PANAMA CITY, Fla. - The famous replica of the fishing schooner the 'Columbia' is back after a journey around the Caribbean and New England.
The Columbia and its crew have been away from home since March and arrived in Panama City late Thursday night.
The ship was built in 2014 by Brian D'isernia, a owner of Eastern Shipbuilding, and while the weather challenged the crew on their way back home, Karl Joyner, the captain of the Columbia said she was able to show her true strength.
"There's no where else in North America, in the United States can you go and find a vessel built like this," he said.
In the wake of hurricanes Jose and Maria, the trip home wasn't smooth sailing for the eight full time crew members.
But Joyner said the Columbia proved that she was built to handle the same conditions her original faced.
"Pretty much from Jacksonville all the way around Florida to Panama City, most of the time it was blowing 30 knots and six to 10 foot seas," he said.
"The boat really got the chance to prove herself and show that the design was made to handle that sort of thing."
He said she also proved something for Panama City.
"The things I often get are 'where was the vessel built?' and I'll tell them 'Panama City,' and people will say 'oh, Panama?' 'no, Panama City, Florida, and they don't realize something like this can be built not only in Panama City, but in North America," he said.
Now that she has returned home, the crew will do a little maintenance before returning out to sea in early 2018.
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