As if emerging from a five-century time warp, exact replicas of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria set sail today on a six-month voyage to prepare a planned 1992 re-creation of Columbus' Atlantic crossing.
The 15th-Century royalty sent Columbus off in search of precious metals and spices; Spain's present-day government hopes the new voyage will lure tourist dollars.
Ninety crew members began the voyage to 12 Spanish ports, hoping to follow the exact sailing methods of Columbus and his intrepid men.
All but the commander, a Spanish navy captain, will sleep outdoors, as Columbus' crew did on the voyage to America.
Like Columbus, Capt. Santiago Bolivar will lead from the deck of the Santa Maria, the flagship.