Arts and Entertainment

Tall, stately Lady Washington to grace Penn Cove this weekend

The brig Lady Washington under sail. - Ron Arel photo
The brig Lady Washington under sail.
— image credit: Ron Arel photo

This month a celebrity is schedule to visit Whidbey Island.

After her breakout role in the 1990s flick “Star Trek: Generations,” this performer entered the big leagues and starred alongside heartthrob Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in 2003.

But her popularity goes back even further. Since 1989, she’s been visited by more than 1 million fans and travels 4,300 miles a year making appearances. At her height of 89-feet, she’ll be easy to spot as she plies the waters of Penn Cove.

Yep, the brig Lady Washington is gracing us with her presence again.

The Lady Washington and companion vessel the Hawaiian Chieftain will arrive in Coupeville on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 10 and will stay through Aug. 14 coinciding with the annual Arts & Crafts Festival.

“We always enjoy coming to Coupeville and Penn Cove,” Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority Communications Director Joe Follansbee said. “It’s a beautiful part of Puget Sound, and we feel very welcome. And we offer a chance to experience Penn Cove in a unique way: on the water aboard a real tall ship that is a replica of one of the first U.S.-flagged vessels to visit the West Coast.”

The two ships are owned and managed by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority in Aberdeen and are used to provide recreational and educational activities for adults and children and to help preserve the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. Through the past 22 years, the ships have supported educational programs for about 200,000 elementary and high school students.

During their five-day trip to Whidbey, the ships will host six sailings. Visitors can choose to go on a leisurely evening sail, adventure sail or battle sail. Follansbee said this year, the organization created new sailing times hoping to increase attendance.

“We’ve made some changes to our schedule that we think encourage more people to sail with us,” he said. “Primarily, we’ve added more convenient sails in the evenings during the week so that folks that have to work in the summer, as well as travelers, can enjoy beautiful sunsets out on the water.”

Battle sails, the ships’ most popular activity, features close-quarters sailing reminiscent of an 18th century naval skirmish with real cannons firing real gunpowder (but not cannon balls). The evening and adventure sails include demonstrations of tall ship handling, a sea shanty and a chance for guests to take the helm of a working tall ship.

The ships will also be open for walk-on tours Aug. 11 and 12 between noon and 5 p.m., and Aug. 13 and 14 between 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Lady Washington only

Aug. 14.) A $3 donation per person is appreciated. The crew will be dressed in period costumes and available to answer questions.

The Lady Washington is the official ship of Washington. She’s a full-scale, brig-rigged wooden replica of a trading vessel that visited the west coast of North America in the 1700s. Her partner, the Hawaiian Chieftain, is a steel-hulled topsail ketch. It was launched in Hawaii and was designed to resemble a late 18th century European trading vessel.

Tickets for the six sailings are available online at or by calling 800-200-5239. Early reservations are strongly recommended. Groups of eight or more for battle sails will receive a 15 percent discount.

Select your sail:

• At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 11, the Hawaiian Chieftain will host a two-hour evening sail for $25.

• At 6 p.m. on Friday,

Aug. 12, the Lady Washington will offer a three-hour evening sail for $35.

• At 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, the Hawaiian Chieftain will lead a three-hour battle sail. Prices range from $40 to $60.

• At 6 p.m. on Aug. 13, the Lady Washington will host a two-hour evening sail for $35.

• At 10 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, the Hawaiian Chieftain will lead a three-hour adventure sail. Prices range from $35 to $55.

• At 2 p.m. on Aug. 14 the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will battle. The sail lasts for three hours. Tickets range from $40 to $60.

— Katie McVicker


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