Tall ships coming to Port of Brownsville

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Drop your mitt, stretch your sea legs and for one day be a Brownsville Mariner, baseball fans, because the M’s are about done and two tall ships — the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain — will sail into the Port of Brownsville Marina Monday, Aug. 25. They’ll stay through Thursday, Aug. 28.

Owned by Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Society, both vessels will dock and open their sails to the public for dockside tours and three “Battle Sails,” giving visitors a first-hand mock experience of life as an 18th-century mariner.

“We invite people aboard to learn about how seamen lived in 18th-century times,” said Joe Follansbee, spokesman for the Historical Seaport Society. “There’s an opportunity to get a feel for what 18th-century maritime was all about.”

On the Battle Sails, crew members in 18th-century costume welcome visitors aboard for a three-hour sailing that includes the firing of 18th-century cannons.

Legislature passed a bill in 2007 dubbing the Lady Washington the Official Ship of the State of Washington. First launched in 1989, the 112-foot ship is a replica of the original Lady Washington, built in the British Colony of Massachusetts during the 1750s to carry freight between colonial ports. In 1788, it became America’s first ship to make landfall on the west coast of North America.

The Hawaiian Chieftain, meanwhile, was built in 1988 and purchased by the Historical Seaport Society in 2004. A replica of a typical European merchant trader, the vessel’s hull shape is similar to those of 18th-century Spanish explorer ships.

“It’s really a modern ship made to look like an old-time ship,” Follansbee said.

Today, both vessels visit about 40 ports a year in Washington, California, Oregon and British Columbia.

This will be the duo’s third visit to the Port of Brownsville, according to Follansbee, and probably not the last.

“It’s something we hope to make a tradition,” he said.

This summer, the vessels have visited ports in Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Coupeville, Port Townsend, Olympia, Blaine and Bellingham, among others, and additional stops also are scheduled.

After summer, the Lady and Hawaiian sail south to California where they spend the colder months sailing with students.

“We teach students, in a hands-on way, how mariners lived,” Follansbee said.

The volunteers, Follansbee added, are there to educate people on maritime tradition.

“Education is the core part of our mission,” he said.

Dockside walk-on tours are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 26 and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 27. A $3 donation is appreciated.

Battle Sails — reservations are recommended — are slated for 6-9 p.m. Aug. 26, 2-5 p.m. Aug. 27 and 6-9 p.m. Aug. 27.

Tickets are $60 per adult, $50 for seniors, students and active military, and $40 for children younger than 12. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 200-5239 or online at

The Port of Brownsville Marina is located at 9790 Ogle Road NE between Keyport and Bremerton.

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