(619) 505-7777

Local CEO Dr. Raymond Ashley to be knighted for work on Spanish galleon

Dr. Raymond Ashley will be knighted by the Spanish government for his work on the replica of the galleon San Salvador.
Photo credit:

President and CEO of The Maritime Museum, Dr. Raymond Ashley will be knighted by the Consul General from Spain in San Diego on May 7, 2016.

This, one of Spain’s highest honors, is to recognize the amazing work Dr. Ashley has done to preserve a piece of not only Spain’s history, but California’s as well.

Helmed by Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the origianl flagship and her fleet made its way from Acajutla, El Salvador in 1540 to Navidad, Mexico.

Cabrillo departed Navidad in June 1542, and discovered San Diego Bay in late September that same year.

Considered to be the “Mayflower” of the West, The Spanish Galleon San Salvador (built circa 1539) is documented to be the first European ship to sail along the California coast, from San Diego to the Russian River.

A meticulous replica of the San Salvador, directed by Dr. Ashley, began construction in 2011 and was finally completed in 2015.

Historian and Maritime Museum Director, Iris Engstrand says that Dr. Ashley had a dream to make a replica of the San Salvador even though Cabrillo left no blueprints.

“There were no plans, no note by Cabrillo, only a vague knowledge of where it was built, and no idea how exactly it was done,” She said. “’He [Ashley] replied, ‘No matter - we will figure it out.’  And he did, along with assembling a group of experts who knew about sixteenth-century shipbuilding.  Ray directed the project from start to finish, raised the funds, overcame setbacks, and watched its launching after a pouring rain. Cabrillo would have been proud.”  

The new San Salvador is currently moored at the San Diego Maritime Museum where she is getting her rigging and interior completed.

You can visit the San Salvador at dockside, currently there are no tours aboard the ship.

The knighting ceremony will be held on May 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm in San Diego.