The Healer and the Pirate

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Monday, June 6, 2011

San Diego Maritime Museum - Sailing on The Californian - November 29, 2008

This is from the Maritime Museum of San Diego, aka the Star of India. Quick explanation of the place, with links to other blog entries (and some really neat interior ferry pictures!) here.

The next thing we did was take a cruise on the sailing ship Californian, a replica of an 1847 law enforcement vessel, the C.W. Lawrence. The real "Californian" was a cutter (like this one) in the San Diego harbor in gold rush days, to take down tax evaders.  They used grapeshot and barshot and chainshot (cannonballs split(?) with bars or chains to link them) to take down the ships, aiming to disable them but not destroy them, since they wanted paid.  :)

You can take a 4-hour cruise, which actually sails out on the water. It was very interesting when we went. They say you can help sail the ship (realistically when we went, that meant sometimes you could help "haul a line" to adjust a sail. I was useless at hauling the large ones, but I helped bring one of the front sails down using a thinner line and that went OK. (Don't call them ropes, LOL.)

I admit I was expecting more explanations but in 2008, at least, mostly they just figured you'd ask questions. An extrovert could get a lot more out of it than me.

Even so, it was worthwhile! I'm mostly quoting what I wrote in my photo album in 2008, so if any terminology is off, blame 2008 Julie. You know, the one who had just been through a rough time a week or two before this vacation. Thanks!

The ship motored out of the dock but then they lowered the sails and went sailing.  There was a pretty big wind--I think they said we got to 8.5 knots (if so, that's nearly 10 mph, LOL).  We had to travel in a zig-zag (going one way, then moving the sails to go another), which is pretty typical.  Tacking, I believe they called it. They said sometimes in the summer there is very little wind so they don't get to sail.  Sailing is better in the winter.  :)

The sails are amazingly like giant curtains, complete with rings in several cases.

A little surreal.

There are a lot of lines on a ship. Also note the "gun" (don't call it a cannon!).

At one point I went below deck...there's not much there open to the public--just a small eating area with a couple tables and some bunks, the "snack bar" (read: some potato chips/candy bars/fruit and some coolers with water and maybe sodas), and a rather cute little kitchen with modern-looking appliances.

One thing you don't notice until you sail is that you don't sail with the wind behind you, but at an angle to you. It's actually "pulling" you.

You can see how low the boom is. The railing wasn't that tall, either--nowhere near waist height. (Two lines blocked people from falling overboard, though.)

Looking towards the fore of the ship. If I recall correctly, you had to ask permission to go up there; you were welcome to, but the boom/etc. was in the way so it could be dangerous.

Look at the detailing on the sails.

Metal belaying pins! They sure are sensible, but I think the wooden ones look like cooler weapons.

Fancy ropes.

Until I saw the photo, I had no idea the sail had been patched! Hard to see in the sun.

Taking the sails down. They are not just luffing in the wind. :)

A large heaving line, next to a smaller mooring line. You tie the mooring line to the heaving line if the ship lands so far away from dock that the heavy heaving line wouldn't make it to the dock. Then you could throw the mooring line to the dock and they'd pick it up and use it to get the heaving line. Of course, we landed so close to dock they could just hand the heaving lines over. :)

Farewell, Californian!

I have more ship pictures next week!

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