Tall ships sail into Coos Bay while on tour

COOS BAY — "Arrrrggghhh," isn't what you'll hear from Hawaiian Chieftain or Lady Washington crew members.

Don't expect peglegs, parrots, large hats or eye patches, either.

Yep, no pirates aboard these merchant ships that arrived in Coos Bay last week.

That's the biggest misconception the crews try to dispel when visitors board the Lady Washington, said Brennan Phillips.

Originally, Phillips hails from Cherry Hill, N.J., but the dual history and education major keeps coming back for more time on the ships.

Most importantly, he hopes to instill excitement about learning and show that history isn't just words in a book, he said.

Generally, he's successful.

"We've had programs in the pouring rain, and (children) leave giddy and happy."

Bay area children will have the same opportunity before the ships leave April 6 for their home port of Grays Harbor, Wash.

The Coos Bay Boat Building Center, which is coordinating the ships' visit, also is sponsoring displays and demonstrations at the old bank building on Central Avenue.

The ships are a much different environment than a classroom, Phillips said, and children learn by actually doing.

The ships might be based on 18th-century predecessors, but sailing isn't a thing of the past, he said.

Experiments are being conducted with sails on large cargo ships to cut down on fuel use, he said.

"So sailing is not gone, it's just evolving."

Sisters Teona and Toni Kralicek already were excited about the ships during their self-guided tours last week.

Teona, 12, said she was surprised by their size.

"They seem bigger than they really are."

"The history is really cool. I love the history," said Toni, 10.

"I hope one day I can go and sail."

Adults also enjoyed the ships.

Sue and Larry Painter happened to be visiting from Eugene and stopped. They'd planned to visit the tall ships in Newport, but were glad for the sneak peek.

The view from the deck was fine, but Sue Painter said she'd like to get a view from high up one of the Lady Washington's two masts.

"Until," Larry Painter rejoined, "you start looking down into the ocean."

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