Smoke on the water

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The boom of cannons, plumes of smoke and shouts of sailors filled the air as the ships jockeyed for positions in battle.

Passengers on board the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain had front-row seats for the mock battle in Port Angeles Harbor on Saturday, April 24.

The three-hour battle sails offered during the weekend recreated the look and feel of an 18th-century naval action, complete with mock canon fire, close-quarters maneuvers and cheers of victory from crews and passengers aboard both ships.

Crews provided demonstrations and encouraged passengers to take part in tall ship handling, maneuvering and singing sea chanteys during the battles.

Today, visitors in Sequim will get the opportunity for dockside tours of the ships at John Wayne Marina from 4-5 p.m.

Walk-on tours

The walk-on tours of the berthed vessels feature crew members in period attire welcoming visitors, sharing tales of life at sea and providing historical information and tours of the ships.

Dockside tours are free; however, a donation of $3 per person is suggested. On-board gift shops will be open during the public tour time. Crews also will lead educational programs today for groups that have made reservations in advance.

For an extended tall ship experience, people can reserve a one-way passage aboard a ship from

Sequim to Port Ludlow. Tickets cost $135; reservations can be made by visiting or calling 800-200-5239. The ships will depart around 9 a.m. Thursday and arrive in Port Ludlow Thursday afternoon or evening, depending on wind and sea conditions.

Tall ships in action

In Port Angeles, visitors came from near and far to see the tall ships in action.

Jean Sokolinski, of Sequim, was excited to take part in the battle sail.

"I love it," she said. "The crew is amazing, and I kind of like the guns."

Pam Qualls came all the way from Texas to see the ships and take part in the battle sail. Qualls and her daughter Serenity were planning a trip from Amarillo, Texas, to visit her sister in Oak Harbor. When the two researched area events on the Internet, they discovered the tall ships.

Not like Texas

"That's the one thing that they really, really wanted to do," said Qualls' sister Kim Vigil of Oak Harbor. Vigil and her son Matthew also came on the battle sail aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain.

"It was just amazing," she said. "We will remember it for a long, long time."

The visitors from Texas were impressed with the battle and the ships.

"It was just fabulous," Pam Qualls said. "You don't see these things in Texas."

Qualls said her favorite part of the sail was when the crew unfurled the sails and the fun atmosphere the crew provided.

She said she also was impressed with the area.

"You people are truly bless-ed up here," she said. "This place is like pre-heaven."

The crew on each ship usually includes seven to 10 employees and a handful of volunteers from all over the country.

Jimmy McManus, from San Diego, Calif., is the first mate on the Hawaiian Chieftain and has worked onboard the tall ships for five years.

"It's amazing to have a job that affords me the opportunity to travel, to interact with people and to work outside in the sun," he said.

A family tradition

When researching his family history, McManus discovered his family has a long line of shipwrights and sail makers. He feels at home onboard and especially enjoys the battle sails.

"It becomes a dancing pirouette of how one boat can outmaneuver the other," he said. McManus also trains crew members for two weeks on seamanship.

David Cottrell, who volunteers periodically on board the ships, also is a member of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport board of directors.

"The main mission of the organization is education," Cottrell said.

"We see maritime enthusiasts, 'Pirates of the Caribbean' fans, experienced sailors and families. Everybody comes from their own perspective to see the tall ships."

Movie star

The ships, home-ported in Aberdeen, are scheduled to spend today in Sequim and depart Thursday for Port Ludlow, where they will dock at The Resort at Port Ludlow on Ludlow Bay Road and offer tours and sails April 23-25. From there the ships will head to Friday Harbor.

Launched in 1989, the tall ship Lady Washington is the official ship of Washington state. It is a full-size wooden replica of a brig that accompanied Capt. Robert Gray's expedition to the Pacific Northwest in 1788. The modern Lady Washington has appeared in several movies, including the 2003 "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the

Black Pearl."

The Hawaiian Chieftain is a replica of a typical 19th century merchant trader. Launched in 1988, the steel-hulled vessel was built for trade in the Hawaiian Islands. It was acquired by the Historical Seaport in 2004.

For more information, call 800-200-5239 or see

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