Maritime Museum Of San Diego Star Of India Sails Veteran’s Day Weekend
World’s Oldest Active Sailing Ship Waterfront Festivities November 11 and 12, 2023
SAN DIEGO, CA – Maritime Museum of San Diego, the 501c3 non-profit waterfront Museum which enjoys an international reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels will sail the world’s oldest active sailing ship Star of India November 11 and 12, 2023. Seasoned and newly trained sail crew are ready for the once-in-a-lifetime experience paused due to the pandemic, and after five years since the last time Star of India sailed November 17 and 18, 2018. Plans call for a San Diego Bay and at sea parade of the Museum fleet, including historic visiting vessels to surround Star, some with opportunities for public to purchase tickets and share the water for this monumental occasion.
“Star of India is an icon in San Diego and this birthday celebration is a day to honor all supporters including volunteers, members, donors, staff, educators, students, partners and the out-of-town visitors and locals that support our mission with attendance and participation in the museum experience,” says Raymond Ashley, the President and CEO of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Unique to this year’s 160-year birthday celebration for Star of India will be the appearance of the newly restored figurehead Euterpe, unveiled last year, and led by long-time Maritime Museum of San Diego volunteer George Sutherland, while surrounded by sailing, maritime history enthusiasts and visitors gathered at the Maritime Museum of San Diego for the vessel’s 159th birthday celebration. The single, solid piece of pine was originally carved by George Sutherland, a shipyard worker in one of the Glasgow, Scotland, boat yards in the 1860s. Coincidentally, a man named George Sutherland was tasked with the restoration project at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Built and launched in 1863 by Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man and originally named Euterpe, San Diego’s iconic Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing ship and has circumnavigated the globe twenty-one times. Star of India first came to the City of San Diego in 1927. It was not until 1951 when Maritime Museum of San Diego made long-awaited historical renovations to the vessel originally named Euterpe, after the Greek goddess of music and poetry. Star of India relies on Maritime Museum of San Diego volunteers and a committed staff for her upkeep.
With cooperating winds, San Diegans and visitors to our region alike will have the chance to see Star of India leave the Maritime Museum of San Diego at 9:00 a.m. each day and under tow move through San Diego Bay until reaching a position two to three miles west of Point Loma. At that juncture, weather permitting, the tow will be passed, and Star of India will proceed under sail. While at sea, Star of India will perform maneuvers. When possible, Californian and San Salvador will sail in close company with Star of India. At approximately 3:00 p.m. Star of India, Californian, and San Salvador will assemble at the entrance to San Diego Bay. Star of India will secure her berth at Maritime Museum of San Diego at 5:00 p.m. There will be good viewing opportunities along Harbor and Shelter islands and the San Diego waterfront.
A limited number of tickets are available for Star of India 160-year Birthday Celebration Sail experiences allowing guests an opportunity each day on Saturday and Sunday, November 11 and 12, 2023 to accompany Star of India and sail aboard three tall ships. Two of vessels are aboard Maritime Museum of San Diego’s Californian, the official tall ship of the state, and San Salvador, the 1542 Spanish galleon replica built in San Diego by staff and volunteers. A third visiting vessel, the 136’ gaff rigged schooner Bill of Rights, will also take on passengers for this special occasion. Tickets include a day sail charter with lunch, snacks, and water/soft drinks provided. A no-host cash only bar will also be on board for 21+. All guests must be checked-in by 9:30 a.m. at the Maritime of San Diego located along the north embarcadero at 1492 N. Harbor Drive, between Grape and Ash Street, with return to the waterfront expected by 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $269.00 per person for public and Maritime Museum of San Diego member tickets are $249.00 per person. Pricing applies for all ages.
Financial support is provided by the City of San Diego through the Commission for Arts and Culture.
About Star Of India
Star of India is the world’s oldest active sailing vessel. She is also the oldest iron-hulled merchant ship still afloat. She was launched as the fully rigged ship Euterpe at Ramsey Shipyard on the Isle of Man in 1863. Euterpe began her working life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, her first captain died on board and was buried at sea. After such misfortunes, Euterpe would eventually make four more voyages to India as a cargo ship.
In 1871 she was purchased by the Shaw Savill line of London and for the next quarter century she transported hundreds of emigrants to New Zealand and Australia. During this period, she made twenty-one circumnavigations. It was rugged voyaging, with the little iron ship battling through terrific gales, “laboring and rolling in a most distressing manner,” according to her log.
With the opening of the Suez Canal, and sail giving way to steam power, Euterpe would eventually be sold to the Alaska Packers Association. In 1901 her new owners changed her rig to that of a bark (her present configuration). By the time of her retirement in 1923, she had made twenty-two voyages from San Francisco to Alaska, returning each year with her hold laden with canned salmon.
In 1926, Star of India was sold to the Zoological Society of San Diego as the projected centerpiece for an aquarium and museum. The Great Depression and World War II saw these proposals languish from lack of funding. Eventually in the late 1950s and early 1960s, thanks to a groundswell of support from local San Diegans, Star of India was restored to sailing condition. In 1976, she set sail once again. Her preservation continues as a living reminder of the great Age of Sail, thanks to the tireless efforts of curators and volunteers at the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
Photos by Mark Albertazzi
Photos by Maggie Walton
About the Maritime Museum of San Diego
The Maritime Museum of San Diego experience includes admission to a world-class collection of historic sailing ships, steam-powered boats, and submarine, each offering entertaining and educational exhibits. The 501c3 non-profit Museum enjoys an international reputation for excellence in restoring, maintaining, and operating historic vessels including the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India. Maritime Museum of San Diego is ranked as one of the nation’s top attractions offering self-guided tours, docent-guided group tours, tall ship charters and historic bay cruises, year-round public events, educational programs, and a distinctive venue for corporate/private events. The Museum is open daily along Star of India Wharf at 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101-3309. firstname.lastname@example.org