Some of you may recall the replica of a 17th Century Chinese war junk that toured through San Francisco last fall. It was called the Princess Taiping and its mission was to complete a round trip journey from Taiwan to prove that Chinese sailors may have reached North America before Columbus. Well, sadly (but also comically), in the waters just off Taiwan, the Princess Taiping was struck by a freighter and sunk just 30 miles from the end of its 14,000 mile journey.

None of the 11 member crew were severely injured, but the ship was split in half and the freighter that struck them, after a brief pause, soldiered on across the Pacific without offering any assistance. For a look back on the pretty little boat that almost could, here's a slideshow from its tour through the Bay last fall.

The captain, Nelson Liu, said he felt "more than regret" about having come so close. We suspect the crew might have started partying a little prematurely and drifted into a shipping lane... but hey, accidents happen.

Photo by Christopher Buhl.