The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s (SBMM) flagship Ranger, which was one of the Classic Yacht Association’s (CYA) charter members, has rejoined the association’s Southern California Fleet, which includes member boats from Santa Barbara to San Diego.
CYA is “dedicated to the promotion, preservation, restoration and maintenance of fine, old power-driven craft.”
Ranger is a classic big-game fishing yacht, the first private fishing yacht built on the West Coast. Donated by Jack Morehart, she became the Maritime Museum’s first exhibit. Ranger is now docked in front of the museum.
Built in 1917 by Fellows and Stewart in Wilmington, CA, Ranger was made to the specifications of Jimmy Jump, a founding member of the Catalina Island Tuna Club. For many years, Ranger served as the flagship of the Tuna Club. Twenty-six trophy-winning fish were caught from Ranger; and two of its records still stand — the largest yellow fin tuna and the largest broad bill swordfish.
Over the years, celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart, Zane Grey, John Wayne and Errol Flynn fished from Ranger, and the vessel has been used for photo shoots by Lands End and Kevin Costner.
In the early 1930s, Ranger was shipped to Hawaii via commercial steamship, where she fished the waters for three years with great success. While in Hawaii, her interior living area was paneled in the beautiful Koa wood she still displays.
Ranger is 41 feet overall and has a full galley, dining table, and berthing for four. The cockpit featured two swivel fighting chairs with rod sockets. One of the chairs now sits in the Maritime Museum’s Ranger Exhibit, while the other is part of the museum’s interactive Sport Fishing Exhibit.
The wood mast and boom accommodate a stabilizing sail, and she has the original anchor winch and her 1917 kerosene running lights.
Ranger’s beam (width) is 12 feet; draft is 4 feet, 5 inches; and she has a displacement of 35,000 lbs. Due to the high quality of her original design, construction and materials, Ranger is still seaworthy. Today, one-inch teak planks fit over the original fir.
Since 2000, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has featured numerous artifacts and stories to share the history of the Santa Barbara Channel with more than 40,000 visitors annually and provides year-round experiential maritime history and marine science education for local youth. SBMM is in the historic Santa Barbara Waterfront Center building, 113 Harbor Way, Ste. 190.