Historic ships heading to Newport Harbor


Sure, it may seem like a time warp to see a couple of old wooden merchant and naval ships tied up in Newport Harbor this week, but wait until you’re aboard.

For the next week the public is invited to tour two late 18th-century vessels that will be docked at the Newport Sea Base, 1931 W. Coast Hwy.

One, the Lady Washington, is better known as the HMS Interceptor from 2003’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” the first in the Disney movie line. In the film, Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) stole the Interceptor with the help of Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom.

The other, the Hawaiian Chieftain, is a replica of a centuries-old merchant vessel.

Together, the pair are offering Southern Californians one chance a day for an hour to go aboard and meet crew members dressed in period costumes.

On New Year’s Eve, visitors will set sail with the crew and head off the coast to reenact an epic naval battle, or “Battle Sail,” where the ships will maneuver near and around each other, with the crews hurling taunts and exchanging cannon fire.

“We’ll fire real cannons with real gunpowder, but no cannonballs,” said Joe Follansbee, communications director for the Aberdeen, Wash.-based Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which is putting on the event. “It’s a little loud and really safe.”

Guests will have a chance to help operate the vessels by steering the tiller and lifting sails.

“Our mission lies particularly in teaching young people about maritime history and the early exploration of the West Coast in California,” Follansbee said.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

If You Go

What: Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain dock in Newport Beach

Where: Newport Sea Base, 1931 W. Coast Hwy.

Tours: Available from 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Battle sail: 2 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $3 donations are appreciated for the tour. Tickets for “Battle Sail” are $60 for adults; $50 for students, seniors and active military; and $40 for children 12 and younger.

Information: Call Roxie Underwood, programs manager, at (800) 200-5239