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Volunteers raise the Nina - KRISTV.com | Continuous News Coverage | Corpus Christi

Volunteers raise the Nina

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CORPUS CHRISTI -

After four days and plenty of trial and error, volunteers finally raised the Nina Monday.

“If feels good, we did it,” said Taylor Hecht, a diver who helped in raising the ship.

The president of the Columbus Sailing Association knew the ship wouldn’t stay down.

“It was wonderful,” said Kim Mrazek. “ I never doubted it, I knew she could come up, I knew she was stable, I knew she was well built.”

The Nina is an exact replica of one Columbus' caravel ships, built of wood from the same forest as her namesake.  The ship sank in late August following Hurricane Harvey.  Her wood construction created plenty of challenges in bringing the Nina up, and keeping her afloat.

“(We) made a plan, followed the plan, changed the plan when we needed to,” said Hecht.  “It leaks everywhere.  We sealed the entire thing almost with plastic underwater, built up the hatches.  It was difficult, even with all the stuff we did, it's still leaking everywhere.”

The Nina will stay moored at the Corpus Christi Marina until she’s towed to Mile 533 Marine Ways in Aransas Pass for repairs.  That trip won't happen until January at the earliest.  In the meantime, the ship needs plenty of work which can be done in the Marina.

“We've got a lot of cleanup to do,” said Mrazek.

Cleanup will be hard work, but for volunteers passionate about keeping a piece of history alive, worth it.

“She's the last of her kind, there are no others,” said Mrazek.  “She is the only caravel replica in the northern hemisphere. She's a survivor and she should be here to tell her stories.”

Raising the Nina was phase one of a five phase plan to get her back in shape.  The Columbus Sailing Association hopes to raise $100,000 to complete the repairs.

Anyone wanting to donate their time or money can contact Mrazek at (361) 779-7997.

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