Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Lady Washington

The original Lady Washington was built in the 1750’s as a single masted 90 ton sloop in Massachusetts. Named in honor of Martha Washington, she was used to carry freight and goods between the colonies. When the American Revolutionary War broke out she became a privateer.

In 1787, after the war, the Lady Washington was refitted with two masts and set sail on an epic trading voyage that would take her around Cape Horn and up the west coast of the America’s to become the first American ship to make landfall in the Pacific Northwest in 1788. This was about 20 years before President Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the west coast.

The Lady was originally captained by Robert Gray, then by John Kendrick, captain of the Columbia Rediviva. The Lady Washington would then head from Oregon and Washington further up the coast to the Nootka Sound inlet between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia then west to Honolulu, Hong Kong, and Japan trading furs acquired from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

The Lady Washington on Lake Union, Seattle, September 2011.

The ship is an exact full-scale replica and was built in Aberdeen, Washington by the nonprofit Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority and launched on March 7, 1989. The Lady Washington has an amazing and colorful history and was a Pan-Pacific trade pioneer. She was researched with great care and built to exacting detail to celebrate the 1989 Washington State Centennial.

About 10 years ago she was in Kirkland, Washington as part of the 4th of July celebration. A friend and I got to spend several hours on her sailing around Lake Washington and later at sunset we watched the fireworks from on board in Moss Bay. A thrill of a lifetime!

The Lady Washington in Kirkland, 4th of July 2000.

The Lady would later star in the movie: Star Trek Generations, then in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The Lady Washington is a frequent visitor to west coast port towns and in early October 2011 and into spring 2012 she will be visiting several cities along the California coast.

Originally posted on Activerain.

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