Recognizable as the nimble HMS Interceptor in the 2003 Disney movie blockbuster “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the replica tall ship Lady Washington sailed into Pillar Point Harbor this week for a two-week stay. We clambered aboard for a visit.
Capt. Jack Sparrow of Lady Washington’s “Pirates” turn was not aboard, perhaps marooned this time on the Farallon Islands. But a crew of 12 is available to answer questions and provide informal tours through Oct. 29. Adventure sails also are available. Click here for the full schedule.
LADY WASHINGTON STATISTICS
- Length on deck: 67 feet
- Length on the waterline: 72 feet
- Overall length: 112 feet
- Draft (Depth): 11 feet
- Beam (Width): 22 feet
- Mast height: 89 feet
- Displacement: 210 tons
- Gross tonnage: 99 tons
- Total sail area: 4,442 square feet
- Rigging: Approximately six miles
- Guns: two 3-pounders; 2 swivels aft
- Crew compliment: 12
- Passenger capacity: 45
Source: Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority
The Lady Washington is a working full-scale replica of an actual mid-18th century sailing ship. In 1788, the original Lady Washington became the first American ship to drop anchor off what would become the West Coast of the United States. Perhaps the original once visited Half Moon Bay as well.
The keel for the replica was laid in 1989 by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. The Aberdeen, Wash.-based non-profit provides shipboard educational, vocational and recreational opportunities focused on maritime history in the Pacific Northwest.
The ocean off of Half Moon Bay is a bit too rough right now for MontaraManDan and The Geek to attempt an adventure sail. Probably they are a bit too rough for us about 95 percent of the time. (The Geek counts barfing at sea as one of her super powers.) But we did climb aboard the Lady Washington dockside earlier this week during visiting hours to take a look around. The Seaport Authority suggests a $5 donation.
The twin-masted brig is sturdy yet diminutive, with a 67-foot deck and 89-foot masts. The detail is amazing. The first thing we noticed was the complexity of the rigging, involving roughly 6 miles of rope. We also enjoyed learning about the authentic 18th-century windlass used to hoist anchor. No motor here. A crew member told us it takes four of them an hour to hoist the anchor by hand, with two others standing by to be sure it rises smoothly. You can also go below deck and check out a bit of the hold, which contains a small gift shop. The crew bunks below deck, so much of that area is off limits.
Bottom line, check it out if your schedule aligns with available tours. It doesn’t take long. We found the crew hospitable and knowledgeable and anxious to answer our questions. Don’t forget cash to support the project with a donation.
But wait. If the Lady Washington is anchored at Half Moon Bay, what got blown up as the HMS Interceptor by the crew of the Black Pearl in the movie? The Lady Washington crew explained that a highly detailed model of the ship – a small replica of the full-scale replica – was destroyed for the scene. The Lady Washington survived its movie turn intact and sailed back to the Pacific Ocean from the Caribbean via the Panama Canal to return to its educational mission on the West Coast.
Welcome to Half Moon Bay!