ANTIOCH -- The threat of showers didn't keep spectators or photo enthusiasts away from checking out two historic replica tall ships that docked at the Antioch City Marina this weekend. Nor did the dark stormy clouds stop adventure sailors from traveling on the Delta waters and getting a firsthand look at what it was like to be part of a mock battle sail.
The Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, out of Aberdeen, Wash., traveled back to the Antioch area this year with ship tours and sailing rides on their historic replica tall ships. This year the nonprofit organization added a little more excitement to the tour by bringing along both their tall ships and offering the opportunity to participate in a sailing adventure that included a mock cannon battle between the two of them.
Residents reported hearing cannon fire on social networking throughout both Antioch and Pittsburg, both Saturday and Sunday afternoons while the two ships, the Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain, battled it out on the Delta beside the Pittsburg shoreline.
Discovery Bay residents Tim and Eileen Bubniak brought their grandchildren, cousins, Bradley Zagelow, age 7, and Alexandra Zagelow, age 10, for a little adventure on Sunday.
The cousins are used to taking boat rides in their grandparents' boat in Discovery Bay, but they couldn't wait to get under way on a cruise in the ship with the big sails.
"This is something we knew both the kids would love," Tim Bubniak said. "We've done a lot of fishing with them on the Delta before, but nothing like this."
As expected, young Alexandra was full of questions for both the captain and first mate, but found that another guest sailor, one decked out in festive pirate garb, was much more exciting.
For Bradley, however, the excitement came long into his three-hour sailing adventure as he waited patiently for a chance to see the cannon fire between the two ships. Of course, he fully expected that the Hawaiian Chieftain, the boat he was on, would be the victor in the battle.
Also viewing the tall ships was Pittsburg resident Richard Ainsley, who along with his visiting sister and brother-in-law, asked late in the game if there was room for his group to come aboard. As luck would have it, since two ships were available, the crew made room for four more to join the adventure along with the many others who had already made reservations.
Ainsley's sister, Patricia Ainsley-Baker, said when they left Massachusetts the day before the temperature was 2 degrees.
Even with the chance of rain Sunday, she'd decided she didn't really need a jacket in the mid-60 degree Delta temperatures. She was a little chilly on the boat, however, and borrowed a blanket from the crew.
"This is really a treat, though, no matter how unexpected," she said.
Every year Ainsley-Baker and her husband, Wally, come to California to visit her 95-year-old mother who lives in Pittsburg.
Ainsley's daughter Jackie, also from Pittsburg, came along for the ride as well, enjoying the chance to get a boat ride on the Delta.
The Hawaiian Chieftain, a Gaff-rigged Topsail Ketch sailing ship, completed construction and first set sail in 1988 as a cargo ship in the Hawaiian Islands. It is just over 103 feet in overall length with a mast of 75 feet.
An article by artist and historian Herb Kane about Maui's King Kahekili was the inspiration for its names.
The Lady Washington is a replica of the original Lady Washington that sailed the waters in the late 1700s and was also featured in the film "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl."
At just 112 feet in length the new Lady Washington is about average size of a vessel during the 1700s. The mast is 89 feet high with a total sail area of 4,442 square feet.
Even before Grays Harbor's original purchase of the Hawaiian Chieftain in 2005, the Lady Washington joined Hawaiian Chieftain for their first mock sea battle on San Francisco Bay in 1993.
The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain left the Delta waters early Monday morning to head toward Sausalito where the next battle sail will take place from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The ships will be docked and offering a variety of viewing and sailing programs at the Bay Model, 2100 Bridge way, Sausalito through March 12.