'Pirate' ships docking at Pier 40

February 17, 2009 12:19:19 PM PST
Bay Area residents with a taste for the pirate's life will have a chance to survey the Bay from the highest yard of a main mast when two tall ships dock in San Francisco for a two-week port-of-call beginning Thursday.

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The "Lady Washington," the official ship of the state of Washington and a replica of a tall ship of the same name that claimed to be first American vessel to make landfall on the West Coast of North America in 1788, will accompany the topsail ketch "Hawaiian Chieftain" at Pier 40 on the San Francisco waterfront from Feb. 19 to March 5.

While in port, both ships will offer the public three-hour "battle sails" featuring live cannon fire and family-oriented "adventure sails." While anchored, "tours aloft" will invite seafarers of any age to climb the rigging to the top of the main masts, 89 feet on the "Lady Washington" and 75 feet on the "Hawaiian Chieftain," according to the seaport authority.

The trip aloft will cost about $20 and be supported by a full body harness secured by crewmembers.

Specific tour hours and ticket prices are available on the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority Web site at www.historicalseaport.org.

The ships have already set sail for the Bay Area, and, weather permitting, will dock at about 5 p.m. Thursday.

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