The Lady Washington, launched in 1989 in Historical Seaport’s home port of Aberdeen, Wash., is in Steveston for that community’s Maritime Festival. Movie fans will recognize Lady Washington from her roles in Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek: Generations, and ABC’s Once Upon a Time, which was filmed in Steveston.
Francis Georgian / Postmedia News
Steveston will be booming Sunday night when an epic battle breaks out on the mighty Fraser River.The Richmond Maritime Festival, held along the boardwalk of the historic fishing village, is expected to draw 40,000 people over the weekend. The growing event now spans Garry Point Park and Imperial Landing.For its 16th year, the festival has rolled out the red carpet for the Lady Washington, an immensely popular tall ship operated by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority.The 34-metre vessel, built in Aberdeen, Wash., and launched in 1989, is a full-scale replica of the original Lady Washington. In 1788, it became the first U.S. trading vessel to round Cape Horn at the southern tip of Chile, and travel the west coast.It is a popular set piece in Hollywood, appearing in the 1994 film Star Trek Generations as the USS Enterprise’s brig, and in the first Pirates of the Caribbean film as the HMS Interceptor in 2003.The Lady Washington arrived in Steveston on Thursday, after more than half a year of customs paperwork, and is docked at Imperial Landing (4310 Bayview St.). There, festivalgoers can take tours of its deck and learn about its history from the friendly crew.
Lady Washington is a wooden-hulled ship built in 1989 in Historical Seaport’s home port of Aberdeen, WA to commemorate the centennial of Washington’s statehood.
Francis Georgian /
On Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. — tours will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — the crew will engage local tall ship Providence in a simulated battle, blasting cannons and outmanoeuvring one another to score points.Tickets to board the boats for the battle are sold out but there will be plenty of space for spectators at Garry Point Park, where 25 food trucks will be open and entertainers will roam.Capt. Robert Neel, 30, has commanded the Lady Washington on and off since 2017, after coming on as an engineer and learning the ropes as a deckhand.He and a crew of about a dozen sail up and down the west coast most days of the year, making rare stops in Canada. The vessel is certified to carry up to 45 passengers, too.Lady Washington has 13 sails but sometimes runs a motor to keep its tight schedules, Neel said. It can reach speeds up to nine knots but usually cruises at around four or five.“It’s the most sophisticated boat you’ll ever drive because it’s all voice-activated,” Neel joked. “I yell nice and loud, and the crew does what I ask.”When the crew is not hosting tourists or plying the east Pacific, it’s busy keeping the Lady Washington seaworthy. Lately, they’ve been tarring the deck and black lines to “sunscreen” the vessel.
The Lady Washington is a replica of the 18th century vessel of the same name which was the first American ship to make landfall on the West Coast.
Francis Georgian /
Neel said that in addition to helping share history, ships like the Lady Washington are important for training young sailors.“Most modern navies actually have a very large sailing ship like this, so that they can send out their trainees (to learn) how to go sailing and how traditional things worked before they send them back to the big, modern navy vessels,” he said.Jodie Shebib, film and major event liaison for the City of Richmond, said hosting the Lady Washington is a big deal and should draw plenty of people to Steveston.Other boats have tied up the docks for tours, too. But Shebib said there’s still plenty for landlubbers to enjoy at the festival, including a diverse lineup of musicians, artisans and exhibitors.Doors are wide open at Steveston’s historic sites and local artists have made their mark all along the boardwalk.“The festival itself is a fully interactive site,” Shebib said. “When you come out here, you’re not just coming to watch — you’re going to experience it.”The festival runs Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. Details are at firstname.lastname@example.org/nickeaglandCLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com