Tall ships offer history and a good show in Port Angeles; Sequim next stop
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Photo by Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
Jimmy McManus of San Diego, left, takes a rope from a man who identified himself as "Pony" of Norfolk, Va., while working aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain in Port Angeles on Wednesday. McManus said he was tuning the main lower shroud on the ship. The Lady Washington is tied up in the background.
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Photo by Chris Tucker/Peninsula Daily News
Lora Rudzinski with Olympic Christian School walks up stairs leading from belowdecks on the Lady Washington tall ship in Port Angeles on Wednesday.

By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- With their sturdy masts harking back to a time before engines and electronic navigation systems, two tall ships sparked the curiosity of young and old alike on the Port Angeles waterfront Wednesday.

The Lady Washington -- which is the state's official ship and was featured in several movies, including the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy -- and the Hawaiian Chieftain, both tied up at City Pier, attracted a steady flow of visitors.

While on board, they were introduced to the life of sailors more than 150 years ago through the knowledge of their crews.

For Mark Mischke, the ships brought him back to when he worked on a tall ship when he was growing up in Newport Beach, Calif.


'Takes a special person'

"It takes a special person to live on the sea," said Mischke, 57, of Port Angeles. "It's hard work."

The ships, replicas of 18th and 19th century vessels, docked at City Pier on Tuesday afternoon after sailing from Aberdeen.

They will remain in Port Angeles until next Tuesday when they leave for Sequim.

Owned by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, the vessels are traveling the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound offering dockside tours, three-hour sailings, and mock battles.

As Hawaiian Chieftain Capt. Andrew Jagger explained, the purpose of the voyages is to teach a bit of history while putting on a good show.

"Our primary focus is education," he said. "The school kids find it really cool."

So does the crew.

While each ship has a core group of licensed professionals, many of the dozen-or-so crew members are volunteers who signed up for a taste of history and a unique challenge.

"It's just a really interesting thing to be doing," said Kris Fricke, education coordinator.

Fricke said he signed up after getting tired of "boring and mundane" office jobs.

Some, like Jagger, are modern day sailors, working in either the cruise or shipping industries.

"I get to sail and I've got a really cool ship to play with," he said with a smile.


Mock battles

The mock battles -- called battle sails -- which will be held in Port Angeles Harbor at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, are not only a good show, they also test the skills of the crew, Jagger said.

The two ships will jockey for the right wind direction and currents in order to get the upper hand.

The ships will each fire from their 3-pound cannons, aiming for the masts and stern.

No cannon balls are involved, only black powder, Jagger said.

While the winner isn't always quite clear, that doesn't stop the crew members from getting competitive.

"They will be trading insults from ship to ship," Jagger said. "There's a lot of 'scurvy dogs' and such."

The dock-side tours, offered for a requested $3 donation, will continue from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. today, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

A three-hour adventure sail on the Hawaiian Chieftain -- which will feature demonstrations of tall ship handling, sea shanty singing and maritime storytelling -- will leave City Pier at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The ships will dock at the John Wayne Marina near Sequim on Tuesday and offer on-board tours on Wednesday. No sailings are scheduled in Sequim.

Port Ludlow

They will set sail for Port Ludlow, where they are expected to arrive at the Port Ludlow Marina, 1 Gull Drive, for three days April 23 through April 25.

Battle sails are scheduled at 2 p.m. April 24 and 25, and an adventure sail is scheduled aboard the Lady Washington at 10 a.m. April 25.

Dock-side walk-on tours of the ships in Port Ludlow will be from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 23 and form 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24 and 25.

Tickets were still available Thursday for all the North Olympic Peninsula battle sails, adventure sails and passages -- although some were filling up quickly.

Passages can be booked between Port Angeles and Sequim, between Sequim and Port Ludlow, and between Port Ludlow and Friday Harbor. Tickets are $135.

Battle sale tickets are $60 for adults, $50 for students, seniors and active military, and $40 for children 12 and younger, who must be accompanied by adults.

Adventure sail tickets are $55 for adults, $45 for students, seniors and active military, and $35 for children 12 and under.

Advance tickets can be purchased online at www.historical seaport.org, by phoning 800-200-5239, or from the crew members at the ships.

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Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or at tom.callis@peninsula dailynews.com.

Last modified: April 14. 2010 11:53PM
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