The 1700s sailed into port at Oakland’s Jack London Square aboard the brig Lady Washington for a nine-day stay this month. With a crew of 13 at her helm, the 112-foot wooden ship, a replica of its namesake from the American Revolutionary War, has been a tour and education site while docked in Oakland.
Capt. Ken Lazarus considers the ship, a 1989 replica of the original Lady Washington Boston trading vessel from the 1780s, the quintessential teaching tool. The captain says children, as well as adults on adventure sail programs and ship tours, learn that “the life of a sailor is really tough.”
Lazarus says students are taught to haul lines, set the sails, and keep the ship in tip-top shape. They also learn a fair share of math and English, along with the history of the ship and trading industry in the late 18th century. The original Lady Washington made several voyages to China and back, and was one of the first American trading ships to round Cape Horn and make her way to the Pacific Northwest.
Now the crew spends 11 months of the year traveling up and down the West Coast to teach fourth- and fifth-graders, visitors and others the history of the ship and sailing. The crew also takes adults and families on two-week sailing courses. Before arriving in Oakland, the brig made the weeklong voyage from its home port in Grays, Washington. Lady Washington will next set sail for San Francisco’s Pier 40. She will be open for tours and sails until November 5. Lazarus says the Bay Area “is one of our favorite places to be. I’ve never had a bad day on the Bay.”
Lady Washington has also made it to Hollywood. She was dressed up as another ship for 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and has appeared in television shows, including “Once Upon a Time” and “Revolution.”