• A section of the bowsprint and figurehead on the bow of BALCLUTHA.

    San Francisco Maritime

    National Historical Park California

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    For public safety, Hyde Street Pier will be closed mid-pier Mondays - Thursdays from July 24 - August 20 during replacement of Eureka's mooring piles. There is no access to the historic ships. The visitor center, Maritime Museum & Aquatic Park are open. More »

Ship Model of the Schooner Yacht AMERICA

A scale model of the yacht AMERICA.

Closeup of the deck of the scale model of the yacht AMERICA.  SAFR 5328


By Bill Doll, Preservation Manager

The America, designed by naval architect George Steers, won first place in the original 1851 race, a 53-mile-long circumnavigation, around the Isle of Wight, England. The America's owner took home the first place silver pitcher for winning the competition that would later be known as the America's Cup race.

Presently in the collection of the San Francisco Maritime NHP is a model of the schooner America. This model was given to Mr. Le Marchant, owner of the yacht Aurora, that placed second in the 1851 race. In 1959, the model was loaned to the San Francisco Maritime Museum (SFMM) and later became a gift. (The SFMM eventually became part of the park.)

Unlike the America's Cup races of recent memory, no yachting syndicates from California had formed to support the design and building of the vessel for the original race. California had only become a state in 1850.

Viewing the model, you are struck by the perfect likeness to the original vessel. It is purported that a model of the America was given to each of the 15 finishers of the original race on August 22, 1851.

We are fortunate to have this model in the collection as it links San Francisco Maritime to the great America's Cup tradition and especially the "World Series" races being held on SF Bay August 23-26, 2012-161 years since that first August race in 1851. The model will be on display in the Maritime Museum in the near future. See www.americascup.com/en/San-Francisco for more about the 2012 races and the 34th America's Cup race on the San Francisco Bay in 2013.

Scale model of the yacht AMERICA.
Scale model of the yacht AMERICA. SAFR 5328

Did You Know?

The 300 foot long wooden ferryboat EUREKA moored at Hyde Street Pier.

EUREKA is a wooden-hulled, sidewheel paddle steamboat. From the passenger deck up, she is nearly identical fore and aft. Her "double-end" design made disembarking quicker and easier. EUREKA'S large "walking beam" steam engine remains intact. More...