San Salvador galleon to be launched on barge!

San Salvador, an approximate reproduction of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's historic galleon, undergoes final preparation at Spanish Landing in San Diego.
San Salvador, a close reproduction of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s historic galleon, undergoes final preparation at Spanish Landing in San Diego.

San Salvador’s masts and bowsprit have been installed!

I swung by the amazing ship’s build site this morning after doing a couple errands in Point Loma.  Additional work was underway on the bowsprit, and the hull appears almost finished. One gentleman was painting white Roman numerals on the bow which will indicate the ship’s depth.

Complications and unforeseen difficulties have delayed the launch of the Spanish galleon, but now the full-scale, seaworthy replica of explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s historic ship is almost ready to be placed into San Diego Bay!

As I write this, very little updated information can be found concerning the upcoming launch of San Salvador. When the ship was weighed some months ago, it came in at 20 tons more than expected. Due to logistics, plans to use a crane to transport the ship to Broadway Pier were necessarily altered, then ultimately discarded.

I received some info on the museum’s new plan during a short conversation with San Diego’s own famous Captain Swordfish, a few days ago while I was walking along the Embarcadero. He indicated the San Salvador will be turned, then rolled over a temporary bridge onto a barge behind Harbor Island. The barge will then transport the galleon to a local shipyard, where a crane will–finally–hoist San Salvador into San Diego Bay.

The plan, as I understood it, is to add ballast and complete the ship’s rigging while it’s docked by the Maritime Museum. I also heard that the museum hopes San Salvador is ready to lead other tall ships into San Diego Bay for the ceremonial parade at this year’s Festival of Sail!  That would be very cool!

Maritime Museum of San Diego volunteers work on the bowsprit, before San Salvador is eventually moved onto a barge, then hoisted at a local shipyard into the bay.
Maritime Museum of San Diego volunteers work on the bowsprit, before San Salvador is eventually moved onto a barge, then hoisted at a local shipyard into the bay.
A temporary bridge will be built in the coming weeks to allow the large San Salvador Spanish galleon to be rolled onto a barge.
A temporary “bridge” will be built across this path in the coming weeks to allow the large San Salvador Spanish galleon to be rolled onto a barge.
While the masts are now in, yards are still being prepared. As I understand it, they'll be installed along with the ballast, once San Salvador is afloat near the Maritime Museum.
While the masts are now in, yards are still being prepared. As I understand it, they’ll be installed along with the ballast, once San Salvador is afloat near the Maritime Museum.
Guys work on the bowsprit in early July 2015. The hope is that San Salvador leads this year's Festival of Sail's parade of tall ships into San Diego Bay!
Guys work on the bowsprit in early July. The hope is that San Salvador leads the 2015 Festival of Sail’s parade of tall ships into San Diego Bay!

UPDATE!

As of 7/29/15, the San Salvador is afloat on San Diego Bay! A week ago a barge transported the replica galleon to Chula Vista in our South Bay, where today it was lifted into the water. I learned this afternoon that in fact the ballast will be added and rigging completed in Chula Vista, in a place that is closed to the public. The ship will have to undergo extensive testing by the Coast Guard before being declared seaworthy. It’s still hoped everything will be completed in time for the Festival of Sail, which takes place in a little over a month!

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

9 thoughts on “San Salvador galleon to be launched on barge!”

    1. The San Salvador replica has a hull that is 93 feet long and a main deck that’s 74 feet in length. The galleon’s weight without ballast, I believe, is a bit more than 150 tons–but don’t quote me on that!

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