Star of India 1965
(left) The refurbished Star of India in January 1965. (Right) 17-year old Bill Ross "with my aunt and cousins hanging out by the galley. Just to the aft of the galley, you can see a fence around the hold we hauled most of the rust and timbers out of"

Back in the early '60s, my buddy Pat Myers '65, suggested we volunteer to work on the restoration of the Star Of India, a 19th century Iron sailing ship that was being restored in San Diego. It had just got out of dry dock from having it's hull sand blasted and painted. I remembered it from when I was a little kid being moored just south of the ferry landing. One thing that always caught my eye was they had a dummy hanging from one of the yardarms. Long story short, we ended up spending over 2 years working on it a couple times a week during summer vacations and other free time during the year. We usually rode our bicycles downtown to Harbor Drive where it was moored. It's still there to this day. The ride must have been at least 10 miles one way. But it was a great adventure. I remember at first we got the unenviable job of hauling what seemed like tons of rust and rotting timbers out of the hold. I think we may have impressed the salty crew when we kept showing up for work, because it wasn't long until we got the nicer jobs above deck, though they didn't like us climbing around in the rigging. I did manage to make it up to the second set of yardarms on the mid-mast before I got yelled at.We got to know that ship like the back of our hands, every nook and cranny, and were even responsible for finding reams of ‘bills of lading’ from the turn of the century in a small "dead space" under the Captain's quarters. We also found a beautiful hardwood "Billy Club" in the same area but didn't report it. I always wondered how many heads it had come in contact with. We often had lunch in the passenger’s quarters. In the ceiling, there were stained glass windows that let the sunlight in. I always enjoyed the meals there, it was the nicest part of the ship at the time. We saw it through everything from the day the masts were set to just before it opened to the public. We then went on to other interests, like chasing girls, surfing and driving crazy with our cars -- Bill Ross

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