Monday, December 15, 2008

Junk in our backyard

Historic Junk may be destroyed soon
Click on the picture above to see a movie of the junk sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge fifty years ago. There are also links on the site to the preservation effort.

BETHEL ISLAND -- Half a century ago, six men with no sailing experience climbed
aboard an aging Chinese junk in Taiwan and survived a typhoon that nearly
wrecked the little ship. But after sailing nearly 7,000 miles across the
Pacific, they were greeted by cheering crowds as they sailed under the Golden
Gate Bridge.

Now that turn-of-the-century junk, which experts say may be
last salvageable vessel of its type, could be destroyed if it does not find a
permanent home by the end of December.
Photo by the Chen family

The junk is sitting in a Sacramento River Delta boatyard (Bethel Island) -
abandoned by the last of a series of volunteer caretakers after he fell behind
on storage payments. And the boat yard owner has given notice that it must be

The hull has integrity; the curved wooden planks bent over fire
by craftsmen on China's Fujian coast are still true. But the painted eels and
phoenixes that brought luck are long gone, as are the mast and the battened
sails. A 13-foot section of hull was hacked off the stern so the boat would take
less room in storage.

The junk did not fare well, said Ms. Chen (a descendent of one of the original sailors). "Many people were passionate about it, fell in love with it, but it never had a permanent caretaker."

She reached out to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, where
curator John Muir recognized the 65-foot vessel's rarity. "It's a basically
extinct vessel type," Muir said. "It's very likely one of the last remaining
original vessels of this type." However, the maritime park run by the National
Park Service cannot afford to take in the vessel.
This story is an excerpt from an Associated Press story by Juliana Barbassa. To read the whole story, go to:

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Blogger Warty Mammal said...

I hope the maritime park will take it. It would be a great addition to their collection, and a real shame to just let it be destroyed.

7:31 PM  
Blogger meggie said...

Oh I do hope it is saved! What wonderful craftsmanship. It needs to be restored, it is a work of true art!

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She is finally going home to Taiwan!!

5:54 PM  

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