Walter Mencken 3:39 p.m., June 18
The San Diego Maritime Museum will open its latest exhibit to the public tomorrow – a construction project to recreate San Salvador, the flagship of Juan Cabrillo’s fleet and the first European ship to reach the West Coast.
The ship will be full-scale, fully functional, and will take 18-24 months to build near Spanish Landing. After its completion, the ship will make its home in San Diego alongside the Museum’s other vessels, except when touring the California coast.
The completed ship’s masts will rise 80 feet above the water. It will be 24 feet across and 90 feet from end to end, weighing over 200 tons.
Visitors to the Museum will be able to watch the ship take shape and learn about early methods of construction including blacksmithing, woodcarving, and sail-making (Cabrillo arrived in San Diego in 1542).
"The whole site will be an outdoor, living-history theme park, populated with exhibits, activities, artifacts, and models . . . all the trades and activities needed to make a ship to go into expedition,” explained Dr. Ray Ashley, the Museum’s president and CEO to the Port district.