Tall ships to dock in Sequim only during visit this week
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The Lady Washington is a replica of a historic ship of the same name. This ship and the Hawaiian Chieftain will be at John Wayne Marina on Tuesday night for a several-day visit, offering tours and sailings.

By Jeremy Schwartz
and Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

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The only opportunity on the North Olympic Peninsula for tours and sails aboard the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain this summer will be in Sequim.

The Lady Washington, the state's official ship, and her companion ship, Hawaiian Chieftain, will visit Sequim's John Wayne Marina from Tuesday through Thursday.

The ships will not stop in Port Angeles of Port Townsend this summer.

They will travel north to Bellingham on Thursday.

A replica of the original Lady Washington, which was the first American-flagged ship to visit Japan in 1791, this ship, built in Aberdeen, was launched March 7, 1989.

The Hawaiian Chieftain was built in Hawaii in 1988, but its design was influenced by the early colonial passenger and coastal packets, according to the historic seaport society.

The ships won't be in Port Angeles because a floating dock that allowed public access off City Pier in the downtown is not available.

“The city [of Port Angeles] took out a floating dock that we needed to tie up to,” said Joe Follansbee, communications director for the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Society, which manages the historic ships.

“That's why we moved to Sequim. We still wanted to be in the area.”

Follansbee said this summer will be the first time since 2009 the tall ships have not visited Port Angeles.

“We won't be in Port Angeles until there's a change in the situation at City Pier.”

Corey Delikat, Port Angeles parks and recreation director, said city staff decided against putting movable docks back into service this summer at City Pier because they have fallen into disrepair and could be unsafe.

“I wasn't aware [the tall ships] weren't coming into town,” Delikat said earlier this month. “It's too bad.”

Delikat said he met with a representative from movable dock manufacturer Topper Floats, based in Woodland, about a month ago to discuss replacements for the docks, which will have to be custom built.

“[The representative] is going to give me a wide range of prices,” Delikat said, adding that a dock replacement item worth $700,000 has been on the city's capital facilities plan for years.

The docks will not be replaced later this year, Delikat said, adding that the city simply doesn't have the money.

Delikat said the docks, which were also used by private boaters and the Fiero Marine Life Center for outdoor science classes, had brought in an estimated $3,800 per year in $10-per-boat moorage fees over the past few years.

The tall ships are not charged moorage fees, Delikat added.

Port Angeles Mayor Cherie Kidd said she was disappointed the tall ships will not be visiting Port Angeles this year, though she said she understands the safety concerns that prevented the docks from being reinstalled this summer.

“We can't endanger our citizens by keeping the rickety old [docks] there,” Kidd said.

The Hawaiian Chieftain will be in Port Townsend in September, but that is only to have major maintenance work in the Port Townsend Shipyard.

The Lady Washington will have maintenance done in Aberdeen in September.

“As of today, there will be no opportunity for tours [in Port Townsend in September], but that could change,” Follansbee said.

There is no public availability planned in Port Townsend.

The ships are scheduled to arrive in Sequim late on Tuesday after a transit from Aberdeen. During their stay in Sequim, the vessels will open for public tours and offer an evening sail and a battle sail.

The ships' public schedule:

-- Walk-on tours, boarding the vessels at the dock and meeting crew members in period costumes, are set from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

No reservation is required. A $3 donation per person is requested.

-- An evening sail on the Lady Washington is planned from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The cost is $29 and the sail is open to all ages.

During evening sails, participants have the chance to help raise a sail, learn a sailor's work song and take the helm of a real tall ship, conditions permitting.

-- A battle sail on one of the ships is set for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday.

Prices are $60 for adults, $50 for students/seniors/active military and $40 for children 12 and younger.

Battle sails feature both ships in a mock cannon battle with real cannon, real gunpowder, and authentic 18th-century naval maneuvers.

Purchases of eight or more battle sail tickets in a single order automatically qualify for a 15 percent per ticket discount.

The ships will sail to Bellingham at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The public can spend the night aboard the ships that evening on an overnight, one-way cruise to Bellingham's Squalicum Harbor.

Cruise tickets are $125 each.

Tickets for all excursions are available online at www.historicalseaport.org or by calling 800-200-5239.

Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 08. 2013 8:04AM
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