evenings. The tall ship will also be open for public tours throughout the Fourth of July weekend and the week after since Nao Trinidad is not expected to leave the city until July 10.

Tickets for the ship tours and events are expected to go on sale in April.

“We’re really trying to place an emphasis on educational events for students and children,” Santos said.

The arrival of Nao Trinidad will mark the return of the Custom House’s Newburyport Maritime Days, which celebrate the history of trade in the city.

Former City Councilor Bob Cronin, the general chairman of Newburyport Maritime Days, said he hopes to put a flotilla together to greet Nao Trinidad when the tall ship arrives June 29.

“We’d really like to have some of the larger, public boats in the area like The Captain’s Lady and Yankee Clipper Harbor Tours available to the public to board and welcome the tall ship when she comes in on the high tide, just before the long weekend,” he said.

Cronin said he is busy making preparations to welcome Nao Trinidad and is excited to see it arrive.

“It’s coming together and everyone is pushing to make this the very best experience for visitors to come to Newburyport,” he said.

Mayor Sean Reardon said in a text message that City Hall has already been working with the Custom House and he is looking forward to the ship’s arrival.

“We’re thrilled they are bringing another tall ship back to our historic seaport,” he said. “I think the 4th of July is a perfect time for it.”

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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