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Lady Washington Sets Sail for Wooden Boat Festival

The brig Lady Washington, the official ship of Washington state, will appear at the 38th Annual Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend. The ship arrives in Port Townsend Sept. 3 and will offer tours and excursions during the festival dates of September 5-7. The square-rigged vessel will berth at the Northwest Maritime Center dock. The appearance is the first by the ship at the festival in several years. Lady Washington is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her launch this year. Here’s a schedule of events for the ship:

9/5: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., walk-on tours, $3 donation.
9/5: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Adventure Sail, $43 all ages.
9/6-7: 9 a.m. to noon, walk-on tours, $3 donation.
9/6: 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Schooner Race Viewing, $75 all ages.
9/7: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Festival Sail-By, $75 all ages.

An Adventure Sail is a family-oriented experience with opportunities to help raise a sail, learn a sea shanty, or take the helm of a real tall ship, conditions permitting. Tickets are $43 for all ages. The Schooner Race Viewing excursion allows guests to watch the Northwest Schooner Cup regatta from the deck of a real tall ship. Lady Washington departs the dock at 1:30 p.m. The regatta begins at 3 p.m. The Festival Sail-By excursion allows guests to take part in the Wooden Boat Festival Sail-By aboard Lady Washington. The sail-by features many of the largest and most historic vessels in the festival fleet. Lady Washington departs the dock at 2 p.m. The sail-by starts at 3 p.m. Tickets for the Schooner Race Viewing and the Festival Sail-By excursions are $75.

Please arrive for excursions 30 minutes before departure. Purchase of an excursion ticket does not include festival admission. Passengers who do not have festival tickets will be asked to wait at the gate for an escort.

Tickets for all Lady Washington excursions may be purchased online or by calling 800-200-5239. Tickets for the festival itself are available at www.nwmaritime.org.

Tall Ships Schedule September Return to Grays Harbor Ports

Grays Harbor’s two tall ships return to their home port of Aberdeen next month for public tours and sailings before heading to California for their 2014-2015 tour of Golden State ports. Hawaiian Chieftain arrives at Seaport Landing on Sept. 4 for brief stay through Sept. 7. In addition to making final preparations for California, she’ll offer public tours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as well as public Adventure Sails at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6 and Sunday, Sept. 7. Tickets are $43 all ages.

Lady Washington arrives at Seaport Landing Sept. 16 for a 17-day stay in Grays Harbor, including two days at Westport Sept. 27-28. During her time at Seaport Landing, crews on Lady Washington will conduct routine maintenance and offer public tours and excursions. The ship is open for tours Tuesday to Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Here’s the Lady Washington excursion schedule:

9/20-21: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Adventure Sail, $43. (Seaport Landing)
9/27-28: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Adventure Sail, $43. (Westport Marina)

Purchase tickets online or call 800-200-5239.

Lady Washington is also booking K-12 educational programs for Grays Harbor County schools. One-hour dockside and three-hour sailing programs are available. Discounted pricing is also available for eligible schools. For information, contact Roxie Underwood, 800-200-5239, runderwood@historicalseaport.org.

Lady Washington’s visit to Westport coincides with the third annual Salmon Tales Festival, a celebration of the region’s iconic fish and the local fishing industry. Festival information is at http://salmontales.info/.

Aberdeen (Seaport Landing)

Westport (Westport Marina)

Tall Ships’ Fall 2014 Schedule of California Stops Announced

The tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain have announced stops for their Fall 2014 tour of California ports. Lady Washington will arrive in the San Francisco Bay Area October 10 visit six ports on the California coast through December 16, 2014. Here is Lady Washington’s schedule:

10/10-19: Oakland
10/20-11/5: San Francisco
11/6-19: Half Moon Bay
11/20-30: Moss Landing
12/2-8: Morro Bay
12/10-16: Long Beach

Hawaiian Chieftain arrives in the San Francisco Bay Area Sept. 12. The ship will travel up the Sacramento River and spend several more weeks in Sacramento than in past years due to high demand for her K-12 education programs.

9/12-14: Oakland
9/16-21: Antioch
9/22-12/5: Sacramento
12/10-16: Long Beach

Educators and home-school groups can learn more about reserving space for education programs by contacting the Historical Seaport at 800-200-5239. Schools designated as Title I by the U.S. Department of Education may be eligible for significant discounts on education programs. For more information, visit the Historical Seaport Education Programs page.

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain visit California ports from September through April each year, bringing hands-on living history experiences to young people in more than a dozen ports on California’s coast.

Seaport Landing Needs Volunteers for ‘Salty Saturdays’ Parties

Seaport Landing is asking members of the Grays Harbor community to volunteer their time to prepare Lady Washington’s home for her 25th anniversary celebration. The Historical Seaport, which operates Seaport Landing, has scheduled “Salty Saturdays” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on every Saturday through December.

Inside and outside projects are available, and volunteers will be assigned a project by a Seaport Landing staff member. Volunteers should dress warmly, even for indoor projects, and bring their own garden tools for outdoor work. For more information, prospective volunteers should contact Randy Beerbower, community outreach lead, 360-532-8611, rbeerbower@historicalseaport.org. Seaport Landing is located at 500 N. Custer Street in South Aberdeen, the former Weyerhaeuser sawmill.

Lady Washington was launched on March 7, 1989, and the Historical Seaport is celebrating the 25th anniversary of her launch throughout 2014. The ship, along with Hawaiian Chieftain, is scheduled to return to Seaport Landing on June 5.


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A California Transit from Eureka to Crescent City

By Monica “Buttercup” Schumacher

Monica Schumacher, known to her shipmates as “Buttercup,” crewed on Hawaiian Chieftain as steward and education coordinator in spring 2014.

Monica Schumacher

Monica Schumacher

The last ride from Eureka to Crescent City was supposed to be hellish. Scheduled to depart on a Monday, we held back a day, despite our program requiring our prompt arrival, and left before light had hit the sky Tuesday morning. The Coast Guard wasn’t answering the radio to tell us we could leave or what the conditions were at the sand bar crossing. Eventually we got a hold of them, and they reported a difficult crossing, but the reality right before our eyes was quite different. It was a perfect time to cross, so we let them know the conditions and referred the information to our other ship, Lady Washington, as well. Motoring out over the growing waves, we gathered on the deck in our foulies and life jackets, expecting a tough transit. According to reports we’d observed, the waves that day would be washing all the way up to the quarter deck. We were as prepared as we could be, lifelines readied and watches scheduled, everyone dreading the next twelve to twenty-four hours.

My watch wasn’t until noon, so I stayed out for breakfast and watched the lovely yellow and peach-colored sunrise over the ocean before heading below to my bunk to nap. Trying to fall asleep, my mind played through all the things our captain, J.B. Morrison, had said about this transit. It’s hard to describe how incredibly wet and cold it is to stand on deck against the wind, with freezing whips of rain and salt spray coating you and everything you touched. On my second transit, we slept in layers of salt, stood watch washed back and forth by icy waves, which reached up to us on our perch on the quarter deck, battled the wind and waves throwing the helm hard at each turn, and staggered boot deep in sea whenever we crossed the main deck on our boat check. J.B. said this transit would be worse. I willed myself to rest, knowing every ounce of energy would be my ally.

I was rocked to sleep by the ocean.

There were several dreams, and light sleep, as heavy rest is not reliable when listening for possible alarms and the need to run up on deck at a moment’s notice, and finally I woke up, quietly awaiting my wake up call for my watch. I felt the ocean swaying around me, not tossing this way and that as it usually did. I hoped, I hoped this meant the sea was being kind to us today.

My shipmate Dave came up and called to me from outside my bunk curtain, “Monica, Monica?”

“Yes?” I answered, pulling back the curtain.

He was grinning. That was a good sign, or maybe I just had serious bedhead. “It’s 10 minutes till your lunch and 40 minutes until your watch. Also, it’s beautiful out there! Just beautiful!”

“Ooo!” I twittered, still not awake enough for concrete word responses. I was excited and simultaneously dubious about what “beautiful” meant.

“We should be there in four hours. During your watch. We are making such good time!” said Dave, as he headed off to complete his boat check.

I started piling on my layers, union suit, pj pants, pants, long sleeved sweater, wool coat, foulies, boots, and grabbed my harness. Just as I was heading up to deck, a crew member was walking down from the main deck, clad only in a t-shirt and his long underwear.

“You’re not going to need those,” he said, indicating my foulies and multiple layers.

I stripped off my foulies, but still was not trusting that the layers were not necessary.

When I got up on deck, there was a long underwear party in full effect.

Only the captain still had his work pants on.

The sun was shining, the wind was favorable, and the waves were rolling us along under fluffy white clouds. I felt out of place. I got my lunch, and after I ate, it became quite clear I was wearing much too much. I removed pants and pj pants, all the way down to my bright red union suit.

The first mate put me on the helm to steer, and my red bottom was set up on the pedestal as we rode along.

While I studied the compass with the rolling of the waves, the captain noted a southerly wind and mused about setting out the stuns’ls and the raffee. His musing quickly became a reality, as he told the crew members on deck to go retrieve these sails from the lazarette. I still stood steering in my red onesie and wool jacket, as pants were pulled back on and hands went aloft to let out the mains’ls.

Lines were thrown down from the yards, caught and tied on the foredeck, as I steered along our course. I started to worry I’d be entirely left out of the sail setting process, when J.B. turned to me and told me to relieve our first mate, Patty, at catching the lines. I ran up, still in onesie, caught some lines, and tied them off on the windlass, then answered the captain’s call for me to go cast gaskets on the course yard, about to go aloft in just my onesie. I ran back, pulled pants and harness on, laughing and feeling heat in my cheeks, then headed up the rigging, yelling, “Laying aloft!”

I had never been aloft on a seaway.

I moved slower up the rigging than I did when we were docked, testing my way as the lean of the waves affected my climb. It was not difficult, just new. Once I got to the course yard, I was told to climb out onto it and cast gaskets. I stared out over the ocean, and stretched my leg out to the foot rope, and locking my harness into the back rope before setting it behind me. I lurched forward, grasping the yard with as much contact and control I could muster. After a breath or two, I started untying the gasket coils to let the sail unfurl, traveling almost all the way out to the end of the yard. It was beautiful, exhilarating, and terrifying up there. When Patty lay out on the foot rope, I lurched again, still not used to the way the rope drew taut and tight and pulled my legs nearly into the splits when they had sat in a relaxed sort of squat a second before. We unfurled the sail, then lay off, climbing back down to the deck. I shouted as I got down from the rigging, “Back on deck, last on the main!”

Then we went to setting the stuns’ls and raffee, tying lines to sails pulled out of our storage space. We mis-set them a few times, but at long last, the sails were up and shining in the afternoon sun. We were sailing in a seaway: Triangle-shaped sail set on top of three square sails, with two rectangle sails to fill out the sides, raffee, upper mains’l, lower mains’l, course, and stuns’ls. Any ship who saw us would have fallen instantly in love at our glorious mating display.

We sailed for a little over an hour, watching the wind billow in our sails, dodging crab pots, and grinning in the cool sunlight. The captain had the helm, and guided us up to the red buoys, marking our entrance into Crescent City Harbor. All hands went to furling the sails as quickly as a group of wet behind the ears trainees and years of experience sailors ever could. Then we motored into their harbor, which was full to the gills with fishing boats.

In the harbor, J.B. steered our ship around a buoy marking a submerged rock washed over to our coast from the tsunami, turned her around and called hands to fenders on port side. Fenders were tied off, mooring lines prepared and then tossed to the dock, and we pulled her nice and tight and close in.

We’d made it, on a beautiful sail, to the windy land of Crescent City.