San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park | New News!

On Thursday, September 14, 2023, the third and final topgallant mast or “swaying aloft” was installed on the 1886 National Historic Landmark ship, Balclutha. For nearly 9 years, this three-masted, square-rigged ship had been without its topgallant masts at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

In the past two months, a dedicated team including the park’s rigging crew, shipwrights, staff, and volunteers collaborated diligently. Together, they successfully installed three new topgallant masts equipped with brand-new standing rigging. This accomplishment marked a monumental stride towards making Balclutha a fully rigged ship once more.

The process of swaying the new masts into place was a significant undertaking that demanded time, training, and the expertise of a team comprised of experienced riggers, shipwrights, and volunteers. Josh Payne, the Historic Ships Rigger, expressed gratitude for the hard work and dedication displayed by the crew and volunteers, emphasizing that this achievement wouldn’t have been possible without their commitment.

Located at Hyde Street Pier in San Francisco, CA, Balclutha, originally constructed in 1886 in Glasgow, Scotland, once journeyed across the globe, transporting cargo and passengers. In 1954, it came under the ownership of the San Francisco Maritime Museum and later transferred to the National Park Service in 1978. Since then, it has remained a beloved tourist attraction. Notably, the ship earned the distinction of being designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Balclutha consistently undergoes extensive restoration and preservation work to ensure it maintains its historically accurate appearance and condition. Looking ahead, Josh Payne shared that the next milestone will be the crossing of the yards.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, situated at the western end of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, boasts a collection of historic ships, a Visitor Center, Maritime Museum, Maritime Research Center, and the Aquatic Park Historic District. You can explore the park online at, and keep up with its updates on Twitter and Instagram @SFMaritimeNPS, as well as on Facebook @SanFranciscoMaritimeNHP.

This above news story is based on a press release from the National Park Service, which was issued on September 15, 2023. You can read the original release here.

About San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

map of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
Map of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Image credit:

At the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, you can step back in time and explore maritime history up close. One of the park’s prized treasures is the Balclutha, a remarkable 1886 National Historic Landmark ship.

As you stroll through this captivating park, you’ll encounter not only the Balclutha but also a fleet of other historic ships. These vessels offer a unique window into the maritime heritage of San Francisco and beyond.

When you visit the Balclutha, you’ll be transported to an era when square-rigged ships ruled the seas. Imagine the adventures it had as it travelled around the globe, carrying both cargo and passengers. It’s a living testament to a bygone maritime age.

But the park is more than just ships. You can explore the Visitor Center, where you’ll find intriguing exhibits that delve into the rich maritime history of the region. The Maritime Museum and Maritime Research Center are also here, offering deeper insights into the maritime world.

Don’t forget to explore the Aquatic Park Historic District, which is part of this maritime treasure trove. The park’s location at the western end of Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco provides a picturesque backdrop for your historical journey.

So, whether you’re a history buff, a maritime enthusiast, or simply looking for an unforgettable experience, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, with its crown jewel, the Balclutha, invites you to embark on a voyage through time and tradition.

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