We are lucky and our elite modelers friends too. You already know that we have manufactured a new edition of a very famous Spanish ship of the line: the so-called ‘Trafalgar 1805’. Let’s get to know, then, the relevant history of Santa Ana vessel in order to have a better perspective of what this great ship was like before assembling its splendid model ship in wood at 1:84 scale.
HISTORY OF SANTA ANA VESSEL: DIMENSIONS
The Santa Ana was a Spanish ship of the line equipped with 112 cannons that was part of the glorious Spanish Armada. Of course, in the Battle of Trafalgar it was armed with 104 cannons and 32 howitzers, but… What were its measures? It had a length of 213.4 feet and a beam of 58 feet, in addition to a total weight of more than two tons. To build it, the plans of the Navy engineer José Romero Fernández de Landa were taken as an example. This, in turn, was based on how another ship of the line was created: the Purísima Concepción. In this case, the one who would direct the construction of the Santa Ana would be Miguel de la Puente, using the aforementioned guidelines, with the engineers Sánchez Bort and Tomás Muñoz.
The beautiful Santa Ana sailboat was erected as one of the pioneering ships with three decks called ‘Meregildos’. In this very special group of ships, there were also another seven that were born later as Príncipe de Asturias, Mejicano, Reina María Luisa, Conde de Regla, Salvador del Mundo, Real Carlos and San Hermenegildo. All were built based on the Santa Ana by Royal Order of 1786.
HISTORY OF SANTA ANA VESSEL: FEATURES
Its characteristics? Huge decks, great maneuverability, a strong military muscle thanks to its numerous cannons and a great resistance capacity against the attacks of the sea and enemies. It carried three masts with square sails and two or three artillery decks. It even had lightning rods and metal chains! If one fell, the system channeled the electrical discharge to the sea.
The history of the Santa Ana vessel shows it as one of the best. He created a new way of fighting in those times that would be essential for the Navy. The different ships lined up one behind the other to create an artillery front that fired at the same time. Although the Santa Ana was launched in 1784, even years later it still underwent some improvements.
The Santa Ana and her naval brothers became the best warships on the European continent. It was a ‘sea monster’. Their crew? 745 sailors on its three decks, as a warship. When a conflict broke out, it was increased to 1,050. And, in the Battle of Trafalgar, it was up to 1,102. Of course, the largest of the ships of the line would finally be Nuestra Señora de la Santísima Trinidad, called ‘El Escorial de los Mares’.
INITIAL MARITIME JOURNEYS OF THE SHIP OF THE LINE
The history of the Santa Ana vessel begins in 1785 with Commander Félix de Tejada at the helm to make its first voyage, its first test. The maritime route began in El Ferrol and ended in Cádiz. He realizes that, even though it is very resistant in the worst navigation conditions, certain improvements must be made to the rigging and he opens the third La Carraca breakwater a year later.
In July 1797, the ship of the line Santa Ana begins to forge its legend. Admiral Jervis and Rear Admiral Nelson of the British Royal Navy attempt to storm Cádiz. And that is where sixteen gunboats are positioned between Rota, La Caleta (gate of Seville) and Sancti Petri, and an additional fifteen at the mouth of the port. Thus, they support the warship and reject the English under the orders of José de Mazarredo. Of course, the blockade and the British presence is repeated more times.
In February 1798, the Santa Ana resumed its maritime voyage with Mazarredo’s squadron. Twenty-two ships, five frigates and three brigantines to pursue the British fleet, made up of only 9 ships and several frigates. This withdrew towards San Vicente, while the Spanish squadron, failing to catch up with them, entered Cádiz again on the 13th. Jervis appeared four days later with twenty-two ships and six frigates to resume the blockade.
HISTORY OF SANTA ANA VESSEL: FIRST SETBACKS
Commander Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros took command in July 1799, aided by Lieutenant General Grandallana, campaigning in the Mediterranean and the Gulf of Cadiz. However, anecdotally, he was stranded shortly after starting his journey towards Brest together with the French fleet.
What happens then? That the Spanish warship is forced to return to the port of the Andalusian city to disarm and repair itself. A great setback for Spain for which Hidalgo de Cisneros is tried in court martial, although he is totally acquitted at the end of the process. Just before the Battle of Trafalgar, in which we will deepen in the next post, the history of the ship Santa Ana joins the captaincy of Alcalá Galiano between 1803 and 1804.
In the meantime, you can read more about the Santa Ana Line Ship Wooden Model (22905-N) and you can order it at this other link. Be amazed by its beauty and go ahead and build it!