Name of Ship: Galilee
Period: 1800’s to 1930’s
Name of Modeler: Ralph Buckwalter
Type of Model: Scratch Built
Galilee was originally built as a Brigantine by one of the most famous ship builders on the west coast in the late 1800’s, Matthew Turner. He built at least 154 wood hulled ships in his ship yards. After Turner’s death the Galilee was sold to the Union Fish company and sent to Alaska in the cod-fishing trade.
The cod fishing voyages came to an end around 1927. She then spent two years as one of a small fleet of vessels operating off Cape San Lucas in the growing tuna industry. The Galilee’s life as a sea worthy vessel came to an unpleasant finish. In the early 1930’s she started the final decline from a graceful brigantine to a fishing schooner powered with a smoking diesel.
Ending up in her original port the Galilee was bought in 1934 by a former British officer Captain John Quinn who beached her on the Sausalito shoreline. Captain Quinn and his wife converted Galilee to a houseboat, built a wharf out to the ship strung old San Francisco gas lamps to illuminate the houseboat and placed potted plants on her deck. During the 30s and 40s many of the outdated sailing vessels were towed to Richardson bay and sunk in the mudflats. Thanks to Captain Quinn, Galilee survived the ravages of time longer than any other vessel. Unfortunately Captain Quinn grew too old to live aboard and sold it to a photographer who, with his wife and children lived on the ship untill1962 when the city of Sausalito condemned the Galilee as unfit for habitation and ordered her to be abandoned and destroyed. A trustee of the San Francisco Maritime Museum purchased her with the intention of making her as a landmark.
A maritime park was established in Benicia named the Matthew Turner Shipyard Park. A 16 ft. sectioned was cut off the Galilee and shipped to the park. A section of the stern was cut off and moved to the Benicia Historical Museum where it can be seen today. It is now called the longest schooner ever built: the stern in San Francisco and the bow in Benicia.
.Modeler’s biography: Ralph Buckwalter, a retired Mechanical Engineer has been modeling for about 14 years. He joined the Rocky Mountain Shipwrights in 2000.