Star of India Celebrates 150th Birthday

Local landmark has set sail out to sea over the past two weekends

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    Star of India sails during The San Diego Festival of Sail in July 1999. Star of India is the world's oldest ship still able to voyage the sea. She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Her voyaging career took her 21 times around the world, passing the Cape of Good Hope one way and Cape Horn the other. (Photo by Michel Boutefeu/Liaison)

    When you're celebrating your 150th birthday, a two-weekend-long bash seems to be the most appropriate way to do it.

    For the second weekend in a row, San Diego landmark, the Star of India, celebrated 150 years by going out to sea, an event put on by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

    The celebratory trips for the big bash, which began last weekend, take place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and are accompanied by the tall ship Californian and yacht America.

    During this weekend's outings, the museum was turned into a floating marketplace to replicate San Diego's waterfront in the 19th century.

    The Star of India is said to be the world's oldest active ship.

    The storied history of the 212-foot-long vessel, originally named the Euterpe, began in 1863 when it was launched at a shipyard on the Isle of Man in Great Britain.

    The ship began as a cargo vessel in the India trade and survived a mutiny, collision, cyclone and the death of a captain.

    In 1871 the ship embarked on a quarter-century journey of transporting emigrants to New Zealand, during which she went around the globe 21 times, and once ran aground in Hawaii, according to museum officials.

    American owners bought the ship in 1898 and renamed it the Star of India.

    Years later, a group of San Diegans purchased the vessel and had it towed here in 1927.

    Restoration on the ship didn’t begin until the late 1950s and once it was completed in 1976, the Star of India set sail on San Diego Bay for the first time in 50 years.

    Today, the ship ventures out into the sea each November with an all-volunteer crew.

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