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Walk aboard the Golden Hinde; it docks in Oakland, Sacramento, Stockton, Redwood City.

Walk aboard the Golden Hinde

A high-decked galleon gliding into port-- sails billowing, pennants aflutter--can draw a crowd like nothing else.

This year Westerners at seaports up and down the coast can walk aboard just such a ship, a replica of Sir Francis Drake's Golden Hinde. The original circumnavigated the world on a voyage of discovery and plunder from 1577 to 1580.

Launched in England in 1973, the new Hinde visited San Francisco in 1975, then appeared in films, including the 1980 television version of Shogun. She's now in the midst of a leisurely four-year North American tour.

Her itinerary includes more small ports than large and allows two weeks or longer at nearly every stop.

Visitors will learn about the painstaking research and meticulous craftsmanship required to build an authentic version of a ship that left little trace when she rotted at her moorings 300 years ago.

Builders found clues in journals from Drake's voyage, Flemish paintings, and the scant writing of shipwrights of the day. No plans have ever been found; historians speculate that the ship may have been built in Belgium or France.

On the tours, crew members in period dress will guide you down five levels of decks, through what amounts to a floating museum of 16th-century seafaring life.

Watch as the sailors haul on a dizzying array of clew lines, buntlines, leechlines. Step inside Drake's cabin to see the fine furnishings that reflected the privileges of a seagoing gentleman. Duck below into the lantern-lit gun decks where 22 cannons (mostly long-range culverins) once thundered broadsides at Spanish traders.

Deep in the hold, stroll among spare sails and line, tubs of tar and piles of shot, through a galley, and into a series of compartments where displays further recount Drake's exploits.

Ports of call till year's end

At our press time, the itinerary was firm through late December. Watch newspapers for reports of the ship's comings and goings.

Hours at each port are 9 to dusk daily. Admission is $3 for adults, $1.50 for ages 4 through 13.

The Hinde will be in Oakland September 26 through October 29, Sacramento October 31 through November 24, Stockton November 26 through December 13, and Redwood City December 19 through Christmas day and probably longer.

Photo: Smoky barrage from Golden Hinde's culverins announces its arrival in every port. At a 6-pounder on gun deck (right), youngster gets brief lesson in early naval warfare
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Date:Oct 1, 1987
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