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The Love Boat meets The Golden Hinde


As the Love Boat (Pacific Princess) sailed into Acapulco Bay in April 1975, we experienced a small piece of history. There at anchor in the bay bobbed the

“Golden Hinde”.


© The Golden Hinde.

Some 400 years after Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, had succumbed to rats and rotted away in 1662. The ship was broken up, and most of the wood is believed to be buried in Convoy’s Wharf, an old Tudor shipyard.

An American businessman from San Francisco Albert Elledge, president of a San Francisco tugboat and harbour-tour line, and Art Blum, a publicist and Vice-President of San Francisco’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau had the idea to recreate the Golden Hind or to be more precise Golden Hinde as the replica was named.

In 1968, they commissioned Californian naval architect Loring Christian Norgaard to design the ship. It was eventually built by J. Hinks & Son in Appledore, Devon using timber from English forests.


She was launched on 5th April 1973 and was then fitted out and rigged before her sea trials. On the 1st of October 1974, The Golden Hinde set sail from Falmouth on its maiden voyage. Having been constructed to be a centrepiece for the 400th anniversary celebrations of Drake’s supposed landing in San Francisco.

As with Drake’s original voyage, the journey to America was fraught with violent storms but after 160 days at sea, The Golden Hinde dropped anchor in San Francisco Bay, on the 8th of March 1975. However, as I mentioned we had already met up with her in Acapulco.

That evening the Captain of Pacific Princess Captain John Crichton and his officers invited the crew of the Golden Hinde on board for a party. My memory is sketchy but I seem to recall that the ship was manned by twelve men, one of which was a doctor who l had the pleasure of chatting to at the party.

I believe all the men had taken time out from their employment to crew the voyage. Sadly I did not get the opportunity to board the Golden Hind as we sailed the next morning leaving her behind.

The Golden Hind in San Francisco in 1975 - Taken from Pacific Princess tied up on the adjacent berth.

Later in the season, she had arrived in San Francisco when we again met up with her. This time you will see she was docked alongside a rather derelict pier shed.

The San Francisco entrepreneurs had envisaged making lots of tourist dollars from visitors touring the ship on the San Francisco waterfront. The Golden Hinde owners didn’t strike it rich on the waterfront, but they found additional ways to make money.

In August 1975, the ship set sail for Mexico for an appearance in the movie “Swashbuckler.” But was back in the bay when the film came out which encouraged visitors to pay for tours.

In 1979 she set sail for Japan with a deal to be featured in the mini-series “Shogun.” The ship would soon leave for Japan.. She came back to the bay briefly in 1987. Appearing at celebrations in England and Ireland, getting the occasional film role, and setting out on a four-year expedition along the North American coasts kept the ship busy until it finally settled down on the Thames in London, where you can now visit her.

Alcatraz 1975 - Taken from Pacific Princess as she passed by.

Last month I revisited San Francisco for the first time in 46 years In some ways the City was much the same and in other ways had changed totally. Arriving by car was it bit of an eye-opener, never having driven In San Francisco before the hills were a little challenging but on the whole drivers are very considerate and pedestrians abided by the jaywalking laws. Driving up some of the hills you cannot see over the bonnet or should I say hood as l am in the states. Anyway, the vision as you reach the crest of the hill is pretty limited and drivers generally slow to a stop before descending the other side. Having dumped our bags at our guest house we headed to the airport to drop off the car, heading back into the city on the excellent public transport system. For the rest of our stay we used shank’s pony and the occasional tram.

Transamerica Pyramid taken from the pier in 1975

Here you can see how the Financial District of San Francisco has developed you can just see the spire of the Transamerica Pyramid. 2022

The major change in San Francisco had taken place in the financial district. When I visited in 1975 the newly constructed iconic Transamerica Pyramid was the tallest building in the city it remained so until 2018 but is now somewhat hidden by all the skyscrapers that have sprung up in the district as you can see from these pictures.

San Francisco -1975

Fisherman's Wharf -1975

The waterfront and Fisherman’s Wharf another area that had changed a lot, although some of the original restaurants were still in existence.

No trip to San Francisco in the 1970’s was complete without a visit to Tower Records, sadly long gone and replaced with a Walgreens.

I won’t wait another 46 years to return to the

City by the Bay.

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