Carries a Cargo of History in the Pacific Northwest
The original Lady Washington was brought to life in the early 1750s in a shipyard on the North River near Boston,
Massachusetts. She was a coaster, a common rype of vessel for the era and for the purpose that she was built to fulfill.
If, for instance, one wished to carry ca rgo from New York or Boston to the Carolinas, one would use a coaster. These vessels could hold a steady speed with a fair wind and had a large capacity for cargo.
Her displacement sat at 170 tons, and she was able to carry up to 99 tons of cargo.
As the American colonies grew, so did commercial acti vity along the Atlantic coast, and sloops like Lady Washington were used as the eightee n wheelers of their day.
In the Revolutio nary War, the colonists had a limited array of ships to throw against the might of the British navy, and Lady Washington was logged into rhe history books as a privateer.
With a lerrerof-marque from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, her captain and crew had permission ro stop, board and seize enemy vessels.
This could be accomplished by placing 30 to 40 armed men in the hold, coming up alongside a larger vessel and, with strategic strikes to the powder rooms,
armory, navigation stations and officers’ quarters, rakin g the ship without great loss of life or damage to either vessel.
When the war between Britain and the colonies ended, the need to build and expand American trade gave Lady Washington a new mission.
Bought by a consortium of merchants in the Boston area led by a well-ro-do merchant named Bulfinch, the sloop Lady Washington, under the command of Robert Gray, and her co nso rt vessel,
Columbia Rediviva, under John Kendrick, were sent in September of 1787 from Boston, via the Cape Verde Islands,
around the Horn and up the West Coast of the Americas to the wild northwest, where they were commissioned to engage in the sea otter pelt trade.
While competing with the British, Spanish, French and Russians, the tiny sloop Lady Washington compiled an impressive number off irsts.
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