Tall Ships Visit the Port of Redwood City

Created from a natural deepwater channel discovered in 1850 at the mouth of Redwood Creek, the Port of Redwood City provides commercial cargo access as well as numerous recreational opportunities in the San Francisco Bay. To this day, it retains its status as the only deepwater port in South San Francisco Bay.

Every year, the educational non-profit Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority (GHHSA) brings hands-on maritime history and tradition to the Port of Redwood City with their two tall ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain. A tall ship is a large, classic sailing vessel with traditional rigging that is more complex than that of modern rigging.

The 112-foot Lady Washington was built in 1989 by GHHSA and is a full-scale replica of the original 18th century American sailing vessel. Named in honor of Martha Washington, the first Lady Washington has a colorful if somewhat murky history, including sailing around Cape Horn and being the first American ship to make landfall on the North American west coast, Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan. In order to construct her more recent namesake, historians investigated the vessel in great detail and accomplished shipbuilders spent hours recreating the majestic Lady. Launched as part of the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration, the Lady Washington is a US Coast Guard inspected and certified passenger sailing vessel. She has appeared in a number of movies and television shows, including Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek Generations, Once Upon A Time and Revolution. Lady Washington also holds the distinction of being the Official Ship of the State of Washington.

Built in 1988 in Hawaii, the Hawaiian Chieftain is constructed of steel and was initially planned for cargo trade in and among the Hawaiian Islands. Its design was influenced by early colonial passenger and coastal packet ships that delivered merchandise and mail among burgeoning coastal towns. The Hawaiian Cheiftan has sailed to Tahiti along with other South Pacific locations and San Francisco. The Chieftan was purchased by Central Coast Charters of Sausalito in the mid-1990s.

In 1993, both ships participated in a mock sea battle in the San Francisco Bay, which spurred a partnership between GHHSA and Central Coast Charters to bring these two vessels to various ports along the west coast for educational and ‘ambassadorial’ purposes.

From March 31st through April 13th, these impressive tall ships will dock at the Port of Redwood City. Tickets for the public tours, sailing excursions and hands-on educational programs for K-12 students will go on sale soon. There will also be port-to-port travel experiences for those with a penchant for adventure.