PORT ORCHARD — Washington state’s official tall ship will visit Port Orchard Marina July 24-27.
The historic sailing ship Lady Washington will be available for tours and sails. Dockside visitors can expect to tour the vessel and talk with the crew; sailing passengers will see the crew in action and experience the ship under wind power.
“They’re incredible, they’re beautiful,” said Kathy Garcia, Port Orchard Marina operations manager. “I’ve been here 17 years and they come either here or to Bremerton almost every year … It certainly attracts people down to the docks. We welcome them and enjoy them everytime they come.”
The Lady Washington typically has a crew of 10 to 14 people, from paid officers to volunteer deckhands and participants in a two-week maritime training program. Some sail for the fun of it, others to learn job skills needed to work in the maritime industry, according to officials with the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, which owns the tall ship.
“Our vessels are a place where anyone can build a home,” said Capt. Ken Lazarus, referring to the Lady Washington and its sister ship, the Hawaiian Chieftain. “You can come aboard for two weeks as a trainee and experience what it’s like to live and work in a closely knit, interdependent community where effort and teamwork are the most valued ‘currency.’
“Some people stay on as long-term volunteers while others launch their careers in the maritime industry from our training. What everyone who crews the boats takes away is a sense of camaraderie, connection, and belonging.”
Zachary Stocks, program development officer, added, “Every year, we bring about 9,000 students from Washington, Oregon and California aboard for our ‘Voyage of Explorers’ field trip, which is a hands-on maritime heritage program. The program operates mainly during the school year, although we offer it at every port we visit.”
Besides representing part of Washington’s maritime history, the Lady Washington is part of Hollywood history, too. Launched in 1989 as part of Washington state’s centennial, the wooden-hulled tall ship has appeared in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Star Trek Generations” and “Once Upon A Time.”
Besides treading the same decks as Captain Jack Sparrow, coming aboard the Lady Washington — either as a visitor or crew member — offers individuals an opportunity to experience first-hand the Age of Sail.
Say “tall ship” and “some people imagine a modern ship, or a Navy cutter,” said Brandi Bednarik, executive director of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport. “ ‘Pirate ship’ comes pretty close, but it leaves out the truth of why ships like these sailed — mostly for trade, exploration, and in military action. Our mission is to share this history with the American public.”
Schedule and tickets
Following Lady Washington’s visit to Port Orchard, the ship will visit Gig Harbor from July 28 to Aug. 1. Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will visit Brownsville Marina Aug. 8-10.