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Tall ships planning picking up at harbor

By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

Starting from a new beginning, planning for May's tall ships event is underway under the helm of Larry Lakes and Bryan O'Callahan.

The men, representing Rural Human Services and Del Norte Historical Society, met with Crescent City Harbor commissioners Tuesday at their board meeting. Lakes and O'Callahan will be sharing directorship duties, and have held three meetings during as many weeks to coordinate their initial plans.

The new iteration of the festival, known under the working name of Tall Ships Project, started with the good news that both vessels will be in port Tuesday, May 1 until they leave at 5 p.m. the following Sunday.

Most likely the stately vessels Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will moor at the harbor's Work Dock, because the harbor is deeper there and to ensure better crowd control during the 5-day festival.

Without dredging the harbor, it's not guaranteed that Lady Washington, whose draft is greater, will be able to navigate to a different dock.

Commissioner Mauro Diero said that since the harbor hasn't been dredged in "several years," that working with the tides is a better plan than hoping dredging will be done before May.

The ships' captains are likely to enter and leave on the high tide to further guarantee there won't be depth problems for them.

"No one asked me about the depth until now," said Harbormaster Richard Young.

Added commissioner Patrick Bailey, "They'll be fine on the high water."

Lakes and O'Callahan are negotiating with a "major" funder, whose name is not being disclosed.

"It's hard to build from this point, so close to the festival," said Lakes. "We know we want to make this an annual event and plan not to lose money."

So far plans include educational programs for about 300 children, and a donation effort to guarantee they will all be able to afford the programs, various sails, including a battle re-enactment, and the availability of food and souvenir vendors.

"To see this so organized is refreshing," Diero said.

November damage hits ¬Ďabout' $5 million

On another note, Young will meet with a representative of California Office of Emergency Services to talk through a revised estimate of November tsunami-related damage to the harbor.

His initial estimate of slightly more than $1 million was not high enough to be considered for Federal Emergency Management Agency help.

Diero said that once crews began removing portions of the damaged docks, underwater damage they hadn't seen before became apparent.

The harbor's damage estimate has soared to "about $5 million" because of the recent discovery, Young said.

 


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