Visiting the Tallship Royaliste

New friends recently acquired a tallship. Yep, they have their very own bonafide tallship. Fantastically nuts, I say.

Is she ready to board, raise the sails, and set underway? Uh…not yet. But she WILL be soon. It’s going to take some hard work and head-banging challenges, but she’ll sparkle in the end.

The Royaliste is a gaff-rigged, square topsail ketch. I couldn’t tell you what that means but she’s pretty.

She’ll sail the Columbia and Willamette Rivers for the Portland Pirate Festival (see more pictures here) in 2012. In addition, she’ll be available for sail-training, re-enactment adventures, and educational junkets. She’s already afloat, just needs some TLC. A hard summer in extreme heat, while awaiting transport west, was tough on the old girl but she’s already shaping up.

Due to my husband’s affiliation with the Academia Duellatoria we had the opportunity to visit the Royaliste shortly after she arrived in Portland.

The owners graciously shared information about this large undertaking and welcomed us aboard. My son was thrilled to steer the wheel and play pirate (remember, he’s four) for a couple of hours.

How anyone can resist the seduction of a wooden vessel is puzzling to me. The tall masts, the tangle of rigging, the cannons (oh yeah!), the collective connection to maritime history is just cool.

Mark your calendars and think about a visit when she’s open to the public. If you’d like to assist with the restoration, check out the links here at the Portland Pirate Festival website and know every effort, no matter how small, is appreciated.

Tags: Portland Pirate Festival, Tallships, Tallship Royaliste, Academia Duellatoria, pirates, ship restoration, wooden ships, sailing vessels, Columbia River, Willamette River, western martial arts, maritime history

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  1. #1 by J. Gunnar Grey on November 8, 2011 - 4:21 pm

    Beautiful ship. A ketch has two masts, and gaff-rigged roughly means the sails aren't triangular. I love, love, love tall ships! Thanks for the photos!

  2. #2 by Lesann Berry on November 8, 2011 - 6:25 pm

    Hey Gunnar! I also love tallships. Thanks for the explanation gaff-rigged and defining a ketch. I did enough research on sailing vessels for a story last year, to know I'm hopelessly out of my depth. I include just enough detail to make the average reader think I know what I'm writing about.Those pictures are the actual ship, when it was operated by earlier owners. Like many ships, this one had changed hands several times and lived in various places. What an amazing thing, to actually own a tallship! Hah!

  3. #3 by Anonymous on November 8, 2011 - 6:31 pm

    I really want to come up for the pirate festival, it sounds like such fun!

  4. #4 by Lesann Berry on November 8, 2011 - 9:25 pm

    Hey Anonymous Arizonite…come north next September for piratey goodness! Yes, it's corny. Yes, it's mostly in bad taste. Yes, there's beer!And pirates…and swords, and cannons, and singing!And beer.

  5. #5 by Kate MacNicol on November 9, 2011 - 12:22 am

    What a beautiful undertaking. How much fun is this for your son? OMG, I wish I lived close-by to see this. I love tall-ships, my Mom is from Cape Breton Island (home of the Blue Nose) and when I was young and on a visit — eons ago — it was a big deal when the Portugese ships came in. Thanks for sharing this. I think I need a beer — oh and a pirate —

  6. #6 by Lesann Berry on November 9, 2011 - 4:14 am

    Thanks Kate! It is a really amazing process and I hope we get to visit regularly. It's startling to see how small some of the ships were considering how many sailors/military personnel would actually be transported belowdecks. Alarming actually.I think a sail on a tallship should be a mandatory experience for everyone.

  7. #7 by Isis Rushdan on November 9, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    I love the idea of tall ships, movies with them, shows involving them. However, I get sea sick very easily, so I have to keep my love at a distance :).Interesting post! I'm sure the restoration will be fascinating.

  8. #8 by Lesann Berry on November 10, 2011 - 6:55 am

    I'm wish you Isis…love the romance part of tallships but I'm not so sure about the less romantic heave-over-the-side part.I've never taken a long sail on anything, so I'd have to admit my love has also been at a distance!

  9. #9 by Randy on May 19, 2013 - 9:05 am

    You can follow the rejuvenation process of the Royaliste at, I am lucky and fortunate enough to be part of the crew of the Tall Ship Royaliste! Its so nice to see others in the community talking about her, thanks for this great write up!

    • #10 by Leslie Berry/ @LesannBerry on May 24, 2013 - 8:25 am

      Thanks for commenting, Randy. We’re all excited to see her set sail, maybe in time for the Pirate Festival this year! The restoration work has to be challenging. It’ll be fun to see her bright and shiny. 🙂

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