Schooner Zodiac History

The last American pilot schooner

Launched: 1924
Rig: Two-masted Gaff
Builder: Hodgdon Brothers Shipyard, East Boothbay, ME

Built for the heirs to the Johnson & Johnson family; the Zodiac was designed by William H. Hand, Jr., to epitomize the best features of the American fishing schooner.

Zodiac in her California pilot schooner guise, photogeraphed from the deck of a returning troop carrier outside the Golden Gate bridge. Photo by Willard Carroll.

During the Depression, the Zodiac was sold to the San Francisco Bar Pilots, and renamed California. She worked the rugged waters outside the Golden Gate for forty years, retiring in 1972, as the last working pilot schooner in the United States.

In 1982 she earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. She continues to work the waters of Puget Sound, San Juan and Gulf Islands to this day.

History Gallery

Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger view. Also see our Reconstruction Gallery.