Californian (schooner)

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The Californian
The Californian
United StatesUnited States
Name: Californian
Owner: Maritime Museum of San Diego
  • Melbourne Smith, designer;
  • Jayford Hazell/Nautical Heritage Society, builder
Launched: 1984
Homeport: San Diego, California
General characteristics [1]
Type: Topsail schooner
Tonnage: 130 GT
Length: 93 ft 6 in (28.50 m) on deck; 145 ft (44 m) sparred length
Beam: 24 ft (7.3 m)
Draft: 9 ft 6 in (2.90 m)
Notes: 7,000 sq ft (700 m2) sail area; wood hull

Californian was built in San Diego, launched in 1984 as a replica of the United States Revenue Marine cutter Lawrence, which operated off the coast of California in the 1850s.[Note 1] On July 23, 2003, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Bill No. 965, making her the "official state tall ship" of California.[4]

Originally commissioned by the Nautical Heritage Society, she has flown the flag of California up and down the coast and in ports ranging from Hawaii, Mexico, and the East Coast. Originally built and operated as a sailing school vessel based in Newport Beach. She also represented the state at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.[4] The model for her figurehead was actress Catherine Bach, who was chosen as she was descended from one of the state's early families.[5]

The Maritime Museum of San Diego acquired Californian from the Nautical Heritage Society in June 2002 through a grant from the Sheila Potiker Family Foundation of San Diego. The California Coastal Conservancy provided the Maritime Museum of San Diego with a US$300,000 grant to complete restoration of the Californian in February 2003. After the overhaul was completed in August 2003 Californian returned to providing sail training and sea educational programs up and down the California coast.[4]


  1. ^ USRC Lawrence was sometimes referred to as USRC C.W. Lawrence; the source of her name is unclear.[2] C.W. Lawrence was possibly Cornelius W. Lawrence, once the Collector of Customs of the Port Of New York[3]
  1. ^ "Californian", The Ships, Maritime Museum of San Diego
  2. ^ Canney, p 22
  3. ^ "C. W. Lawrence, 1848" (pdf). Cutters, Craft & U.S. Coast Guard-Manned Army & Navy Vessels. U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "California State Tall Ship", Californian,
  5. ^ "Dukes' Catherine Bach Model for Tall Ship", Ocala (Florida) Star-Banner, 7 January 1985, p. 2A
References used

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