By Donna Beth Weilenman
A labor of love that began nearly four years ago with the laying of a brigantine’s keel will take an important step forward Saturday when the “Matthew Turner” is launched in Sausalito. Named for the famous shipbuilder who constructed record-setting vessels in Benicia, the Matthew Turner is patterned after the “Galilee,” the ship that covered the distance from Tahiti to California under sail at such speeds that the produce it carried arrived fresh enough to sell to awaiting customers.
The Galilee still holds the speed record – 22 days – for ships under sail from Tahiti to San Francisco.
Alan Olson, who founded the Call of the Sea and Educational Tall Ship education programs, has been dreaming of the day a ship built along Turner’s own designs would become the San Francisco Bay Area’s tall ship.
At one time, the Hawaiian Chieftain held that honor. That ship is an original design that recalls the packet ships that delivered mail and cargo along the Pacific coastline and inland via rivers, or outward across the ocean.