Tall ships bring golden age back in Blaine harbor

Published on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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Booming cannons will rock Drayton Harbor next week with the return of the brig Lady Washington and the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain. Those interested in the golden age of wind-powered sea travel will get the chance to travel back in time with tours of these ships from July 14 to July 19.

The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which owns and operates the ships, will offer both tours and cruises on the vessels.

  Three-hour battle sails will take passengers through simulated naval warfare using the ships’ five-pound, black powder cannons (don’t worry, they will be firing blanks). Expert sailors will guide the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain on close-quarters maneuvers at 2 p.m. on July 17 and 18.

  In addition to evening sails on July 16 and July 19, guides dressed in period clothing will give tours of the two ships when they are docked at the Blaine Marina from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 15 and 16 and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 17 and 18.

  The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority built the brig Lady Washington and launched her on March 16, 1989.

The vessel is a full-size, wooden replica of the first American sailing ship to make landfall on the west coast of North America. The Lady Washington is 112 feet long; about the a third of the length of a football field.

  In nautical terms, a brig is a vessel with two square-rigged masts. The shorter mast toward the bow of the ship is called the foremast. The tallest mast, called the main mast, sits at the center of the vessel.

Launched in 1988, the topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain is a replica of a turn-of-the-19th century European merchant trading vessel. In 2004, The Seaport Authority bought the ship, which was built of steel in Hawaii.

A ketch refers to a sailing ship with two masts, one taller and closer to the bow of the ship than the other. The shorter mast, called the mizzen, on a ketch is behind the main mast but forward of the rudder. The main mast of a topsail ketch has an additional sail added above the main sail.

For more information, visit www.historicalseaport.org call 800/200-5239.