Life aboard the Brig Lady Washington
When in the seaway, the Lady creaked and groaned plying through the wind tossed waves as any wooden ship of sail would have in the days of old. We had one advantage that our 18th century ancestors did not – the use of an 871 Detroit diesel to get us through the contrary winds and tides. Crossing the Westport and Columbia bars seemed less difficult than it must have been for Robert Gray and the likes of earlier explorers. They had no engine and were at the mercy of wind and tide with only their sail handling experience and determination to rely upon.
Being made a watch commander with an assigned crew was a pleasant surprise and benefit I did not expect. My crewmembers were responsive and reliable – though young; they appeared fearless in the gale force winds willing to take on any task necessary to keep our ship safe and seaworthy. Watching them go aloft up on the ratlines to the main t’gallant in heavy seas to retie a gasket or to the main topsail to secure her loosened yardarm and make fast was impressive indeed.
Though the Lady performed well in light breezes and stormy gales, in a seaway her main decks were awash much of the time for that is the nature of her design. The continual dousing of salty wave and spray is good for her wooden hull and decks. The saltwater helps to preserve her wooden construction and keeps the planking on her deck and bulwarks tight.
The numerous whale and dolphin sightings were an added treat for all and comforting to the crew after a few days out. The immense size and grandeur of the Pacific Ocean tends to humble oneself when upon her waters. When you think about our planet being ¾’s covered by Sea and Ocean and you reflect upon her enormous depths a man tends to shrink into obscurity feeling not much larger than an ant in a world of human giants. Vast, unmeasurable, boundless and free is she the mighty Pacific.
The Lady in all her glory is surely a ship to fall in love with. Her traditional rig and design sets the stage for an early American romance novel. Even the Captains, each of a particular creed and breed make the adventure aboard a Tall ship more surreal. For me, this voyage was in part the fulfillment of a childhood dream and one I intend – God willing – to repeat, perhaps one day as her future Captain. She's a fine ship indeed!
With all sincerity and love for the truth and our scattered brethren abroad,
Nicholas A. Stivers, a humbled God fearing man, scribe and messenger.
Author; Apostasy Revealed published 2003 by Mountainview Publishing ISBN: 1-928602-92-4