Public Can Take Tours, Participate in “Battle Sails”
Two historic tall ships are scheduled to arrive at the Port of Redwood City March 31 to provide educational opportunities for school children and free ship visits during scheduled times during the vessels’ stay to April 14.
Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are “open” for public tours April 1-3 and April 7-10 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 4-5 from 9 a.m. to noon, and April 11-12 from noon to 3 p.m. Though the tours are free, the sponsors ask for a voluntary $3 per person donation. Guests are free to explore the tall ships at their own pace. Crew members in 18th century-style costume are glad to answer questions and talk about the ships and their lives aboard.
The public also can purchase tickets for popular three-hour “Battle Sails” that feature booming cannons, close-quarters maneuvers, and a taste of 18th century maritime life aboard tall ships. A ticket is required for all passengers, including babes in arms. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
- April 4, 2015 @ 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
- April 11 @ 5 pm to 8 pm
- April 12 @1:30 to 4:30
Tickets range from $39 and $75 and can be purchased online at
About the Lady Washington:
The Lady Washington was built in Aberdeen, Wash., by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, and launched on March 7, 1989. The new Lady Washington is a full-scale replica of the original Lady Washington. In 1787, after the war, she was given a major refit to prepare her for a unprecedented trading voyage around Cape Horn. In 1788, she became the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America. A pioneer in Pan-Pacific trade, she was the first American ship to visit Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan. Lady Washington opened the black pearl and sandalwood trade between Hawaii and Asia when King Kamehameha became a partner in the ship.
The modern Lady Washington was thoroughly researched by historians and constructed by skilled shipwrights. She was launched as part of the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration. The new Lady Washington is a U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified passenger sailing vessel. Over the years, Lady Washington has appeared in several motion pictures and television shows, including Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek: Generations, Once Upon A Time, and Revolution.
About the Hawaiian Chieftain:
Built of steel in Hawaii in 1988 and originally designed for cargo trade among the Hawaiian Islands, naval architect Raymond H. Richards’ design for Hawaiian Chieftain was influenced by the early colonial passenger and coastal packets that traded among Atlantic coastal cities and towns. The coastal packet service was part of the coasting trade based on mercantile activity of the developing seaboard towns. The early packet ships were regular traders and were selected because they sailed remarkably well and could enter small ports with their shallow draft. Out of the gradual development of the Atlantic packet ship hull form evolved the ship design practices that helped produce some of the best of the clipper ships of the later 1850s.
Hawaiian Chieftain was commissioned by Laurence H. “Baron” Dorcy, Jr., and constructed by Drake Thomas, owner of Lahaina Welding Co., Ltd. on the island of Maui. An article by artist and historian Herb Kane about Maui’s King Kahekili was Thomas’ inspiration for the name “Hawaiian Chieftain.” Hawaiian Chieftain then sailed to Tahiti, other destinations in the South Pacific, and San Francisco. The ship was purchased by Capt. Ian MacIntyre of Central Coast Charters in Sausalito.
In 1993, Lady Washington joined Hawaiian Chieftain for their first mock sea battle on San Francisco Bay. Hawaiian Chieftain now joins Lady Washington in educational cruises and ambassadorial visits along the west coast throughout the year. Hawaiian Chieftain also makes solo port visits as a sail training and education vessel. Hawaiian Chieftain is a U.S. Coast Guard inspected and certified passenger sailing vessel.
During its stay at the Port of Redwood City the vessels will present programs to hundreds of school children from Redwood City and surrounding area schools.
A spokesperson said, “Each year we engage more than 9,000 students in our ‘Voyages of Discovery’ programs on Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. Our hands-on experiential programs are designed to meet state standards for grades 4, 5, and 6, but the programs can be tailored to the needs and interests of any age group in grades K-12.”
There are two levels that are offered to schools:
Dockside Programs: one-hour dockside Voyages of Discovery education programs provide students guided interactive exploration of one of the ships to discover fundamentals of the age of sail. After dividing into watches, students explore different parts of the vessel as they move through three learning stations. Knowledgeable deckhand/educators engage students at “Life of a Sailor” on the bow, “Life of an Officer” on the aft deck, and “Early Trade” in the hold below deck.
Sailing Programs: The three-hour Voyages of Discovery educational sails offer an experience that cannot be simulated in any classroom. After a brief safety class, students work cooperatively to set and trim the sails that carry their
beautiful tall ship through the water. After engines are shut off, students break into watch groups that rotate through three learning stations, each one focused on a different aspect of maritime history.
- Life of a Sailor: This station takes place on the bow with one of our experienced deckhand/educators. The station focuses on the tasks and life of a common sailor in the 1800s. Students learn about the food, conditions, and skills that carried men across the sea for hundreds of years.
- Life of an Officer: On the aft deck with the captain and mate, the watch group presides over the whole ship and they learn an officer’s responsibilities. Students study the science of finding speed, depth, direction, and keeping time in an age when many sailors couldn’t read or write. The station makes clear the importance of education. Conditions permitting, the students are encouraged to take the helm to get a sense of what it’s like to steer a tall ship under sail.
- Early Trade: Students descend below decks into the main hold and great cabin to learn about the cargo and trade routes of our ancestors and still used today by container ships and bulk carriers. Deckhand/educators bring this history to life with artifacts and maps.
Editor’s Note: A tall ship is a large traditionally-rigged sailing vessel. “Tall ship” is a general term. A tall ship can also be a barque, schooner, brigantine, barquentine, brig, ketch, sloop or full-rigged ship, depending on the number of masts and the cut of the sails.