Floating history

Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

With massive, fossil-fueled vessels ruling today's modern seas, it's humbling to be reminded of the wind-powered tall ships of the past.

Del Norters will have that chance next week when the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, high-masted replicas of past maritime ships, return April 21andndash;28.

The two ships will tie up at Crescent City Harbor and offer public walk-on tours, two-hour and three-hour excursions, and Kandndash;12 education programs.

Onboard tours of the yachts of yore will be offered for a $3 donation at select times.

Those who would rather hit the high seas in the tall ships can board one of the vessels for a "Battle Sail," the ships' most popular program. Cannons using real gun powder (but no cannon balls) will be used for an 18th-century naval skirmish. Tickets, $43andndash;$63, are on sail now.

Crews encourage guests to verbally taunt their adversaries, and only one ship will be declared victor.

If explosions aren't your thing, raise a sail, learn to sing a sea shanty or take the helm of a real tall ship during a family-friendly "Evening Sail" or "Adventure Sail" for $33-$43 on April 23, 26 or 27.

Lady Washington was constructed in 1989 as a replica of one of the first U.S. flagged ships to visit the West Coast of North America in the 18th century. The original Lady Washington transported freight between colonial ports until the American Revolutionary War, when she became a privateer and explored Oregon, Washington and British Columbia in search of furs.

It was the first American vessel to make landfall on the West Coast and first to visit Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan.

The 112-foot boat has appeared in several movies, including "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

The Hawaiian Chieftain, built of steel in 1988, is a replica of a typical European merchant trader around the turn of the 19th century. Her hull and rigging are similar to Spanish ships used to explore California, Oregon and Washington in the late 18th century.

Slots are still available for one-hour dockside and three-hour sailing programs for K-12 students and home-school groups. Special discounts may be available for qualified public schools. For information and to book a program, contact Roxie Underwood, runderwood@historicalseaport.org, 800-200-5239.

Purchase tickets for all excursions by visiting www.historicalseaport.org or by calling 800-200-5239.

Reach Adam Spencer at aspencer@triplicate.com .

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Thursday October 27, 2016

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