Zephyr was laid up at the Colberg Boat Works in Stockton, CA, in 1972, and she was hull # 72-18. Originally built for the San Francisco Bar Pilots, her job was to safely transport pilots out to the large deep draft commercial ships so they could have a guide with local knowledge direct the crew to bring the vessel in. Zephyr's name then was the P/V (for Pilot Vessel) San Francisco and she was one of two boats that alternated duty on rotation. P/V San Francisco was built to the highest standards dictated by the American Bureau of Shipping in steel throughout with the best materials, plumbing and wiring, 90% of which is still in use and functioning perfectly today. We still have several items aboard that show her original name. This is a small ship that was designed from scratch to spend its life literally running into much larger ships, in almost any sea condition - truly a world class vessel.
P/V San Francisco
On Sep 4, 2001, P/V San Francisco was re-christened R/V Zephyr and given a new mission. After nearly 30 years of faithful service, the SF Bar Pilots donated her to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to be converted into a oceanic research vessel. MBARI spared no expense converting and improving Zephyr for her new mission and added two utility hydraulic cranes to her back deck, two new generators, electronic engine control systems, modern navigational electronics and many other upgrades and improvements. She was also repainted from her original red pilot vessel colors to blue and white. For ten years Zephyr was the go-to boat for MBARI, and she has many open ocean days supporting ocean research, launching and recovering AUV's from Baja, Mexico, up to B.C., Canada.
Photo Credit: Todd Walsh (c) 2004 MBARI
We purchased Zephyr from MBARI in October 2013. A pre-purchase survey showed that the vessel was still in excellent shape, and we took on the task of refitting her for adventure charters and our own next adventure. With the help of a select crew of friends, we brought her up the coast and up the Columbia River to Portland, OR. We spent the next two and a half years doing our refit, while simultaneously working our small businesses with the goal of moving forward while staying connected to the water. On Zephyr's Facebook page, we documented the transformation - scroll back to October 2013 to start at the beginning of our work. With improvements every year, from upgrading navigational equipment, to interior accommodations, an upper deck canopy with solar panels, a new dive platform and ladder, and a 4 Ton SWL A-frame crane., Zephyr's legacy continues as a reliable and comfortable work platform.
Zephyr plying the waters of Admiralty Inlet