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Replica Spanish galleon is pictured by's Stephen Kent at the 2016 Tall Ships Celebration.

EL GALEON REPRISE: Spanish Replica Ship Documentary Airs Again Sunday

March 12, 2017       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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If at first, you didn't watch this amazing program from Tall Ships Bay City 2016, there is another chance upcoming that you don't want to miss.

The much-acclaimed documentary "Sailing Into the Past: Travels Aboard El Galeón Andalucia," by Delta College TV's Bob Przybylski, narrated by Eric Jylha, will air the second time Sunday, March 12 at 7 p.m. on WDCQ-TV.

The first showing, Thursday, March 9, was introduced Feb. 21 by O.J. Cunningham of

"The documentary takes you aboard El Galeón Andalucía, the replica 16th-century Spanish galleon that took part in the Tall Ships Challenge tour of the Great Lakes during the summer (which included Bay City as one of the port city stops) on July 14­ 16, 2016.

"The 170 foot El Galeón Andalucía is the only Spanish Galleon style ship sailing the world today. Galleon­style ships were used to discover and then establish trade routes between Spain, America and the Philippines islands between the 16th and 18th centuries, and formed what was then called the "Fleet of the Indies".

For three centuries, Spanish galleons crossed back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean, sailed around the Caribbean Sea and the American coasts, and also covered the Pacific route as well. Built by the Nao Victoria Foundation in 2009, El Galeón Andalucía came to the United States from Seville, Spain in 2013 to celebrate Florida' s 500th birthday and has been traveling around the country ever since.

In 2007, while taking a seminar in Irish history and storytelling on Clare Island, County Mayo, I asked a local if ships came often to secluded Clew Bay, the body of water adjacent to the island:

"No, not often," he said, scratching his head, adding: "Well, of course, there was the Spanish."

The Clare Island local was referring to the Spanish Armada, that entered Clew Bay in 1588 while attacking England.

Well, in a way, the Spanish entered Saginaw Bay near Bay City, Michigan, in the summer of 2016, when the replica 16th Century Spanish ship El Galeón Andalucia was part of Bay City's heralded Tall Ships Celebration.

Delta College TV videographer Bob Przybylski and volunteer Eric Jylha, a well-known local history presenter and tour guide, were aboard -- hard a work documenting the voyage of the ship from Fairport, Ohio, on Lake Erie, to Bay City.

If you didn't catch the broadcast Thursday night, you have another chance Sunday night at 7 p.m. on Delta College's WDCQ.

Why is a replica Spanish galleon of so much interest even today? Because of its importance in world history.

By way of background, the Spanish Armada was comprised of 122 ships, the British history website ( on Queen Elizabeth observes:

"As early as 1585, Philip had begun to prepare a great fleet that, under the Spanish commander Santa Cruz, would invade England. At first, the aim of the Armada was to liberate the captive Queen of Scots, but when Mary was executed -- for conspiring Elizabeth's death in 1587 -- Philip planned to invade England in the name of his daughter, the Infanta Isabella.

"Philip believed he had a genuine claim to the English throne, both by descent from John of Gaunt and as Queen Mary I's husband. The purpose of the mission was to depose Elizabeth, put Mary/Isabella on the throne, and make England Roman Catholic once again."

The English fleet under Sir Francis Drake was awaiting the Spanish attack, the history site reports: "In the English channel, the Spanish were suffering a humiliating defeat. The weather was dreadful, with the wind and rain against them, and they were not able to compete with the superior English ships and war tactics. They fled in terror when fire ships were aimed at them. The only way back to Spain was the perilous journey around the coast of Scotland, and many a Spaniard never saw his home country again. The battle was over, the English had won."

It was the beginning of English maritime superiority that continued virtually unchecked until World War II when challenged by Japan and Germany and bolstered by the massive U.S. Navy.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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