Sea History 135 - Summer 2011

Page 46

Laying the Keel for San Salvador in San Diego The con structio n of t h e San Salvador, a rep lica of Juan Rod riguez Cah rillo's flagsh ip from 1542, is und erway in San Diego, Califo rnia. On 15 April, heads of the Maritime Museum of San Diego (MMSD) and the Cabrillo National Monument, elected officials, Kumeyaay tribal leaders, and the public gathered at the Cabrillo National Monument to participate in a keel-laying ceremony to mark the beginning of the project. Sixty-five years before the first English settlement on the North American continent and eighty years before Mayflower crossed a much smaller ocean to New England, Europeans sighted, charted, and made first contact with the native inhabitants of what would one day be the west coast of the United States. The original San Salvador sailed into San Diego Bay on 28 September 1542. Cabrillo continued sailing northwards along the coast of California, reaching the latitude of the Oregon border before turning around and heading back to New Spain. His name is iconic all over the state of California, but few people know who h e was or what his ro le in California history was. The Maritim e Museum of San Diego seeks to rectify this situation by building a replica of Cabrillo's ship, which will serve as an exhibit and living classroom to teach and interpret this important but nearly forgotten chapter in history. The build site itself will also serve as an exhibit showcasing historic ship construction methods. Buil t in full view of the public, crafrsmen will demonstrate woodcarving, blacksmithing, sailmaking, and rigging. San Salvador was the venue whereby the first contact was m ade between Europeans and West Coast Native Americans, and an important component of the project includes participation and input from the Kumeyaay, a tribe from the region. In additio n to th e shipbuilding site, the maritime museum is constructing a Kumeyaay village. With no ship's plans to go by, the museum sought out prominent historians of naval architecture, shipbuilding, and voyages in the age (1-r) Allen Rawl, Master Shipbuilder; Anthony Pico, Chairman of exploration, including Dr. Ray Ashley, executive director of of the Viejas tribe; Supervisor Greg Cox; Dr. Ray Ashley, MMSD MMSD; Dr. Carla Rahn Phillips of the University of MinneExecutive Director; Port Commissioner Scott Peters; Councilman sota; Dr. Filipe Castro of Texas A & M; Dr. Iris Engstrand of the Kevin Faulkner. University of San Diego; Dr. Tim Runyan of NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program and East Carolina University; Bob Munson, historian at Cabrillo National Monument; naval architect Doug Sharp; and master builder Allen Rawl. When completed, San Salvador will measure 92 feet in length •and 24 feet on the beam and will be a fully functional sailing vessel. The project is estimated to cost $5 million, of which more than $3.5 m illion has alread y been raised through private donations and funding from the California Coastal ConcJll[arine c.Antigues - e;/fmericana servancy. The bui ld site and Kumeyaay village wi ll open to the public on 24 June 2011. (MMSD, 1492 North Harbor Drive, San Diego , CA 92101; ni11a@ninah cl l111ananrigues.co111


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