Tall ships to dock in PO

Tall Ships like this will visit Port Orchard next month. - Courtesy Photo
Tall Ships like this will visit Port Orchard next month.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

In two weeks, Port Orchard will be invaded by pirates.

Or at least it might look like that’s what happened.

Beginning July 1, more than a dozen “Tall Ships” — which most people picture when imagining a pirate ship — will pull into the Port Orchard Marina for a one-night stopover on their way to Tacoma.

Steve Slaton, the director of marine facilities for the Port of Bremerton, said this was the first year the ships will be docking at the city’s marina, although the group has sailed to Tacoma before.

Slaton said the boats will arrive during the day on July 1, some sailing through Rich Passage and others past Ilahee along Port Orchard Bay to reach the marina.

Once there, however, visitors to the marina will not be able to tour the ships, he said.

“The crews need to rest, so they need to tie up, eat, and get plenty of rest before they go to work in Tacoma,” Slaton said, explaining that his marina’s goal that night is to be good hosts to the crews in the hopes that they will return in the future.

At least one local business, Slip 45 along Bay Street downtown, has offered to feed the crews, a group that Slaton said could easily number more than 100 people.

The ships are not docking at the newly expanded Bremerton Marina, he said, because it does not have the facilities available to tie the boats up outside that are available at the Port Orchard Marina.

While the ships are docked, Slaton said the marina gates will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. to allow the public to walk around and see them, although while they are coming and going, people may be asked to give crews more room to work as they tie up the ships.

On July 2, the group of ships will sail down to Tacoma for a four-day Tall Ship Festival until the 7th.

According to the festival’s website, the ships will be available for boarding by the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from July 4 through July 7.

The festival itself is free, but to board a ship you must buy a ticket.

The festival describes a tall ships as both the “traditional, square-rigged sailing ships like those seen in pirate movies, and boats that are fore- and aft-rigged. The vessels will range in size from 40 feet to more than 300 feet.”

Some of the better known ships that will be in Tacoma for the festival include:

• The Niña, the most historically accurate replica of Christopher Columbus’ 1492 ship that he sailed across the Atlantic.

• The HMS Bounty, built in 1960 for the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” with Marlon Brando.

• The USCG Eagle, the official training vessel for the U.S. Coast Guard and is the only active-duty sailing vessel in the U.S. military.

• Kaisei, a Class A vessel that is operated by the Ocean Voyages Institute to teach about maritime arts and sciences and about preserving the oceans.

• Lady Washington, the official tall ship of the State of Washington.

The 2008 festival will officially begin with the Parade of Sail, which launches from nearby Vashon Island when the ships unfurl their sails and head to Tacoma.

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