Ship replica

Ship replica

A ship replica is a reconstruction of a no longer existing ship. Replicas can range from authentically reconstructed, fully seaworthy ships, to ships of modern construction that give an impression of a historic vessel. Some replicas may not even be seaworthy, but built for other educational or entertainment purposes.

The term "replica" in this context does not normally include scale models. The term museum ship is used for an old ship that has been preserved and converted into a museum open to the public.

A ship replica may also be a generic replica, one that represents a certain type of ship rather than a particular historic example, like the Kamper Kogge, replicating the Cogs that were used extensively in Northern Europe by the Hanseatic League in the Middle Ages, but where there is little knowledge of specific ships.

Reasons to build a replica include historic research into shipbuilding, national pride, exposition at a museum or entertainment (e.g., for a TV series), and/or education programs for the unemployed. For example, see the project to build a replica of the Continental brigantine Andrew Doria. Apart from building a genuine replica of the ship, sometimes the construction materials, tools and methods can also copied from the ships' original era, as is the case with the replica of the Batavia in Lelystad and the replica of ship of the line De Delft in Rotterdam (Delfshaven).

Some generic type replicas such as Thor Heyerdahl's Ra II, qualify as true replicas as these ships were built to investigate the craft and or culture of the original era. That they do not replicate a specific vessel is mainly because no details of such a specific vessel are available.

Some other ships that are modeled after ships of a certain type or era (and are in that sense replicas) do not quality as true replicas. Some ships maybe borderline cases such as the Kanrin Maru, which is actually twice the size of the original, but built following the plans of the original.

Replicas can be temporary, cheap and very simple, such as the replica of a Viking ship that was burnt at the Leixlip Festival.

Notable historic type ships that are not replicas include:

  • Mircea, which is an almost exact copy of the Gorch Fock. The Mircea was built as a copy because the Gorch Fock was a very successful ship. Thus Mircea was not built as a replica per se, but as a copy for other reasons (i.e. to perform economically, in this case as a training vessel).
  • Stad Amsterdam also is not a true replica as this is a generic clipper type ship combining the best qualities of clippers of the past with modern materials and technologies.
  • USS Constitution (1795) is strictly speaking not a replica but the original vessel. However, every part of the ship, except the keel, has been replaced over time. This is a modern version of the philosopher's dilemma concerning replica versus original; known as the Ship of Theseus dilemma.

Another ambiguous case subject to the Ship of Theseus dilemma is the US Brig Niagara. The original was sunk in 1820 for preservation, and the ship has been rebuilt three times since. The third reconstruction was considerably more extensive, and the only parts from the original which were retained are non-structural, leading many authorities to classify her as a replica, rather than a reconstructed original.

Notable ship replicas

Some sailing ship replicas with their home port; and key information of the original (many articles are about the original ship):

Europe, Middle East, Australia, America

Ship name Type Current porta Current affiliation Country Original affiliation Original built Notable for End Remark
Ra II Reed boat Oslo, Norway Bygdøy maritime museum
app. 4000BC
Ancient Egypt merchant. Heyerdahl crossed Atlantic in it
app. 2000BC
Class replica
ULUBURUN II Merchant Bodrum, Turkey Bodrum Underwater Archaeological Museum
app. 14th century BC
Late Bronze Age merchant
sank app. 1316-1305 BC
Oldest known merchant shipwreck.
Olympias Trireme Faliro, Greece dama
app. 700BC
Main warship of ancient Greece
app. 400BC
Class replica
Kyrenia II Merchant ?
app. 4th century BC
Merchant ship of ancient Greece
sank app. 288BC
Lisa von Lübeck

Caravel Lübeck, Germany
app. 1200
Main medieval merchant
app. 1500
Class replica
Kamper Kogge

Hanseatic cog Kampen, the Netherlands
app. 1200
Main medieval merchant
app. 1500
Class replica
Santa María Carrack 1)Palos de la Frontera, Spain 2)Columbus, Ohio, US 3)Edmonton, Canada 4)Funchal, Portugal
app. 1490
Columbus 1492 squadron
ran aground 1492
Several replicas, all based on conjectures
Pinta Caravel 1)Palos de la Frontera, Spain 2)Bayona, Spain
app. 1490
Columbus 1492 squadron
Several replicas, all based on conjectures
Niña Caravel 1)Palos de la Frontera, Spain 2)Grand Cayman, UK
app. 1490
Columbus 1492 squadron
Several replicas, all based on conjectures
Matthew Bristol, UK
app. 1495
John Cabot's ship to America in 1497
Victoria Carrack Seville, Spain
app. 1515
Only survivor of Magellan's 1519-1522 travel Achieved to survive the circumnavigation of the globe again in 2006.
Real Galley Barcelona, Spain
app. 1570
Flagship of Don John of Austria in the Battle of Lepanto
Golden Hinde Tudor London, UK
app. 1575
1577-1580 circumnavigation
Duyfken East Indies Explorer Perth, Australia
discovery of Australia 1606
irreparable damage 1608
Discovery Barque Jamestown, USA
first UK settlement, 1607
Godspeed Brigantine Jamestown, USA
app 1605
first UK settlement, 1607
Susan Constant Merchant Jamestown, USA
app 1605
first UK settlement, 1607
Halve Maen Maine to Virginia Explorer Albany, USA
app 1608
original explorer of what is now called the Hudson River, Henry Hudson, 1609
Mayflower II Merchant Plymouth, USA
app 1607?
Pilgrim ship 1620
dismantled 1623?
Kalmar Nyckel Dutch Pinnace 280 tonne ship rigged Kalmar Nyckel Foundation, USA
Founded New Sweden colony at Fort Christina (Wilmington, Delaware, USA)
late 17th century
Charters, Daysails, Appearances
Batavia East Indies Merchant Lelystad, The Netherlands
mutiny 1629
wrecked 1629
Prins Willem East Indies Merchant Den Helder, the Netherlands
sank 1662
Nonsuch Merchant Winnipeg, Canada Manitoba Museum
First trading in Hudson Bay 1668-69
sank 1662
De Zeven Provinciën Ship of the Line (80 guns) Lelystad, the Netherlands
Flagship of Michiel de Ruyter
decommissioned 1694
Under construction
Götheborg East Indies Merchant Gothenburg, Sweden Globetrotter
app. 1740
sank 1745
Sail training vessel (volunteers)
Amsterdam East Indies Merchant Amsterdam, the Netherlands Scheepvaart Museum
grounded 1749
Lady Washington Brig Aberdeen, USA
Private Owner
app 1750
first US merchant to reach Japan
foundered 1798
Jacobstads Wapen Galleon Jakobstad, Finland
app. 1750
Surprise/Rose Frigate San Diego, USA San Diego Maritime Museum
1776 attack New York. Master and Commander
scuttled 1779
Renamed Surprise after movie
HMS Sultana Schooner Chestertown, USA
US colony coast patrol auctioned 1772
Endeavour Bark Sydney, Australia
Captain Cook's ship
Santísima Trinidad Ship of the line (144 guns) Málaga, Spain
battles of Cape St Vincente & Trafalgar
sank 1805
De Delft Ship of the Line (54-60 guns) Rotterdam, the Netherlands Scheepswerf 'De Delft'
Battle of Camperdown
sank 1797
Under Construction
Bounty Bark Sydney, Australia
Mutiny 1789
burned 1790
Grand Turk Frigate Middlesex, UK
app. 1790
Generic Nelson age war ship replica
used in Hornblower
Lady Nelson Brig Tasmania, Australia
Explored Australian coastline 1825 capture by pirates
Lynx Schooner Newport Beach, USA
app 1810
UK blockade running privateer
Pride of Baltimore II Topsail Schooner Baltimore, USA
app 1812
UK blockade running privateer Type replica
Niagara Brig Erie, Pennsylvania, USA Erie Maritime Museum
Battle of Lake Erie Sunk for preservation 1820, rebuilt three times since Sail training vessel and museum
Amistad Schooner New Haven, USA
private owner
app 1825
Involved in Slave trading incident 1839 unknown after 1844
Enterprize Schooner Melbourne, Australia
Transported European settlers to Melbourne
William the Fourth Steam Paddle Wheeler Newcastle, NSW, Australia Newcastle City Council
25 px
Ocean going steam powered side paddlewheeler
Replica of Australian built ship
Pilgrim Brig Dana Point, USA
Private owner
1834 novel by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
burned at sea 1856
Used in Amistad movie
Dunbrody Barque New Ross, Ireland
Private owner
Famine Ship
Grounded 1875, Labrador
A Famine History Museum
Jeanie Johnston Barque Dublin, Ireland
Private owner
Famine Ship
Sail Training vessel, a Famine History Museum and a Corporate Entertainment venue
Californian Schooner San Diego, USA
patrolled Californian coast app. 1850 based on C.W. Lawrence
Bluenose II Schooner Lunenburg, Canada
Winning Racing Schooner
grounded 1946
Fundraising for Bluenose III
a If more than one replica is made the home port of the different current ports are given in a numbered list


  • SS Bandırma; Turkish passenger cargo vessel
  • Kanrin Maru; Minami Awaji harbour, Japan; a double-size replica of a Japanese warship
  • Namihaya; Osaka Maritime Museum, Japan; 5th Century Japanese ship replica
  • San Juan Bautista; Ishinomaki, Japan; a Japanese warship
  • Turtle ship; a generic replica of a Korean ship
  • Michinoku Maru; Michinoku Traditional Wooden Boat Museum, Japan; 18th century Japanese trade ship (Kitamae Bune) replica


  • Bounty; two replicas of this ship have been built for films about the famous mutiny.
  • Hokule'a; Honolulu, Hawaii; an ancient Hawaiian vessel.
  • Makali'i; Kawaihae, Hawaii; an ancient Hawaiian vessel.
  • Alingano Maisu; Kawaihae, Hawaii; an ancient Hawaiian vessel.
  • Hokualakai; Hilo, Hawaii; an ancient Hawaiian vessel.
  • Iosepa; Honolulu, Hawaii; an ancient Hawaiian vessel.
  • Hawaiiloa; Honolulu, Hawaii; an ancient Hawaiian vessel.
  • Te Aurere; Auckland, New Zealand; an ancient Maori vessel.
  • Aotearoa One; Auckland, New Zealand; an ancient Maori vessel.
  • Te Au O Tonga; Rarotonga, Cook Islands; an ancient Polynesian vessel.
  • Takitumu; Rarotonga, Cook Islands; an ancient Polynesian vessel.
  • Tahiti Nui; Tahiti, French Polynesia; an ancient Polynesian vessel, formerly named "Hawaiki Nui".

Other vessels

  • Ictineu II; Barcelona, Spain; a replica of the first mechanically powered steam driven submarine.
  • The Hjortspring Boat is replica of a Danish Iron Age rowing boat.

At the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde, replicas of Viking ships are built.

See also


External links

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