Tall Ships of San Francisco
Maritime History and Model Ships by Steve Priske ~ Shipwright - Historian


Wreck of the Marconi c.1909

The beautiful four masted schooner Marconi
was built at the Simpson shipyard at North Bend,
Oregon in 1902. She sailed the world’s oceans
from her base in San Francisco. In 1909 she ran
aground on the Coos Bay south spit, while leaving
for Valpariso, Chile. This highly detailed image
is one of the most interesting shipwreck photos ever made.


Wreck of the Novelty c.1886

The unusual four masted schooner
Novelty was launched in 1886. She would be
the world’s first four masted bald head schooner
and first of her rig to circumnavigate the globe.
Originally she was launched without a bow sprit
leading a local newspaper to say she should have
been called the ‘Oddity’ instead of the Novelty!
A short bow sprit was eventually added.
In 1907 while coming down the U.S.
west coast, the San Francisco based Novelty ran aground
on the Southern Oregon Sand Dunes. The crew,
Captain and his family walked ashore.


Wreck of the Polaris c.1914

The graceful four masted Schooner Polaris
was launched in 1902. She called San
Francisco her home port, sailing for the
Pacific Shipping Company.
In 1914, the Polaris ran aground
on Duxbury Reef off the town of Bolinas
while attempting to enter the Golden Gate.


Schooner Repeat c.1897

In 1897 Emil Heuckendorff would launch the
sleek 3 masted Schooner Repeat for the
Simpson Lumber Company of San Francisco.
She would be sold to Australian owners in 1920,
final fate unknown.
Here the Repeat is dockside at San Francisco.


Shipwrights c.1890

It took a crew of around 25 shipwrights
and carpenters to build a 19th
Century west coast ship of sail.
Here we see the keel and frames of
a 200‘ long four masted tall ship
taking shape c.1890, Coos Bay, Oregon.
This photograph is a terrific snapshot
into life on the frontier.


Tam O’Shanter c.1875

The three masted Tam O’Shanter was
built by John Kruse for the Simpson
Lumber Company of San Francisco.
Her lines resembled those found in
the finest east coast built clippers
of two decades before. From her
home port of San Francisco the Tam
O’Shanter sailed mostly to Pacific
ports until being sold to
Peruvian owners in 1908.


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