Chinese Junk Preservation is a nonprofit group commited to saving the Free China junk vessel and the story of its inspiring transpacific voyage for future generations.

Our vision: Preserve the Free China junk and give it a “public life” where it can contribute to public awareness and understanding of Chinese and American maritime history, culture and achievement.

Supporters include maritime experts and enthusiasts, historians, friends and family of the 1955 Free China crew, and others who care about preserving maritime, Chinese and American history.

We are grateful for the support of owners, supporters and volunteers – past and present -- who have enabled the Free China to survive until today. Please join us.

For more information about Chinese Junk Preservation and to get involved, please contact us at

FOUNDER, Chinese Junk Preservation:
Dione Chen is the daughter of Reno C. L. Chen, who sailed to America as one of the 1955 crew of the Free China. After her father’s death in September 2007, she took her family to see the junk. Dismayed to find the junk in deteriorating condition and on the verge of destruction, she decided to join with others to preserve the junk before it is gone forever. Dione Chen founded Chinese Junk Preservation with the hope that the legacy of this junk be to serve as a catalyst for greater public awareness and appreciation of Chinese and American culture, maritime achievement and history. Her hope is that the Free China will inspire others to explore and preserve their own rich family history.

Linda Bentz – Historian and Educator
Linda Bentz is a historical researcher with a focus on studying Chinese American communities and maritime history. Linda has worked with the National Parks Service and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary in connection with her investigations of Chinese fishermen, Chinese junks and Chinese American women and families. She researched and wrote the script for the documentary, Courage and Contributions: the Chinese in Ventura County and has published essays in books, journals, and newsletters. Linda is currently the historian for the Ventura County Chinese American Historical Society, and is writing a book about the Chinese communities in Ventura County, Hidden Voices: One Hundred Years of Chinese History in Ventura County.

Paul Chuan-Chun Chow - Original Free China owner and 1955 Crewmember, Retired Physics Professor.
Paul Chow grew up in war-torn China. At age seventeen, he dropped out of school to join the army, where he fought under the command of American general “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell in Burma. After the war, he spent ten years as a commercial fisherman. Paul was a young fisherman and mainland China refugee living in Taiwan when his application to enter an authentic Chinese junk in a trans-Atlantic yacht race was accepted. At the time, he had no boat, no crew, and no sailing experience. Paul became co-owner of the Free China junk in the spring of 1955, recruited his fellow fishermen friends as crewmates and learned to sail. Although the Free China missed the trans-Atlantic race, it did reach San Francisco. Paul decided to continue his studies in the United States, obtaining an AA degree from San Francisco City College, a bachelor's degree from University of California at Berkeley and a PhD at Northwestern University. Following a long career as a physics professor, he is now retired and devotes his time to writing.

John Muir - Curator, SF Maritime National Historical Park
Associate Curator of Small Craft at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, John Muir is an expert in maritime preservation efforts and wooden boat restoration. He restores, preserves and interprets the Park’s collection of over 100 historic small craft and builds replicas of historic boats. In 2003, with the help of dedicated volunteers, John spearheaded the construction of a traditional Chinese Shrimp Junk boat, the Grace Quan. John received his Master’s degree in Cultural Resources Management at Sonoma State University.

Hans Konrad Van Tilburg - Maritime Archeologist and Historian
An expert on the history and nautical technology of Chinese junks, Hans is Maritime Heritage Program Coordinator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Marine Sanctuary Program in the Pacific Islands Region and an instructor of maritime archeology and history at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Hans holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii, where he focused on the maritime history of Asia and the Pacific, a Masters degree in maritime history and nautical archeology from East Carolina University, and a B.A. in geography from the University of California at Berkeley. Hans is the author of a book chronicling 10 Chinese junks, including the Free China, Chinese Junks on the Pacific – Views from a Different Deck.

Captain Bernard W. Wormgoor – Marine Surveyor
Captain Bernard Wormgoor’s maritime career and interest in maritime history and vessels spans more than 53 years, including 22 years at sea and 31 years as a marine surveyor. He has been an active boater for all his life. Bernard discovered the Free China at a Sacramento delta boatyard by chance. Impressed by its uniqueness and age, he was convinced that the junk is a part of Chinese and California history that should be preserved and restored.