R/V Zephyr -- retired October, 2012
After serving nearly 30 years as the Pilot Vessel San Francisco, this 26-meter-long ship was converted from pilot vessel to research vessel during the summer of 2001. The sea-kindly hull of a pilot vessel now carries an articulated crane for deploying a variety of oceanographic instruments. The former aft pilot's cabin now holds a portable hydrographic winch and houses supporting machinery. The deck level cabin/galley has been converted into a dry laboratory.
MBARI received the Pilot Vessel San Francisco as a
donation from the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association. The association's
name is based on an enormous, horseshoe-shaped sand bar at the mouth of the
Golden Gate bridge from which the Bar Pilots safely navigate nearly 8500 vessels
through each year. The vessel was rechristened the R/V Zephyr on
September 4th, 2001 and operated as the primary support ship for MBARI's autonomous
underwater vehicle (AUV) program.