PORT TOWNSEND –– After almost three weeks of work as it received a makeover at the Port of Port Townsend’s Boat Haven, Lady Washington, the state’s official state ship, is back in the water.
Crews from the port loaded the Lady Washington into a boat lift Thursday afternoon and carried it from the boat yard to the dock, where it was eased into Port Townsend Bay.
It sailed around Admiralty Inlet, where the Coast Guard was slated to inspect its seaworthiness, according to Capt. Ken Lazarus.
Today, the ship is expected to head to its home port in Aberdeen under the auspices of Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.
There, the crew will prepare for guest appearances further down the West Coast during autumn and winter.
Workers gave the 25-year-old ship fresh paint while it was on shore and replaced several rotten planks in its hull.
“She’s beginning to look like a brand-new lady,” said Billy Constable, purser of the Lady Washington’s crew.
The ship has been in Port Townsend since it came to make a guest appearance at the Wooden Boat Festival from Sept. 5-7.
Constable said the crew is scheduled to sail to the San Francisco Bay area, where the Lady Washington will spend a month making appearances at harbors on the California coast.
During the ship’s time in Port Townsend, the crew switched from its summer staff to a smaller seven-member winter crew, according to Lazarus.
Launched in 1989 as part of the Washington centennial celebrations, Lady Washington was designed by Ray Wallace as a replica of one of the first U.S. flagged vessels to explore the west coast of North America.
The original Lady Washington was built in the 1750s near Boston and sailed around Cape Horn in 1788 to trade furs with the First Nation people of Vancouver Island.
The modern version is 112 feet long overall, 22 feet wide, and her main mast rises 89 feet from the water.
The ship was named the state’s tall-ship ambassador by the Legislature in 2007 and sails to more than 40 ports a year in Washington, Oregon and California.
The ship has appeared in several movies, including “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in 2003.
________Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.