A cold breeze rolls down the South Aberdeen waterfront, making mock of the bright sun and clear skies as the crew of the Lady Washington hoist components of the rigging dozens of feet up the mast as the process of getting the ship ready for summer gets underway.
The tall ship will have two weeks of sailings here in Grays Harbor before heading up the coast and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Puget Sound, said the ship’s captain, Katherine Pogue.
“Starting May 10th, we’ll do public sails out of Aberdeen, except Mondays and Tuesdays,” Pogue said in an interview. “On the 23rd we’ll leave for the Sound.”
There will be at least one family sail day, with reduced ticket prices, in Aberdeen before the vessel heads out, said executive director of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, Brandi Bednarik. Free dockside tours will also begin on May 11.
First, though, the crew needs to reassemble all the parts of the ship that are taken apart for winter storage.
Putting on her dancing shoes
Lady Washington overwinters with a cover on to keep off the worst of the rain, with most of the masts broken down. The crew has already taken off the winter cover and is now in the processing of putting the masts back together, Pogue said.
“Some of it is very heavy. It’s all in pieces. The heaviest things we’ll send up are the topmasts,” Pogue said. “It goes pretty fast.”
All of the work is done with muscle power, Pogue said. While the process needs to follow precise steps, it’s a straightforward one.
“I don’t know if anything’s necessarily tricky. Up-rigging is technical. It’s kind of like a fun puzzle, putting it all together,” Pogue said. “The boat stuff is probably the most simple straightforward thing I do.”
Bednarik said she leaves the crew to it.
“It’s fun to watch,” Bednarik said. “I mostly try to stay out of the way.”
Keeping up with the paint, keeping the vessel looking clean and fresh, is a trickier process, Pogue said.
The vessel’s crew of 10 is largely present as well by this point, Pogue said, coming in from other ships or occupations.
“The spring is a lot of coming and going,” Pogue said. “We’re getting people’s schedule set.”
Lady Washington will end this season mooring in Port Orchard, Pogue said. The Lady Washington will go through a scheduled haul-out in Port Townsend in the spring, Pogue said.
Other upcoming seaport events
Alongside the Lady Washington’s scheduled sailings, to be announced in the next several days, the historical seaport has a number of other events coming up, including an upcoming tour highlighting the environmental cleanup of the seaport’s location, a former Weyerhaeuser sawmill. Speakers will deliver presentations in Spanish and English to encompass more of the community, Bednarik said. The tour will begin at the historical seaport at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 25.
“We’ve got the small boat sailings and the longboats that are being restored,” Bednarik said.
Anyone interested should contact Bednarik at firstname.lastname@example.org.