A biting wind blew downriver, shivering everybody’s timbers, but the landlubbers persevered and lined up in their hoodies and foul weather gear to tour the brig Lady Washington and topsail ketch Hawaiian Chieftain, moored at the Antioch Marina. The tall ships visit Antioch annually, but this visit last week, was their first joint appearance.

“Grab the black line,” said crew member Ryon Root as visitors – after climbing the slick gangway with rope rails – ascended a ladder to the deck. The slanted, heavy-duty knotted black line was indeed sturdy. Root gave a hand to small children and seniors. Now, the adventurers were aboard the Lady Washington, which was joined alongside the Hawaiian Chieftain.

Built in 1989, the two ships are replicas of tall ships that sailed the seas in the 1700s. Made of wood for authenticity, the furled sails and coiled lines are in exact loops and secured next to the railings with belaying pins. Two crew members worked high in the rigging, seemingly oblivious to the bitter wind. Visitors on the decks below, shielding themselves with coats and hats, got a taste of what life aboard a ship must have been like.


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