The goal of these visits is to connect the public with the dominant form of long distance travel from our past.
"We think to know history, at least maritime history in some detail, helps us understand where we are today" said Joe Follansbee with the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority. "We're used to cars, we're used to planes, we're used to interstate freeways, but those are very recent developments."
Those who visit the ships have an opportunity to mix with the crew—all in period dress—and see what life was like aboard these sailing vessels. The highlight for many are the staged cannon battles, which have all the sights and sounds of the real deal, only without the actual cannon balls.
The Lady Washington and Hawaiian Cheiftain recently left Southern California and are currently in Oxnard. They will arrive at the nearby Ventura Harbor on Tuesday, where the ships remain until February 11th. It's then up the Central Coast to Morro Bay for a stay lasting from February 14-19th.
Starting February 23rd, the ships will begin more than a month of stops around the San Francisco Bay area. Ports include San Francisco, Oakland, Redwood City, Sausalito, and Bodega Bay.
Before leaving California at the end of April, the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Cheiftain will make stops in Eureka and Crescent City.
The organization has a two week program to train prospective sailors the art of sailing a tall ship.