THE FIRST EUROPEAN VESSEL TO REACH AMERICA’S WEST COAST
The San Salvador under the command of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, arrived at the port we now call San Diego on September 28, 1542, before proceeding further north in search of new trade routes that would link Mexico to Asia and Europe. She was the first recorded European vessel to sail along Southern California, and survey its coastline. Her expeditionaries established a generally friendly first contact with the indigenous peoples of that coast. The San Salvador must be considered the founding ship of San Diego and of the State of California. As such she functions as an “origin symbol” ship for San Diego in much the same way as the Mayflower is the origin symbol ship of New England. Her story represents the beginning of a common heritage for the peoples of California, both past and present.
Recognizing the iconic nature of the San Salvador and her profound importance for the history and cultures of the West Coast of North America, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has embarked on an ambitious project – the construction of an historically accurate replica.
The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s construction of the San Salvador is based on painstaking research in the fields of Early Modern Spanish and Portuguese maritime history, and maritime archeology. Experts have scoured volumes of historical narratives, examined all the available images of early-sixteenth-century sailing vessels, and surveyed the remains of contemporary shipwrecks. They believe that the new San Salvador will be a highly accurate representation of the vessel that arrived at San Diego in 1542. To execute this vision, the Maritime Museum has engaged a group of skilled professional boat builders, who are assisted by scores of regular volunteers.
The new San Salvador will function much more than just a static museum display. Home-ported in San Diego, she will also sail along the coast of California, visiting its cities and towns as a floating education platform for California’s school children.
As of September 04, 2015, her first official public unveiling, she has been at the Maritime Museum docks as interior construction and rigging continues. San Salvador is open for dockside viewing during normal museum hours.
Pacific Heritage Tour 2016
Aboard the San Salvador
Adventures at sea, sail aboard San Salvador on one of four exciting ocean going excursions. No sailing experience needed.
- Sacramento To Morro Bay: Oct. 16 -20
- Morro Bay To Santa Barbara: Oct. 24 – 27
- Channel Islands Sail (Santa Barbara To Channel Islands): Oct. 28 -21
- Santa Barbara To San Diego: Nov. 1 – 5
San Salvador paper models.
- Download v1 Advanced Difficulty Level San Salvador paper model. Click here for v1.
- Download v2 Medium Difficulty Level San Salvador paper model. Click here for v2.
v1 is an Advanced Difficulty Level, and v2 is a Medium Difficulty Level.
San Salvador paper models are FREE of charge by the Maritime Museum of San Diego, this model will help teach young and old alike the details of sixteenth-century Spanish galleons. The paper model is made from a series of digital design sheets that are downloaded over the internet and printed out on paper from an ink-jet or color laser printer.
San Salvador posters.
- Available for download, 3 beautifully designed San Salvador posters depicting the design, building, and voyage to California. Click here to download.
- Photographer Jerry Soto’s comprehensive photographic record of San Salvador Construction at Spanish Landing Park. Click Here to view.
- UT San Diego, The Maritime Museum of San Diego’s project to recreate the Spanish galleon San Salvador is making steady progress. Click Here to view.
- Port of San Diego San Salvador Replica Ceremonial Keel Laying. Click Here to view.
- 09-04-2015 – San Salvador replica leads tall ships parade.
FOX News — A full-scale replica of the San Salvador, the ship that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay in 1542, is scheduled to make its first major public appearance Friday when it leads a parade of tall ships to the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Click Here for Video and story.
- 07-29-2015 – Replica San Salvador Ship Christened After 4-Year Construction Project.
NBC SAN DIEGO — After a four-year construction project, the replica ship San Salvador hit water on Wednesday afternoon. Click Here for Video and story.
- 02-21-2013 – San Salvador 60 Percent Complete After Two Years Of Construction.
KPBS SAN DIEGO — Just across from the San Diego airport, a parking lot is celebrating a major milestone: the two-year anniversary of when it was transformed into a 16th century shipyard. Click Here for Video and story.
- 04-18-2012 – Maritime Museum Rebuilds 500-Year-Old Spanish Ship.
KPBS SAN DIEGO — Historically accurate replica of Cabrillo’s San Salvador will sail to celebrate discovery of San Diego. Click Here for Video and story.
- 04-15-2011 – Maritime Museum Building San Salvador Replica.
10 NEWS SAN DIEGO – The keel of a full-scale replica of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s flagship he used in 1542 when he sailed into San Diego Bay was laid Friday at Spanish Landing Park. Click Here for Video.
- 07-07-2011 – San Salvador Replica Ship Under Construction on San Diego Bay.
PORT OF SAN DIEGO – A vital link to San Diego’s maritime history is taking shape at the Port of San Diego’s Spanish Landing Park. Click Here for Video.
- 05-17-2011 – San Salvador Replica construction has begun.
The build-site at Spanish Landing will be open to the public starting June 24th, 2011, where one can observe this historic event. Click Here for Video.
- 04-15-2011 – Port of San Diego, Maritime Museum Celebrate Milestone in Construction of Historic Ship Replica. Click Here to view.
- Webcam is owned and supported by the National Park Service, installation and hosting by HPWREN – Click Here to view.
San Salvador – Cabrillo’s Galleon of Discovery
- Public dockside exterior viewing only, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
- San Salvador Launch Explanation Letter May, 2015
- San Salvador Project Overview
- Launch Statement April 7, 2015
- Discovery Daily Planet San Salvador cannons video.
- Timelapse video of San Salvador construction.