SAN DIEGO — A launching ceremony for a full-scale replica of the flagship that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into San Diego Bay nearly 500 years ago has been postponed, the Maritime Museum of San Diego announced Tuesday.
Volunteers have been building the $6.2 million, fully operational replica of the San Salvador over the past four years at Spanish Landing Park.
The 92-foot-long vessel was to be moved around midnight April 17 to an area in front of the County Administration Center for public viewing and transported the next night to Broadway Pier. The ceremony had been scheduled for April 19.
“Unfortunately, unanticipated technical complications involving the movement and lifting of the ship have arisen within the last four weeks,” said Ray Ashley, president and CEO of the museum. “With no certainty that a comprehensive solution will emerge within the two weeks remaining, it is with sincere disappointment and regret that we announce the postponement of the public ceremony.”
Safety for those involved in the move and launch, and protection of the ship, are paramount, Ashley said. No new date was announced.
Members of the Spanish royal family and Spanish ambassador to the U.S. — who are expected to be in San Diego at the time for a separate event — had been invited to the ceremony, along with honorary consuls of several countries, Gov. Jerry Brown and local elected officials.
Once it’s launched, the Maritime Museum of San Diego plans to use the vessel as an educational platform for children in Southern California.
Cabrillo, who sailed from Portugal, in 1542 became the first European to explore the coast of California. He entered San Diego Bay and named the area San Miguel.