This historic vessel on display at the southwest corner of Craftsman Way and 10th Street once carried famous author Robert Louis Stevenson on South Pacific voyages. The Equator was built in 1888 as a two-masted schooner by renowned San Francisco boat builder Matthew Turner. In 1889, Stevenson sailed from Honolulu to the Gilbert Islands. While aboard he conceived of, and began writing a novel, The Wreckers.
The Equator received an engine in 1893 and later served as a tender to an Arctic whaling fleet. She was completely renovated in 1923 and served until the mid-1950s as a Puget Sound tug. She was left on the Port of Everett’s Jetty Island the week of August 15, 1956, as part of a breakwater with other discarded vessels. Local dentist Eldon Schalka led an effort that finally saw the Equator rescued from its breakwater fate the week of June 26, 1967. He dreamed of once again seeing the Equator seaworthy. Dick Eitel, one of Schalka’s comrades in salvaging the craft, stored the boat at his 14th Street Fishermen’s Boat Shop for several years. The two were centrally involved in the Equator Foundation that was created to restore the 87-foot vessel. They were encouraged when the Equator was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 14, 1972. It was the fist Everett property to receive this designation.
There were starts, stalls, promises, and hope; but the funds necessary for a full restoration ere not acquired. The boat, essentially just a hull, was moved in 1980 to a location in the Port’s new Marina Village and then later placed in its current location near the Port of Everett Boat Launch (10th Street & West Marine View Drive). The Equator rested under a protective structure. The National Register plaque is there, along with an interpretive sign that tells the craft’s history, and another sign listing the 42 individuals and firms who have contributed materials and service to the Equator Foundation.