Tall ship runs aground at Westport

Incident delays the Lady Washington's voyage to California

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Aberdeen's tall ship, the Lady Washington, was expected to be back on the open ocean Saturday after running aground in Westport on Thursday night.

Les Bolton, executive director of the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, said the ship was on its way to Port Angeles to be inspected Saturday and would likely continue its voyage to California in the afternoon. The incident likely caused no damage to the ship's hull, he said.

Crews were guiding the Lady Washington into the Westport Marina to fuel up for the journey south when the ship became stuck in a layer of silt.

"Westport has silted in over the years, and they were approaching at low tide," Bolton said. "They slowly just embedded themselves into the silt. Federal regulations say that any ship that runs aground, whether it hits a rock or mud or chocolate pudding, must be inspected before setting sail again."

The plan called for the Lady Washington to be taken out of the water at Platypus Marine in Port Angeles, where a U.S. Coast Guard official would inspect the ship to make sure she's fit to sail. Bolton said the ship would likely begin traveling to Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, Saturday afternoon.

The Lady Washington's sister ship, the Hawaiian Chieftain is docked in Antioch, Calif.. The ships will spend the winter in California, where crews will conduct educational programs.