Shipping history and a little bit of Hollywood fame sailed into the South Bay this week as the tall ship Lady Washington threw out its lines in King Harbor to begin a week-long stay in Redondo Beach.
Standing at 67 feet long, the wooden vessel is a replica of the original Lady Washington, which was built as a merchant ship in the late 1700's and was the first American ship to round Cape Horn in Africa and the first American vessel to reach Japan.
Today's replica, built in 1989, is Washington State's official tall ship ambassador and serves as a living history exhibit while docking in ports up and down the western coast of the United States.
The ship has also appeared in major Hollywood movies including 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl' when the vessel, renamed the Interceptor for the film, was commandeered by Johnny Depp's character, Captain Jack Sparrow.
"At least half of our customers who come on board are coming on board because of the Pirates of the Caribbean thing," said Lady Washington medical officer and gunner Avio Brooklyn with a smile.
Despite its Hollywood fame though, Brooklyn said he likes to take the visiting 'Pirates of the Caribbean' fans and throw some history at them. "People think it was all fun and games, but when it came down to it, sailors' lives were horrible," he said.
Brooklyn also likes to point out that major cities such as Los Angeles owe at least part of their existence to the shipping industry. "Boats like this are a lot of the reason why L.A., San Francisco, and Seattle are such big cities today because they were all such big shipping hubs back then," said Brooklyn.
During its visit to Redondo Beach, the ship will offer public tours, sailing adventure tours, as well as educational days for local schools.
Although the sailing adventure tours are currently sold out, public walk-on tours of the boat will be available today from noon to 5 p.m.; Nov. 26 and 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Nov. 29 and 30, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.. A suggested donation of $3 is welcomed by the crew.
For more information on the Lady Washington's tour schedule, history, and future ports of call, visit its official website at www.historicalseaport.org.
Lady Washington Public Tour Times:
- Nov. 25th: 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.
- Nov. 26th: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
- Nov. 27th: 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
- Nov. 29th: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
- Nov. 30th: 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.