Lady Washington; a War Relic Continuing Her Legacy Sailing the Pacific

The Lady Washington began her maritime tenure during the American Revolutionary War. She was a 90-ton brig (A brig was a two-masted, square-rigged, sailing vessel, common in the last half of the 18th century) commissioned to intercept and defend against British aggression at sea as a sloop-of-war.
Lady Washington 7 photos
Lady WashingtonLady WashingtonLady WashingtonLady WashingtonLady WashingtonLady Washington
Brigs were sloops and primarily smaller merchant vessels or warships. The original Lady Washington served as both until eventually foundering in the Philippines in 1797. After the war, she set sail from Boston Harbor in October 1787 to serve in the Columbia Expedition (the exploration and maritime fur trading in the Pacific Northwest).

Christened in honor of Martha Washington, the Lady Washington was the first American-flagged vessel to round Cape Horn, the first recorded vessel to make landfall in Oregon, and the first to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. After the first fur trading season and under the command of John Kendrick, she was the first American vessel to reach Honolulu, Hong Kong, and Japan. She was instrumental in supporting the black pearl and sandalwood trade between Hawaii and Asia.

She was re-fitted as a brigantine (a two-masted sailing vessel with at least two sails on the main mast, a square topsail, and a gaff sail mainsail behind the mast) in Macau. She remained in the Pacific fur trade until she was lost at the mouth of the Mestizo River near Vigan City on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

A replica of the ship was built in 1989 in time for Washington State's Centennial celebrations. Named "Washington State's Tall Ship Ambassador," the new Lady Washington sails under the auspices of the Gray's Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, sailing up and down the Pacific coast for educational purposes. She has also appeared in several films, most notably as the HMS Interceptor in the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories