Mystic Seaport is honoring the Pacific Class owners and the San Diego Yacht Club with the William A. Baker Award. The award is given to promote the awareness and appreciation of fine examples of one-design classes or boats of like kind, and to foster faithful preservation and restoration, and encourage their continued use.
The Pacific Class (PC) owners and the San Diego Yacht Club are being recognized for their effort to preserve and maintain a significant class of American sailing craft.
The PC is the first wooden one design racing sloop designed and built especially for Southern California waters. Designed by George Kettenburg, Jr., in 1929, the 31-foot-long sailboat has survived more than 80 years and is still enjoyed today. While the largest of the fleets is in San Diego, there are smaller groups in Marina del Rey, Los Angeles and Washington State. Of the 84 hull numbers assigned, all but 19 are still sailing. Hull number 8, Wings, believed to be the oldest hull in existence, is now on display at the San Diego Maritime Museum.
Antique and classic boat organizations throughout the country typically present awards for the preservation of wooden boats. As a rule these awards are presented to individual owners or vessels, recognizing some superlative aspect of the work that has been done to keep them up, most-original, or the finest craftsmanship.
The William Avery Baker Award is somewhat unique in that it is customarily presented to a class association or group of owners. The purpose is to recognize the people and communities that do the bold, arduous, and often expensive work of keeping a large group or class of vessels actively sailing.
“It is this authentic notion of active use that is being recognized and commended,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “It is one thing to save an old wooden boat from inevitable destruction; it is another thing entirely to save a class of vessels from extinction. It has been our experience that this can only occur when a community of like-minded enthusiasts comes together with a common purpose. Thus, we are proud to honor the Pacific Class owners and the San Diego Yacht Club for their effort to save the PC from the brink of extinction and thus allow future generations to sail and enjoy these fine boats.”
About William A. Baker
A 1934 graduate of MIT with a degree in naval architecture and marine engineering, Baker was active in the American shipbuilding industry through World War II and up to the early 1960s. Best known as the designer of Mayflower II, which was built in England in 1955 for Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts, Baker was one of the most prominent maritime historians and historic replica ship and boat designers of his era.