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Butcher Boy, help preserve history appeal letter from our CEO/President Ray Ashley, PhD

Dear Shipmate:

First of all, let me start this letter by thanking each of you for your participation and support over the course of many projects, from constructing San Salvador to putting a new deck on Star of India. Each of these large-scale projects was not only a self-contained epic in historic preservation and interpretation, but contributed also to the ongoing welfare of one of the most extraordinary collections of historic ships ever assembled.

But maritime history is not always a matter of large, dramatic ships and epic voyages of trade, warfare, and exploration. Sometimes we gain our glimpse of past lives and ephemeral beauty through a smaller lens.

She was commissioned in 1902 to be the fastest thing on the water. She needed to be. Before the bay had its deepwater channel, large ships calling to San Diego were often forced by their draft to anchor outside the bay in Coronado Roads. Servicing these ships economically required a fast, weatherly, and seaworthy boat to make daily runs from the downtown waterfront to Coronado Roads. In seeking a model, Charles and George Hardy of the Bay City Market looked to Columbia River fishing vessels for inspiration and commissioned local master shipwright, Manuel Goularte (who later built Pilot), to produce a version which could serve as a dependable sailing-delivery platform and also be an attractive vessel for yachtsmen to charter in weekend races. From this modest beginning, Butcher Boy was destined to become a distinguished San Diego legend, both our oldest workboat and our oldest yacht – the symbolic ancestor of almost all the boats one can now see at any time on San Diego Bay.

Butcher Boy was so fast that it became necessary to import a much larger purpose-built racing yacht from the Great Lakes just to defeat the San Diego boat in the 1905 Lipton Cup.

At age one hundred, Butcher Boy proudly competed in the 2002 Lipton Cup, winning first in her class (vessels 100 years old and older), and again as always, first overall in the hearts of everyone who saw the San Diego boat cross that finish line.

Butcher Boy has been in the Museum’s possession since 1972 and though she has benefitted from cosmetic work and efforts to stabilize her, time has taken its toll and she is in desperate need of a complete restoration if we are not to lose her. Our plan is to restore Butcher Boy in public view at the portion of the old San Salvador shipyard which has remained available to Museum use and as with San Salvador and our other ships, to make it a learning experience under the guidance of our master shipwrights and a product of our community largely through the efforts of volunteers and students. As is our way, at the end of it all she will sail again to the joy of all who see her.

But to make this happen, we do need your help to support the cost of materials and staff shipwrights to supervise the project and I am calling once again upon your generosity and love of our history to save this gem of our maritime identity.

Thank you in advance for your generous support of our mission, and for ensuring that Butcher Boy will sail proudly beyond any finish line we might see and into the story of future generations.

Ray Ashley, Ph.D., K.C.I.
President/CEO, Maritime Museum of San Diego

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To learn more about the many opportunities to contribute to the Maritime Museum. Contact Development at 619-234-9153 x 126
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Museum Membership

As a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, you support our preservation and education efforts, and in return receive many benefits! Bring the adventure and discovery to life as often as you would like – choose the membership plan that is right for you.

Membership packages include these benefits:

  • FREE admission
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  • 10% discount at Museum gift shop
  • FREE or reduced admission to Museum events
  • Plus so much more

Maritime Museum membership benifits

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Through your membership, you support the Maritime Museum of San Diego, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and presenting our rich Pacific maritime heritage.

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Planned Giving

Welcome! We are pleased that you are interested in learning about the many benefits of gift plans. If you have any questions about the best way for you to benefit through a planned gift, please call. A member of our Planned Giving Team will be glad to help you. Contact Development at 619-234-9153 x 126

To learn about:

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Vehicle Donation Program

A San Diego treasure, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is more than a collection of world-class exhibits and ships. It is a family of volunteers, members, and supporters like you, who are joined together by their passion for the sea, maritime history, and creating an inspiring and enlightening experience for children and adults alike. Thank you for your support.

Donating Is Easy!

Donating a car is easy! And so is donating other vehicles. We accept all types of vehicles nationwide — cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs, and even boats.

To get started: Click Here
or call 844-790-GIVE (4483) to speak to a representative.

All that you will need to provide is the Certificate of Title upon pickup of your donated vehicle.

Ticket Donations

The Maritime Museum of San Diego takes pride in our support of local (San Diego County) nonprofit organizations for fundraising events benefiting our community.

Since the Maritime Museum of San Diego is a nonprofit organization, we have established the following ticket donation guidelines:

  • Your organization must be a nonprofit and must be using Maritime Museum of San Diego tickets as a fundraising item.
  • Four general admission tickets are provided per conforming organization and/or event.
  • Requests of donation are limited to (1) one request per year per organization.
  • Donated admission tickets are limited to the value of General Admission only and are not valid use for special events, exhibit surcharges, or any event deemed exempt by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • No cash value is applicable for donated tickets although they are fully transferable.
  • Value of donations are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • The Maritime Museum of San Diego requests that any organization that accepts any donated items place a reciprocal acknowledgment within any marketing materials or programs that support the representative organization and/or the event.
  • You must be located within San Diego County.

CLICK HERE for online application requesting a donation

If Snail Mail, send your request for donations to:
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Attn: Request for Donations
1492 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101-3309
All donation requests will be reviewed within two weeks.

Looking for a venue to host your future fundraising event? Maritime Museum of San Diego offers exceptional nonprofit rates for event rentals. For more information, visit Event Venue Rentals.

Join in the adventure! The Maritime Museum of San Diego is home to the maritime story of the West Coast and beyond with one of the most extensive collections of historic ships in the world. Donations & membership helps to tell the maritime story and to preserve these ships.

Every single gift matters. Taken in the aggregate, all gifts, large and small, are essential to the overall goal. So join us at whatever level you can.