Vessels in the Port of San Francisco
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The Wapama Steam Schooner, a wooden-hulled steamer, was built in 1915 for the coastal lumber trade, is unique to the West Coast.
Wapama is the last of 235 steam schooners built on the Coast and was built for the run between Oregon and California. The long shallow hulls of the steam schooners made for a weak structure, prone to sag at the bow and stern. As age and decay sapped the strength of Wapama's massive timbers, this "hogging" process became so bad that she could not remain afloat
The Wapama, a wooden-hulled, steam-propelled vessel built for Charles R. McCormick's famed steamship company, remained in the West Coast fleet until 1947.
The last surviving example of more than 220 wooden steam schooners designed for the 19th and 20th-century Pacific Coast lumber trade and coastal service, Wapama's construction is unique in its use of sister frames and lack of steel strapping. Condition: The wooden hull of the Wapama is so badly deteriorated from dry rot that she has been place out of water on a barge with internal and external structural supports. Portions of the vessel are unsafe for public access.
She is severely distorted in both her proper vertical and mid-body planes. These distortions have significantly weakened the structural integrity of the vessel. There are no funds to address the advancing deterioration. The San Francisco Maritime park's General Management Plans call for minimal stabilization work for the vessel.
The Pacific Steam Schooner Foundation has had limited success in seeking financial support. Although the vessel has been moved to a new berth in Richmond, CA there are no funds to address the advancing deterioration. HAER documentation has been completed by the National Park Service. Recommendation/Change since last report: Wapama needs a permanent location and funding for stabilization and restoration.
In the late 19th Century, wooden steam schooners began to replace sailing ships for hauling lumber and passengers up and down the Pacific coast. Over two hundred of these ships were built between the 1880s and 1920s.
The Wapama is the only survivor. She is currently undergoing preservation efforts in Point Richmond, and a lack of funds jeopardizes her continued survival and return to Aquatic Park.