The Fiesta of Five Flags and Maria Davis, Honorary Vice Consul to Spain, are pleased to announce that the Juan Sebastián de Elcano will visit Pensacola May 27-June 1, 2015. The Juan Sebastián de Elcano is the third largest “Tall Ship” in the world and was launched on March 5, 1927. She is the official training ship for the Royal Spanish Navy and entrusted with the formation and training of the Spanish Naval Midshipmen. Since 1927 the Elcano has sailed more than a million and a half nautical miles through all the seas of the world. Of the 85 cruises she has completed, 10 of them have been around the world. Considered to be a “floating embassy,” her presence in foreign countries and ports contributes considerably to the Spanish foreign policy. Elcano Captain Enrique Torres-Piñeyro of El Ferrol, Galicia, Spain and crew will sail into Pensacola Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 9a.m. to help honor the U.S. citizenship of General Bernardo de Galvez, a Revolutionary War hero who won the Battle of Pensacola 234 years ago in May. Spanish commander Galvez defeated British troops in the Battle of Pensacola on May 9, 1781, reconquering West Florida for Spain and aiding the 13 American colonies in their quest for independence. Each year, Pensacola, which boasts a large population with connections to Spain, celebrates that victory. In December of 2014, the United States Congress conferred honorary citizenship on Galvez, citing him as a hero of the Revolutionary War.
The Juan Sebastián de Elcano has visited Pensacola six other times. The first was in 1959 during Pensacola’s 400th Anniversary. Mrs. Davis, who is also Chairman of the Elcano Committee, was responsible for the Elcano’s return to Pensacola five more times in 1981 for the Galvez Celebration, then again in 1984, 1995, 1998 and 2009 for the 450th Anniversary Celebration.
The ship will be docked at the Port of Pensacola, and free public tours will be offered *Wednesday, May 27 from 3p.m.- 6p.m., *Friday, May 29 and *Saturday, May 30 from 11a.m.–1pm. and 3p.m.– 6p.m. as well as *Sunday, May 31 from 3p.m.-6p.m (tour dates and times subject to change).
*A portion of the Port of Pensacola will now be open to the public on Wednesday, May 27, during the arrival with gates opening at approximately 8:00 a.m. To view from the Port, visitors must enter at Commendencia Street. Boaters are also encouraged to watch from the water. The Elcano is scheduled to come through the Pensacola Pass at approximately 8:00 a.m. arriving at the Port of Pensacola at 9:00 a.m. The gates will close at 10:00 a.m. following the arrival of the ship. Area boaters will be rendezvousing in Pensacola Bay near the pass around 7:30 a.m., and it is suggested to fly the Spanish flag or the Spanish colors of red and gold. Flag etiquette requires that the flag of the United States should always be flown in the position of honor. The United States Coasts Guard wishes to remind all boaters that the Elcano is a commissioned vessel of the Spanish Royal Navy, and, as such, certain precautions must be observed at all times. No vessels will be allowed to approach within 600 feet of the Elcano during her cruise through Pensacola Bay, or while docked at the Port. Boaters are reminded to comply with directions given by any law enforcement agency that accompanies the Elcano through the Pensacola Bay into the Port of Pensacola. An alternate viewing area for visitors is Plaza DeLuna.
*Other public events during the Elcano’s visit include the Fiesta Days Celebration at Seville Quarter on Wednesday, May 27 from 7-10 p.m. ($35/person), a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Galvez Monument at Fort George on Thursday, May 28 at 9:30 a.m., and the Fiesta Boat Parade and DeLuna Landing Ceremony at 3:00 p.m. at Quietwater Boardwalk on Pensacola Beach. For more information regarding the Elcano’sarrival and corresponding activities, please visit www.fiestaoffiveflags.org or call 850.433.6512.
*Serving as committee co-chairpersons are Mrs. Davis and Collier Merrill. Committee members include: Jeri Blankenbeck, Rebecca Boles, Dr. John Brannan, Theresa Brannan, Stacy Brown, Deborah Caldwell, CAPT Mike Denkler, Heather DePew, Joe Gilchrist, Dr. Rick Harper, C. Flack Logan, Michael Long, Adelene Lovelace, CAPT Dan McCort, Alan McMillan, Clark Merritt, Bridget Middleton, Patrick Nichols, Hillary H. Turner, and Cathy Whitney.