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Star Of India Celebrates 150th Birthday Over Next Two Weekends

Above: The 150th birthday of the Star of India sailing ship will be celebrated over the next two weekends by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The 150th birthday of the Star of India sailing ship will be celebrated over the next two weekends by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

The world's oldest active ship will be taken out to sea Saturday, Sunday and Monday, accompanied by the tall ship Californian and yacht America. On the following weekend, the museum will be turned into a floating marketplace to replicate San Diego's waterfront in the 19th century.

According to the museum, the 212-foot-long vessel was built at Ramsey shipyard on the Isle of Man in Great Britain and was named the Euterpe when it was launched in 1863, after the Greek muse of music and poetry.

The ship began its working life as a cargo ship in the India trade and was nearly lost on her first two voyages -- surviving a mutiny, collision, cyclone and the captain's death.

In 1871 the vessel embarked on a quarter-century of hauling emigrants to New Zealand. It circumnavigated the globe 21 times during this service and once ran aground in Hawaii, according to the museum.

The ship was sold to American owners in 1898 and renamed the Star of India in 1906.

A group of San Diegans purchased the ship and had it towed here in 1927, but restoration didn't start until the late 1950s. In 1976, with the project complete, the Star of India sailed on San Diego Bay for the first time in 50 years.

The Star of India now ventures into the open sea each November with an all-volunteer crew.

Tickets for sailing aboard the Californian or America are available for $125 for museum members and $150 for nonmembers. The vessels are set to depart at 8 a.m. and return at 5 p.m. each day.

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