Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

Passing by the Crescent City Marina this weekend, one may notice the tall masts of two sailing ships among the fishing boats docked there. The ships are the Lady Washington, and the Hawaiian Chieftain, two tall ships owned by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in Aberdeen Washington.

The captain of the Lady Washington is Cassie Sleeper and the captain of the Hawaiian Chieftain is Brendan Reed. GHHD information Zachary Stocks said each ship has a crew of about a dozen people.

The ships sail year round, but change crews quarterly. Stocks said anyone over age 16 and in good health can sign up to work on the ships after a two-week course.

Stocks noted that while the Lady Washington is a replica of the first U.S. flagged vessel to make landfall on the West Coast, the Hawaiian Chieftain is an original design.

One of the more interesting aspects of the the Hawaiian Chieftain, aside that it’s made of metal rather than wood, is the part you don’t see.

“It was made in Hawaii and made to be taken right up onto the beach,” Stocks said, “so along with our tours of the West Coast, we take her into Sacramento every year.” Not only can the Hawaiian Chieftain sail, but it has two 235-horsepower Volvo engines and holds 1,800 gallons of fuel.

A unique aspect of the Lady Washington is its spritsail, a diagonally mounted sail found on very few ships.

“It’s 90 feet tall,” Stocks said, “and we climb all the way to the top of it all the time.” The lady Washington has been featured in several films, including Pirates of the Caribbean.

Set sail

Each ship will be offering tours, as well as an Adventure Sail and Battle Sail trips lasting a couple hours each.

Stocks described Battle Sail as “raucous and loud,” saying that the two ships sail up beside each other and fire black powder cannons.

“It gets people into the spirit,” he said. “We actually encourage people to cheer and jeer at the other vessel.”

Tours can be made all weekend for a suggested donation of $5, and Battle Sail will embark Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. An Adventure Sail is offered Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 1-800-200-5239 for tickets and information.

Rain expected

Stocks said that those who go on one of the boat’s tours should expect to get wet, and the ships will go out rain or shine. Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Eureka predict rain will last throughout the day.

“Dress warmer than you think you’ll need to and bring sunglasses and hats,” Stocks recommended.

Captains will make the determination of whether or not to go out in bad weather, based on safety. If a sail is canceled, ticket holders will have the option of a refund or exchange. Stocks said those who miss the ships in Crescent City will have another opportunity to see and tour them in Coos Bay April 11-15. For $260 each, passengers can sail on the ship from Crescent City to its next stop in Coos Bay

Much more information about the ships can be found at and class="Apple-converted-space">