Taking a Ride Aboard History


This week I was able to participate in what I think is one of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s coolest feature for visitors.

On select dates throughout the summer, the park offers visitors the chance to go sailing for three hours on a historic vessel as part of its interpretive programming. Public sails happen aboard the Alma, which is a Scow Schooner that’s the last of its kind. Scows are boats with flat bottoms and Schooners have two or more masts, which are the long poles that sails are rigged to.

Therefore the designation: Scow Schooner.

Alma was built in 1891 in the Hunter’s Point district in San Francisco. She was designed to transport products around San Francisco Bay, and because of the flat bottom Alma was able to navigate the shallow waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Delta.

No scow schooners except Alma are known to survive afloat in the United States.

In 1959, Alma was purchased by the State of California, and restoration commenced in 1964. In 1988, she was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

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