August 17th – Hawaiian Chieftain, one of the tall ships of Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, will undergo extensive repairs that will keep her out of operation for approximately three months. Last month, Historical Seaport announced that additional maintenance needs were uncovered during a regularly-scheduled haul out period. Now the non profit has released its plan to repair the vessel in order to ensure her seaworthiness for decades to come.

During haul out in Port Townsend, WA, GHHS hired Certified Inspection Services, Inc. to ultrasound Hawaiian Chieftain’s hull and main mast. It was revealed that two sections of the hull needed significant repair. Port Townsend Shipwrights determined that a new bowsprit would need to be fabricated, and repairs to aft cabin windows would also be necessary. Standard maintenance, including rust removal, priming, and paint, was also identified as a need.

GHHS assembled a team of professional crew and contractors to evaluate Hawaiian Chieftain’s maintenance needs and craft a plan to keep the 30 year old vessel sailing for another three decades. GHHS has taken multiple bids for contractors with the current low bid at just under $200,000. While the organization secures funding for the majority of the work, rust busting, priming, and painting will continue. GHHS will also have the vessel surveyed this week.

October 2019: To reduce costs, GHHS is turning towards its established workforce development partners. Hawaiian Chieftain has been moved to the Tongue Point Job Corp facility in Astoria, OR by Port Captain Jamie Trost and crew.

Welding will be done by cadets at Tongue Point Job Corp in Astoria, OR who have done work on Hawaiian Chieftain before as part of their Seamanship training curriculum. Additionally GHHS is submitting new grant requests for the work and will make these repairs the focus of its upcoming annual appeal and fundraising events. The organization’s current campaign for new sails will remain in place to fund the final purchases for the tall ship Lady Washington. Hawaiian Chieftain’s new sails have already been purchased.

For the approximately six months that Hawaiian Chieftain is out of service, Lady Washington will continue to sail as normal.


The steel-hulled Hawaiian Chieftain was built in 1988 in Lahaina, HI for Laurence “Baron” Dorcy Jr. Its design reflects the packet trader ships that sailed coastal New England in the mid 1800’s. Hawaiian Chieftain was acquired by Historical Seaport from private ownership in 2005. Hawaiian Chieftain is also the host of Historical Seaport’s professional maritime training program The Seafarer Collective. Along with Lady Washington, the tall ships of Grays Harbor Historical Seaport are among the most active educational boats in North America, visiting over 30 West Coast communities each year.

For more information or to donate to Hawaiian Chieftain’s repairs, please call (800) 200-5239.