Famous Polynesian Tall Ships Visit Ocean Institute
Adventure meets history with cannon battles, sunset sails and ship tours


What do King Kamehameha, Jack Sparrow, and Spock have in common? They all set foot on The Lady Washington, whose beautiful billowing sails have brought her to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor for the month of January. Even more exciting, she is accompanied by the Hawaiian Chieftain offering the public a unique chance to see two famous visiting tall ships, both with incredibly rich histories. The Hawaiian Chieftain was originally designed and constructed for cargo trade among the Hawaiian Islands on the island of Maui, later voyaging throughout the South Pacific and along the coast of California. With a beautifully carved Hawaiian Warrior figurehead at its prow and decks steeped in Polynesian history, passengers get a sense of what 19th century voyaging felt like.

Not to be outdone, the Lady Washington is the Hollywood star of the duo having been featured in mega-blockbusters and television shows including Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek: Generations, Once Upon A Time, and Revolution. Her story is also based in the islands, having opened the black pearl and sandalwood trade between Hawaii and Asia when King Kamehameha himself became a partner in the ship. 

A few other fun facts on these vessels:

  • Maui’s King Kahekili was the inspiration for the name “Hawaiian Chieftain.”
  • Laid end to end, Lady Washington’s 156 lines of running rigging would extend three miles.
  • Hawaiian Chieftain’s sail area is over 4,200 sq. ft.
  • A number of coins are hidden on the Lady Washington. Traditionally, each time a mast is “stepped” or fitted onto the keel, a coin is placed at the base of the mast.
  • The original Lady Washington was the first American-flagged vessel to visit Japan, Honolulu, and Hong Kong

During the month of January the public can experience these special ships from Dana Point Harbor, where Ocean Institute is offering sunset sails, cannon battles and ship tours. The Institute’s resident tall ship Spirit of Dana Point will also be offering trips on select dates. Passengers get to experience the adventure of blasting cannons, towering rigging, bustling decks and the magnificence of a canvas full of wind as history comes alive on the water. Tickets include day-of admission to the Ocean Institute.

For more information and to book click here.