Northwest News

Your cash can help keep the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain afloat

Tall ship Lady Washington arrives in Bellingham

The tall ship Lady Washington sails into Bellingham Friday, July 22, 2016 for public tours and sailings.
Up Next
The tall ship Lady Washington sails into Bellingham Friday, July 22, 2016 for public tours and sailings.

The sea has taken its toll on the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain and the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport is asking for donations for Project Overhaul, a three-year, three-phase restoration project.

“The sea is harsh …,” said Seaport Executive Director Brandi Bednarik. “We set aside funds for routine maintenance in the shipyard, but urgent upgrade and replacement items require another $43,500 be raised to fund phase one.”

The Chieftain is a sister ship to the Lady Washington, the state’s official tall ship. The two vessels typically travel together to West Coast ports and will be on Grays Harbor for Fourth of July activities. The ship will be in Blaine, Aug. 3-6.

$206,400 Cost of repairs needed for the tall ship Hawaiian Chieftain

The first phase of Project Overhaul kicks off in July. This phase includes replacement of tail shafts and propellers, which were found to be wearing out in a 2016 inspection, at a cost of $33,500; rebuilding the anchor windlass – the winch used to raise and lower the anchor – at a cost of $10,000; and general maintenance, including painting and rigging work, including replacement or service of all metal hardware, wire rigging and ropes. This is work that is done annually and the cost of $45,000 is not included in the project budget.

Phase two will begin in December, with a budgeted cost estimated at $42,900. That includes $22,900 to update navigational instruments and fix the electrical components on the deck that have been corroded by nearly three decades of exposure to saltwater; and replacing the aft cabin windows and installation of internal metal deadlights – basically a cover for the windows or portholes of a ship – at a cost of $20,000.

The third phase will be a year in length between the summers of 2018-19. Then, the nearly 10-year old, thinning and unpatchable sails will be replaced at a cost of $40,000; replacing about 25 percent of the running rigging – the ropes used to adjust the sails – at a cost of $5,000; sandblasting the entire steel hull, reinforcing it where needed, then repainting in a new black and red color scheme to match the Lady Washington at a cost of $66,000; and partnering with the Port Townsend School of Woodworking to create a new figurehead, nameplate and decorative gallows carving, with a budgeted cost of $9,000.

The total project cost is $206,400 and the Seaport hopes to get $90,000 from private foundations, $15,000 from corporations, $75,000 from private parties through the Project Overhaul campaign, and $26,400 from earned revenue. The Seaport has already submitted $115,000 in requests to private foundations.

The upgrades are needed, said Bednarik, so the ship can continue as part of a maritime workforce development program, training up to 48 people per year. The job market is growing and there is a shortage of qualified applicants for maritime positions; the Hawaiian Chieftain provides hands-on training for a variety of maritime jobs.

Shipwright and Capt. Jake Jacobson is leading the overhaul efforts, and an advisory team of licensed marine engineers helped in compiling a budget for the overhaul and identifying priorities. They are working with vendors to make sure the funds are spent properly, and key shipwrights, engineers and welders are donating their time or working at a discount, said Bednarik.

Donations are currently being accepted at Bednarik said any amount helps, and suggested donations of $29, a dollar for every year the Hawaiian Chieftain has been part of the Seaport’s tall ships program.

Related stories from Bellingham Herald