Schooner C.A. THAYER Moves to Alameda

C.A. THAYER passes Alcatraz on her way to Alameda, CA. All photos courtesy National Park Service.

C.A. THAYER passes Alcatraz on her way to Alameda, CA. All photos courtesy National Park Service.

San Francisco, CA – The 1895 lumber schooner C.A. Thayer’s was moved from her berth at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s Hyde Steet Pier to the Bay Ship and Yacht shipyard in Alameda on Thursday, October 15. The ship was moved to facilitate the stepping of three new masts that are being fabricated at the shipyard. This is the final step in a comprehensive restoration project. After her masts are stepped, the National Historic Landmark vessel will return to the Park where National Park Service riggers will bend on a new running rigging and make her sail-ready to mark the National Park Service’s 2016 Centennial year.

Thayer is at an exciting time in her life,” said Historic Ship Rigger Courtney Andersen, leader of the Thayer rigging project. “For the first time since about 1912 she will have a rig that her builder would recognize as his own.”

C.A. Thayer’s builder, Hans Bendixsen, designed the vessel without drawings, scaling her dimensions from a half-hull model, for the E.K. Wood Lumber Company of San Francisco. The 219-foot schooner spent the early years of her career carrying Douglas fir lumber from the Wood Company mill at Grays Harbor, Washington, to San Francisco and Southern California, with occasional longer trips to Mexico and the Pacific Islands.

Andersen’s research into Thayer’s historic rig began in 2010, and took him deep into the Park Research Center’s plan and photograph collections. Old shipyard contracts, mast bands, sail hanks, and corner rings also helped create the schooner’s new rigging plan.

After Thayer returns to Hyde Street Pier in early 2016, the public will get to watch the Park’s professional riggers and volunteers complete tuning and tensioning, rattling down, and then rigging her spars and running gear.

“Saving C.A. Thayer not only preserves an important, physical piece of American history, it stewards a raft of traditional shipbuilding skills and crafts,” said Park Superintendent Kevin Hendricks. “And the timing is perfect to show the fourth graders (and their families) visiting us as part of the Every Kid in a Park Centennial initiative what life was like for the men and women who built this country.”

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located at the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. The park includes the fleet of historic vessels, Visitor Center, Museum, Research Center, and Aquatic Park Historic District. For more information, please call 415-447-5000 or at www.nps.gov/safr,

This report was prepared from materials provided by the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.