Lady Washington, one of the best known tall ships in America, will be making her return visit to Tacoma, WA this month. While in town, the vessel will be docked at Foss Waterway Seaport Museum (705 Dock Street) and will offer educational programs, vessel tours, and sailing trips for the general public and by private charter.
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, the educational non-profit behind the tall ship and its companion vessel Hawaiian Chieftain, is celebrating both vessels’ recent 30th birthdays. The tall ships of Historical Seaport are among the most active educational boats in America, visiting over 30 West Coast communities each year.
Lady Washington is a wooden-hulled vessel built in 1989 in Historical Seaport’s home port of Aberdeen, WA to commemorate the centennial of Washington’s statehood. She is a replica of the 18th century vessel of the same name which was the first American ship to make landfall on the West Coast. Movie fans will recognize Lady Washington from her roles in Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek: Generations, ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and many other features.
The steel-hulled Hawaiian Chieftain was built in 1988 in Lahaina, HI for Laurence “Baron” Dorcy Jr. Its design reflects the packet trader ships that sailed coastal New England in the mid 1800’s. Hawaiian Chieftain was acquired by Historical Seaport from private ownership in 2005. Hawaiian Chieftain is also the host of Historical Seaport’s professional maritime training program The Seafarer Collective. Hawaiian Chieftain will not be visiting Tacoma this month.
Wednesday through Friday, schools can reserve a trip aboard the tall ship for Historical Seaport’s original maritime heritage field trip Voyage of Explorers. On weekends the tall ships are open to the general public for ticketed Adventure Sails and Evening Sails, and occasional special events. Vessel Tours, which happen aboard the tall ship as its docked in port, take place Friday through Sunday by a $5 suggested donation. Lady Washington can also be Chartered for private events including weddings, parties, and films.
For tickets and more information about Grays Harbor Historical Seaport and its tall ships –including crewing and Membership opportunities– guests should visit their website at historicalseaport.org or call (800) 200-5239.
Tacoma Tall Ship Schedule: (Updated 6.4.19, 1:10 PM)
Tickets available for purchase here:
– Grays Harbor Historical Seaport
Lady Washington: Pacific Ocean explorer and trader
The original Lady Washington story begins with an accidental discovery after the death of the English explorer, Captain James Cook. His mission to find the Northwest Passage from the Pacific Ocean across North America was unsuccessful. Instead the sailors of his ship discovered the high value of sea otter skins, which they acquired from indigenous hunters in the Pacific Northwest, and subsequently sold in China. John Ledyard, one of Cook’s marines, returned to his home in Connecticut with dreams of fortunes to be made in the new fur trade. Ledyard spent the rest of his life lobbying rich and influential citizens of the new United States to take advantage of this “soft gold.”
Shortly before Ledyard’s death, a group of Boston merchants led by Joseph Barrel financed a trading mission to the Pacific Northwest. They outfitted the 212-ton ship Columbia Rediviva, with Captain John Kendrick as master, and a coastal tender, the sloop Lady Washington, commanded by Captain Robert Gray. Departing from Boston on September 30, 1787, the two vessels sailed around Cape Horn loaded with trade goods.
– Grays Harbor Historical Seaport
(Updated 6.4.19, 1:10 PM)