The iron hulled “Star of India”, which is at the heart of the San Diego Maritime Museum, was launched from the Isle of Man in 1863 as the “Euterpe.” In 1901 she was sold to the Alaskan Packers Association. After 22 trips to Alaska, she was sold to the San Diego Zoological Society and towed to San Diego in 1927.
For years she suffered indignities as she lay alongside the waterfront. During WWII, her masts were cut down because they were in the way of aircraft. After the war no one paid attention to her as she lay derelict in the bay. Alan Villiers, author and adventurer, saw her and “publicized the situation.” Restoration began under the care of the “Star of India Auxiliary” now the San Diego Maritime Museum. It was a long haul, and it wasn’t until 1976, she and her crew took her to sea again.
I first went out with her on my mother and stepfather’s boat the “Meg-a-bob” in 1976. There was little wind that day, and few efforts at crowd control. Yachts, ships, and boats of all kinds pressed right up to her hull. The sea itself was churned to a froth of chop. George and I went out on the “Meg-a-bob” with her again in 1984 and in 2003. Now we often stop just to photograph her whenever we see this last iron hulled sailing ship in the world.