View Full Version : Pirates of the Californias: Captain Long Josh Silliest!

01-22-2008, 04:06 PM
This weekend I became a pirate!

I signed on to be aboard the USS Lady Washington as she went into combat versus the Hawaiian Chieftan under full sail off the coast of San Diego, California.

You all better know the Lady Washington from her movie rolls starring as:

the USS Enterprise in Star Trek: Generations (from Worf's promotion rite)

the HMS Interceptor in Pirates of the Caribbean (Admiral Norington's ship)

I have plenty of pictures from Saturday's combat mission which I'm editing for post in this thread.

These are realistic, functioning replicas of the 1700-1800's sailing ships by the same name that have been built in the 1990's (with hidden ammenities such as fuel-powered motors for docking maneuvers instead of making us row with orrs, as well as working bathrooms below deck, plus marine radio and GPS of course).

But once the ship is out of the port and on the open sea, the Captain, First Officer, and crew sail it as it was always traditionally sailed. They climb the rope rigging to unfurl the sails 4 or 5 stories above the choppy water. The cannon weapons are real and use real gun powder - they just "forget" to put the cannon balls in the guns while firing at the other ship!

In combat, the crew hurries to shift the cannons to the side they anticipate the ships will pass on, while others turn the sails to ensure this happens. When two ships are aiming for each other, as in chicken, the captain must carefully gauge which way they're going to pass or his boat won't be properly set for the offensive.

Every crewman had several things they were expected to do. They had to react and carry out orders immediately. Ships like this move faster than you might expect. It was really exciting. Several times we passed close enough to the other ship that we could have swung a boarding party on to her from our mast ropes and gone "hand to hand," just like in "Pirates."

My friend has twin boys, and one of them is REALLY into pirates. So I saw that the tall ships (www.historicalseaport.org) were in port in San Diego for a few days and hurredly put an excursion together, suggesting the boys would have a great time. I bought everyone pirate costumes, as you'll see from the pictures.

We all became "captains without our own ship" and thus I'm Captain Long Josh Silliest and was proud to serve on the Lady Washington. I have a lot of pictures, so I'll try to keep them coming.

This is from Saturday, January 19, 2008 and The Pirates of the Californias!

01-22-2008, 04:21 PM
Here's some more fun.

I was so glad I decided to do this. It was an experience I'll always remember.

01-22-2008, 04:34 PM
Nothing was going to stop the intrepid Lady Washington and we were going to win this fight!

01-22-2008, 04:45 PM
Here's some more exciting naval combat action!

jedi master sal
01-22-2008, 04:57 PM
Now that was a cool post.

How much did this excursion cost?

That would be something worth doing if I ever made it to SD.

01-22-2008, 04:57 PM
I'm having a good time reliving this while I'm posting this!

01-22-2008, 05:11 PM
I'm having a good time reliving this while I'm posting this!

Wow! Looks like you had a kick butt time out there Tycho. I need to get out of the nest more I'm guessing. One thing I miss about where I'm at as opposed to the west is the Rennaisance Fairs or gatherings where you could get dressed up as a pirate, knight, scottish highlander or anything of that sort, and hang out with big groups. They may have stuff like that here, but I'm just not finding it.

01-22-2008, 05:13 PM
Now that was a cool post.


How much did this excursion cost?

A SideShow figure forgone ;) - about $60, but I spent almost another $70 on getting us our costume props. Then there is of course parking fees when you get down to the marina ($11) and the suggested donation to "tip the crew" (as they do work hard and live on the ship while they're on tour - $10). So I'd say I spent $151 on the day, but all my expenses weren't necessary.

I wanted to get the costumes and make it fun for the kids and their dad. We were hardly the only ones getting into the spirit of the thing. I told my friend to expect that we'd be the only ones in costume. Ummm - it was the minority that was NOT in costume actually. At least on our ship. On the Hawaiian, well they were old-fuddy-duddies and they deserved to lose! Haha! Hah!


(of course I bet their captain told them that they "won." I don't know how they could believe that when we maneuvered around them when their guns were on the wrong side of their ship and we hit them with 6 cannons at once!)

That would be something worth doing if I ever made it to SD.

Unfortunately, they only do this like once a year for like about a week. If you check their website which I linked to, it tells their schedule as they go up and down the west coast.

But yes, it is definitely worth doing. You'd think they'd also do a summer tour? Maybe their web schedule is only for the first 2 quarters of 2008. I'll have to look again. I'd totally do this again - especially if I could serve on the same ship with the same captain.

He's a master-vessel-pilot or something like that. He gets paid a lot of money to assemble crews and fly (as a passenger I'm sure) to locations all over to captain ships like these for tours or deliveries. By education and experience, he's a ship-building engineer who started with modern craft, but got an affinity for the old days and made a career out of it. I don't believe he's the company owner - though he might be one of them. He's just a very experienced, specialized enthusiast with a great sense of naval combat instinct.

I thorougly enjoyed talking to him as well as some of the other crew. Some are paid and do this as a year-long or longer job. It's just their passion or definitely a diversion from every-day "normal" jobs. Others are volunteers.

You first pay for a 14 day instructional period where you serve on the craft without tourists. You eat, sleep, live there, though it's often docked in harbor - likely in Seattle. Meanwhile, you learn to go up the ropes, unfurl the sails, raise and drop the anchor. Use safety lines during storms (weather being nasty) and of course man and service the weapons. These guys (and we had a girl crewmember) become pros!

It was really something to see them in action! It requires total obedience, instant reaction to orders, and probably a lot of habit-training and self-discipline. I bet some people try out for it and can't cut it. In the old days they were given one-way-tickets to Davy Jones' locker! (if a good whipping didn't suffice)

Gosh it was something to be part of a combat mission like that.

01-22-2008, 07:23 PM
Tycho how much booty did you secure ?

01-22-2008, 07:50 PM
Empty pockets, Caesar. Empty pockets. :(

01-22-2008, 07:53 PM
Not booty...booty. ;)

01-22-2008, 08:36 PM
There were not really girls I'd have been interested on board. Most were moms with kids. There was one girl who might've been in her 20's, but I decided that I wasn't really attracted to her.

Besides, I wasn't wearing one of my trademark sweatsuits that just get the girls rushing to jump all over me.

01-22-2008, 09:31 PM
Most were moms with kids.

At least you know they put out.

01-22-2008, 09:39 PM
Tycho how much booty did you secure ?
There have been jokes and insinuations before, Caes, but you don't have to come right out and call the guy a Butt Pirate.:p

01-23-2008, 09:25 PM
At least you know they put out.

Ever the pragmatist..........;)

01-23-2008, 09:56 PM
You know Tycho, those kids you brought with you are probably going to remember that the rest of their lives! They'll bring it up some day to someone years down the road when they watch any movie with those ships in it I bet. I'd have just been happy to see them in person, but to actualy be on them while sailing would have been a true blast!

01-24-2008, 02:03 AM
Thanks Neuroleptic. Their dad said they had the best time and they are still putting on their pirate costumes at home and playing war on the high seas for as far as their imagination can take them. (I think he had to replace broken swords already though! Hehe.)

Mike (their dad) also had a nice video camera recording of the whole adventure which is even better than what I accomplished with my digi-cam. I'll have to ask to watch that the next time they have me over. I had to "man my station" and couldn't be photographing everything all the time. We had an enemy to defeat! ;)

But I think this was a really great father-sons-thing for them to do as well. I'm really glad I found that in the paper so I could share that with them. It was just a small article, too - but the picture of the ship attracted me as I loved Pirates of the Caribbean stuff and I'd played with PlayMobil pirate stuff with the boys at their Christmas party and all those ideas and memories coalesced into prompting me to pursue this adventure.

jedi master sal
01-24-2008, 10:39 AM
It really was a good thing you did there Josh.

Man, I'm really itchin' to do some pirating now!

Heck, I'm in Pittsburgh the home of the Pirates (Baseball). You'd think they'd have something like this, especially with the popularity of the movies.

Man, if I had the money, I'd own a ship like that and have a business as such. That would be a blast.

I have the Pirate costume for it!....er, um, nevermind.