In need of actual experience onboard a sailing vessel, a brig to be exact, Linda and I took off over the weekend and headed for Redwood City. The Lady Washington was in port for a few days along with her companion tall ship, the Hawaiian Chieftain.
Both boats travel together to several ports along the West Coast. They are two-masted vessels, which classified them as boats rather than ships in their day. Their homeport is Aberdeen Washington and they belong to Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. Their primary purpose is educating students in the history of merchant trading, and the life of sailors aboard sailing vessels. Also the duties of ships’ officers. They are manned by both professional and volunteer crew. They take on volunteers for two-week tours and the lucky ones who apply may be hired. You could tell the professionals from the volunteers by the blisters on their hands.
The original Washington was built in 1787 and started her maiden voyage from Boston Harbor. She was the first American vessel to reach Japan, and the first American flagged vessel to round Cape Horn. She was also the first recorded vessel to land in Oregon. She foundered and sank near Luzon, Philippines, in 1797.
Lady Washington was launched in 1989. She was modeled after the Washington, named after former First Lady, Martha. She is a square-rigged boat, which categorizes her as a brig. She’s 68 feet long, and 90 feet to the top of her rigging, with an 11-foot draft. And she has a 178-ton load capacity.
Besides her exhibition and education duties, the Lady Washington was cast in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, as HMS Interceptor. She was also the Enterprise on the holodeck of Star Trek Generations. She was used as a model for RLS Legacy in the Disney Animation, Treasure Planet, and used as Captain Hook’s boat on the TV series, Once Upon A Time.
It was a beautiful day in Redwood City, actually too beautiful. What does it take to sail a sailboat? You got it. Wind. There was no appreciable wind that day. We motored out of the bay, then the crew dutifully unfurled the sails, neither a quick nor easy task. Windless, and on smooth as glass sea, the captain had to keep the engine running to counter the current drift.
Alas, in spite of Mother Nature’s unwillingness to cooperate, it was an interesting, informative, and fun day. And the captain kept a ship-shape boat, I might add. There were only two floggings of the crew and one Keelhauling of a passenger. I volunteered Linda, but she resisted. Just kidding. Nary a crew or passenger was tortured on this good boat. ARR.
We stayed at the Marriott TownPlace Suites in Redwood City for two nights. I wouldn’t categorize them as luxurious, but the rooms were large, comfortable, and above all, squeaky-clean. The staff was friendly and especially helpful. We had both water and small airport views from our living room and bedroom.
After our cruise, we had the rest of the day free, so decided to drive down to Santa Cruz. The Boardwalk was busy, but not overcrowded this time of year. The beach was well occupied with sunbathers.
We wouldn’t be able to pick up the dogs at the kennel in Vacaville until after 5:00 o’clock. Since it would be foolish to drive all the way to Roseville, then back to Vacaville to get them, we crossed over the hills to Half Moon Bay. From there, we took a leisurely drive up Hwy 1, through San Francisco, then over to the Marin Headlands. The Headlands are a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
California’s coastline can be described with one word: Gorgeous. And it becomes more beautiful as you head north.
We visited the lighthouse at the Headland’s edge. It’s a half-mile hike from the parking lot to the lighthouse. The trail is paved most of the way, but is quite steep in one area. You pass through a tunnel, hand dug in the 1800’s, on the way.
From there, it was North, then East. The scenery became blander, the temperature warmer. Angus and Duffy were overjoyed to see us, and that was the cherry atop the weekend.