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  Clash of the Tall Ships II

Jan. 3-4, 10-11, & 17-18, 1998

(all photos taken by Christine Markel Lampe)

The Swift of Ipswich (on right) fires off a stern shot at the Californian (left) as the Hawaiian Chieftain (center) maneuvers between, and will soon be in good position to let off a close stern shot at the Californian.

  Aye, several times during the month of January, the harbor of Long Beach echoed with the thunder of cannons, and saw a parade of canvas not at all common these days. Three square-riggers, the Lady Washington, the Swift of Ipswich and the Hawaiian Chieftain matched wits with the revenuers, Californian and the Pilgrim of Newport.
For more photos & information on these ships,
see the NQG
"Tall Ships" page. For more action, go to Dana Point Sea Battle.

If you missed all the action, here's some samples of what you missed:

 

Aye, it's a beautiful, and rare sight to see indeed ... here's three of the five tall-ships which are docked together at Shoreline Village, in Long Beach, CA.

You can barely see their figureheads ... Martha Washington (right) for the Lady Washington, a Polynesian chief (center) for the Hawaiian Chieftain, and
Mrs. Robinson (left), the wife of the Swift's boat builder.

I had heard that Mrs. Robinson was always a bit embarrassed by the topless rendition of her image.

 

 

Aboard the Pilgrim of Newport, Master Gunner Gary Harper waits for just the right angle, before firing a broadside at the enemy.

For my money, the gun crew aboard the Pilgrim is the quickest swabbin', fastest loadin', and surest firin' crew amongst the combatants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But that's not to say the Pilgrim was impervious to attack. Here, the Lady Washington gets a good blast off on us.

(It's hard to get photos of the muzzleflash, as it takes split second timing and good luck - but here you can see I was fortunate.)

 

 

 

 

In addition to being fast and accurate, the Pilgrim's gun crew also has a few tricks up their sleeve. Gunner's Mate Jon Rose rigged up a floating charge that was trailed behind the Pilgrim.

When we were fired upon by another vessel, Jon would set off the charge, makin' it appear their shot landed in the water astern of us. Everyone aboard would then have fun jeering at the other vessel's gun crew, about how they missed us by a mile.

 

 

 

 

The Hawaiian Chieftain gets off a bow shot against us. That Captain Ian, he's a crafty one. You've got ta keep a weather eye on him. He's the one that likes ta hide behind the large cargo vessels, and then come out from cover at the right moment to fire on the enemy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aye, the cannoneers love the cannons roar, but they like to be able ta hear their mates as well, . . . so they take a few precautions.

You can see them here as they get a deck-raking bow shot off on the Hawaiian Chieftain.

(The tall cannoneer is Michael MacLeod, and his shorter companion is Gail Selinger).

 

 

 

 

"Sharp-shooters to the rail! We'll teach 'em to trifle with us!"

 The crack shots of the Pilgrim try to pick off the enemy's gun crew, or captain, while the cannon crew (bottom right corner) quickly reloads.

(The rifleman in the foreground is John Harper, son of Master Gunner Gary, while the one in the background, standing on the rail, is our own daughter, Evaine.)
 

 

 

Aye, small in size, but lacking nothing in terms of sheer bravado, the topsail schooner Privateer fires upon the Californian.

The Privateer was built by Capt. Mike Mandis (seen here, just barely, at the helm). At just under 16', she can take 6 adult passengers, and also carry up to 6 cannon.

With just one extra crewman, Capt. Mike is able to sail, and still fire off a broadside of three cannons, before the other vessel is able to retaliate with even one shot.


 

 

The Privateer prepares to fire a broadside from her mighty 4 ouncers.

(When this photo was taken, Capt. Mike had not yet built naval carriages.
Instead, each cannon was set into a PVC 3/4 round sleeve, which was then slipped into the round gun ports. They are breech-loaded, and fired by hitting the breech pin with an every-day regulation hammer.)

 

 

 

 

Constructed of massive timbers, the gun carriages of the Privateer stand ready for action.

(A few weeks later, Mike had created these wooden carriages for his stalwart guns.)

 

 

 

 

 The Faces Behind the Cannon Smoke

Sailing crew, gun crew, officers, musicians, and various other re-enactors are necessary for such a grand adventure.

 

Officers & Captains

Resplendent with brass buttons and gold braid, officers and their men prepare for action . . . 
Here ya see Master Gunner Gary Harper, . . .
a Marine Guard standing sentry aboard the Californian, . . .
and Capt. Ian MacIntyre, master of the Hawaiian Chieftain.

 

Musicians & Shanteymen

 

 

 Music is always welcome aboard ship.
Hal, of the Lady Washington, gives us a jig on his concertina.
Don Kinney plays a tattoo during battle to send dread into the hearts of the enemy crew.
Don Kittmer and Ted give us a round of "Away, Rio".

 

Sailors & Gunners

 John Harper, a member of the Pilgrim's gun crew, gazes at the sunset.
Gail Selinger, another gun crew member, shows that swabbing cannons can be dirty work.
Erik Berliner is seen here handling the one of the docklines.

 

 

There's a quiet majesty to ships under sail . . . except when they are under fire (as evidenced by the blackpowder smoke in the corner).

 (Three ships in a row, the Swift of Ipswich in the fore, the brig Lady Washington in the middle, and the Californian is behind).

  

 

 

 

 

 LEFT: A swivel gun stands ready on the port stern quarter rail, as the Pilgrim of Newport slips by within easy range.

RIGHT: Cannoneers sometimes have too much time on their hands!?! 
(One of the Hawaiian Chieftain's crack guns is seen here at rest witha few adornments.)

 Our cannons blow a perfect smoke ring at the Lady Washington, as if mocking them in the midst of battle.

The Pilgrim of Newport runs the gauntlet between enemy ships,
the Lady and the Swift. 
 

 LEFT: The diminishing golden glow of sunset highlights the Lady Washington, as seen here through the ratlines of the mini-topsail schooner Privateer.

RIGHT: The Swift of Ipswich heads off for the pot 'o gold.


 The Pilgrim of Newport spears a rainbow.

 


Sunlight brimming over the edge of the dark clouds frames the Pilgrim of Newport with a silver lining. 

 


Sails billowing in the evening breeze, the tallships tack, jibe and do battle. 
 Four of the tallships are seen here (from left):
the brig
Lady Washington, the Swift of Ipswich, the Pilgrim of Newport,
and the Californian (I am aboard the fifth, the Hawaiian Chieftain).

 As the sounds of battle fade to silence, the Hawaiian Chieftain sails for home, silhouetted by the golden colors of the setting sun.

 

If you are now regretting missing all the excitement, don't despair. I'm told it will all happen again each winter - from late October until March. So, keep a weather eye on the NQG "On the Horizon - Upcoming Events". We'll be listing details as we learn them.

Meanwhile, you can satisfy your appetite for battle with the Battle Re-Enactment Cruises between the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain as they make their way north up the Pacific Coast. Call 1-800-200-LADY or 1-415-331-3214 for schedule & ports 'o call information. Here's their current ports of call itinerary:

San Diego, Jan 9-21, 2001
Newport Beach, Jan 23-Feb 4, 2001
Marina del Rey, Feb 5-13, 2001
Oxnard, Feb 15-25, 2001
Ventura, Feb 26-March 4, 2001
Morro Bay, Mar 7-11, 2001
San Francisco, Mar 14-20, 2001
Redwood City, Mar 18-28, 2001
Oakland, March 9-1, 2001

For more photos and information on these ships,
see the NQG
"Tall Ships" page.

 

 

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