Lady Washington

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Lady Washington Commencement Bay2.jpg
Lady Washington on Commencement Bay
Flag of the United States.svg Flag of Washington.svg
Name: Lady Washington (replica)
Operator: Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority

Ray Wallace, designer;[1]

Richard Miles, shipwright[2]
Laid down: 1987[3]
Launched: March 7, 1989[3]
Homeport: Aberdeen, WA
Honors and
  • Washington tall ship ambassador
  • Washington State Ship
General characteristics
Tonnage: 99 tons (gross)
Displacement: 210 tons
Tons burthen: 178 tons
  • 67 ft (20 m) (LOD)
  • 72 ft (22 m) (LWL)
  • 112 ft (34 m) (LOA)
Beam: 22 ft (7 m)
Height: 89 ft (27 m) (Rig height)
Draft: 11 ft (3 m)
Sail plan:
Complement: 12 (crew), 45 (passenger)
Armament: Two three pounder; two swivels aft
Notes: Douglas fir hull

Lady Washington is a ship name shared by at least four different small wooden merchant sailing vessels during two different time periods. The original sailed for about 10 years in the 18th century. A somewhat updated modern replica was created in 1989. The replica has appeared in numerous films and television shows, standing in as other real or fictional ships.

Lady Washington (18th century original)[edit]

The original Lady Washington, or more commonly, Washington[citation needed], was a 90-ton brig. Her early history is still in question. As part of the Columbia Expedition, she left Boston Harbor on October 1, 1787. She sailed around Cape Horn and participated in the maritime fur trade with the coastal Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest and in tea and porcelain across the Pacific in China. She was the first American-flagged vessel to round Cape Horn. She was the first recorded vessel to make landfall on the Oregon coast near Tillamook, Oregon. John Meares claimed that she was the first non-native vessel to circumnavigate Vancouver Island.

Named in honor of Martha Washington, she was captained by Robert Gray, and later by John Kendrick, former captain of her larger sailing partner, Columbia Rediviva and commander of the expedition. At the end of the first trading season, Kendrick ordered Gray to sail Columbia to China, while Kendrick took command of Lady Washington . Under the command of Kendrick, she was refitted in Macau as a brigantine.

Lady Washington became the first American vessel to reach Japan[4] in an unsuccessful attempt to move some unsold pelts. Lady Washington remained in the Pacific trade and eventually foundered in the Philippines in 1797. She was lost at the mouth of the Mestizo River, near Vigan, northwest Luzon in July 1797.[5]

Lady Washington (20th-century replica)[edit]

Lady Washington at Port of Edmonds
Lady Washington on Morro Bay in California

A ship replica of Lady Washington was built in Aberdeen, Washington, United States in time for the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebrations.[6] Aberdeen is located on Grays Harbor, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean named for Robert Gray, the man who discovered the harbor as master of Columbia.

Named "Washington State's Tall Ship Ambassador", as well as the State Ship,[7] the new Lady Washington is operated by a professional and volunteer crew under the auspices of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. She sails up and down the Pacific coast, regularly in pair with Hawaiian Chieftain, educating students in the history of merchant trading, life of common sailors, and responsibilities of the ship's officers.

The current replica's mainmast is rigged with a topgallant sail and topsail above a gaff mainsail, as based on the post-Macau refit configuration. Old World (UK/international) terminology refers to this sail plan as brigantine, and New World (American) terminology refers to this as a brig. (Refer to the explanation sections on the brig, brigantine, and sail plan pages for more information.)

Film and television appearances[edit]

Lady Washington has appeared in various films, portraying HMS Interceptor in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and the brig Enterprise, a namesake of the Starship Enterprise, on the holodeck in Star Trek Generations. She provided the basis for the RLS Legacy in the Disney animated feature Treasure Planet. She also transported Chinese immigrants to America in the IMAX film The Great American West. On television, the ship played a prominent role in the miniseries Blackbeard, and has appeared in the music video for rapper Macklemore's Can't Hold Us and as Captain Hook's ship the Jolly Roger on Once Upon a Time.

See also[edit]

USS Lady Washington (1776)


  1. ^ FINAL BILL REPORT HB 1084 (PDF), Washington State Legislature, July 22, 2007, retrieved 2013-04-06 
  2. ^ Barkstrom, Karen (8 November 2012). "World Gone By 11/8". The Daily World. Aberdeen. 
  3. ^ a b Lady Washington timeline (PDF), Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, February 20, 2009, retrieved 2009-05-20 
  4. ^ Alexa Chipman, Lady Washington: Age of Exploration Merchant Vessel, retrieved 2010-06-20 
  5. ^ Tom Bennett, Shipwrecks of the Philippines (ebook) 
  6. ^ "Lady Washington". Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  7. ^ State Symbols, Washington State Legislature, retrieved 2010-06-20 

External links[edit]