‘Hawaiian Chieftain’ Ship Returns to Old Sacramento

OLD SACRAMENTO -- The docks in Old Sacramento were all decked out Thursday for an annual tradition -- the return of the Hawaiian Chieftain.

"The popularity of pirates has certainly helped our industry in general," sailor Brendan Reed said. "Lots of kids come out and they see it and it looks cool. It's a big, dramatic, weird thing. It's not your everyday life."

Since 1989, Grays Harbor Historical Seaport has taken the ship up and down the West Coast -- from Washington to San Diego. Until the end of November, it's docked under Sacramento's Tower Bridge.

Students from all over Northern California will visit the replica pirate ship in the next few weeks. Below deck, they will learn about living at sea and get a lesson in maritime history.

"It's a tie into history. These boats have been one of the most fundamentally important parts of American and world history. Everything as we know happened in part because these boats existed," Reed said.

Like many of the children who tour the boat, sailor Camille Del Phine was inspired by seeing this very ship docked in Washington when she was 13.

"I saw her from the road and I was driving with my grandparents and I was like, 'We have to go there. Please take me, there is a pirate ship there,'" she said.

Now, Del Phine lives a life at sea on the Chieftain. She hopes it continue to inspire the next generation of future sailors.

The Cheiftain is open to the public Monday through Friday.