The Seattle Seafair Pirates Official Web Site - Pirate Kings of the Northwest since 1949  It's a high-humored heist by the Seattle SEAFAIR Pirates. The salty troupe's shenanigans and formidable float, the Duck, have become synonymous with SEAFAIR revelry. The Pirates, originally members of the Washington State Press Club's Ale & Quail Society, banded together in 1949 to promote Seattle and Seafair while having fun and serving the community. Despite their bad-guy image, the Pirates make dozens of appearances annually to hospitals and nursing homes. During the height of Seattle's SEAFAIR Celebration, they appear at several events and parades each day.  The 40+ Pirates are an elite troupe who carefully selects their members based on their ability to mix well with the public and for their unique musical or theatrical talents.

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When you see something every day. sometimes you don't really see it at all. This is the only explanation for waking up a one day to realize that the mighty MOBY DUCK, flagship of the Seafair Pirates and apple of their eye, had somehow become a sagging old rust bucket.

Starting her life as a 1946 vintage amphibian landing craft or DUKW. The Duck came to the Seafair Pirates in 1954, permanently replacing a DUKW that had been loaned to the Pirates by the US Coast Guard. Adorned with a writhing Chinese dragon painted by the late Weaver Dial, MOBY DUCK made her debut in the 1954 Seafair celebrations.

Over the years Weaver often changed the paintwork. Variants schemes win tried but always the Duck returned to 'Spanish galleon" design, the better to announce to the world that MOBY DUCK was indeed a genuine ship.

The first major refit for MOBY DUCK was in 1970 just before the Seafair Pirates traveled down to New Orleans for Mardi Grais. It was this refit that saw the platform built on her stern transformed in the the first real "poop deck". With the passing of years Moby's stern grew in scale until reaching her maximum size during the 1991 refit by Captain Gary Kuhn. With only an occasional daub paint this version of the Duck made it through the 90s, but by and by the massive stern begun to sag and another major refit was desperately needed. 

This year. in what turned out to be the most radical refit of her fifty years service. Moby Duck was stripped down to the bare metal. Only now was the extent of time's damage apparent. Rust was slowly eating her away. The first order of business was to remove fifty years (layers) of print. only then all the damage in the coachwork was repaired. Rusted metal was cut away and new plates were welded in, work continued until every dent and hole repaired. Meanwhile, a new poop deck was being fabricated of steel. Smaller and lighter , the steel quarter deck was then trimmed out in wood and fitted on the stern of the Duck. Finally, painted in the red. gold and black of the 17th century ships of the line, MOBY DUCK was ready to again sail forth with the crew of bloodthirsty Seafair Pirate.

Often projects like this are assigned to the Candidate corps. but I'm happy to say that this complicated & difficult project was accomplished by a handful of dedicated members who came together to complete this refit. Many thanks to you all. you can certainly be very proud of your contribution toward Moby Duck's next 50 Years of service under the black flag.


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Captain Kidd 2000
DC Smith



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