Whidbey Examiner


Chieftain draws volunteers from across country

Whidbey Examiner Staff
August 18, 2013 · Updated 3:27 PM

Kaylie Borden talks with David Haney as they wait to greet visitors aboard the Hawaiian Chieftain, which visited Coupeville recently. The ship is staffed with a mostly volunteer crew who live throughout the United States and Canada. / Nathan Whalen photo

David Haney, who recently retired from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office, came up with an interesting way to kick off his retirement. He is spending the summer volunteering as a deckhand on a tall ship that visited Coupeville last weekend.

He is part of the 15-member crew of the Hawaiian Chieftain, a 103-foot topsail ketch operated by the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, which spent nearly a week in Coupeville.

The Hawaiian Chieftain draws volunteers from across the United States and parts of Canada. In addition to Haney, the current crew comes from Montana, Nebraska, Idaho, California and British Columbia. They are students, retired and at least one is a veteran.

Haney said he learned about the Chieftain and the need for volunteers when the ship visited Hood River, Ore., where he moved to after retiring in March. He went through a two-week training course and has been volunteering ever since.

“I told my wife I was coming back with an earring, eye patch and tattoo,” Haney said while he was greeting visitors onto the ship that was moored at the Coupeville Wharf.

For other crew members, the adventure on the chieftain is a respite between careers or a nice summer break.

Patrick O’Brian had just completed his enlistment in the Navy and he is spending the summer on the chieftain before traveling to East Coast to pursue a career working on ships.

The Linwood, Neb., native served on the USS Whidbey Island while in the Navy; however, the August tour on the tall ship marked the first time he visited the area.

Theo Ser-Rayin lives in Oakland, Calif. and is spending his third summer aboard the educational boat.

“I grew up loving historical sailing,” he said. The California native is heading to Oberlin College in Ohio where his plans to major in humanities and music.

Kaylie Borden, who serves as ships steward and education coordinator, is in her second year serving on the Chieftain.

“I loved it so much, I applied for a paid position,” Borden said. The Boise, Idaho, native is also a college student.

She is attending the University of Idaho where she majors in history and government with minors in French and dance.

The Hawaiian Chieftain wrapped up its nearly one-week stay in Coupeville Monday. She was moored at the Coupeville Wharf throughout the duration of the Coupeville Arts and Crafts Festival. People could tour the ship while moored at the Coupeville Wharf and enjoy several sailings.

The ship is normally accompanied by the Lady Washington; however, Borden said the ship didn’t make the trip to Coupeville because it is being used in a film shoot.


For more information about the Hawaiian Chieftain and the education programs conducted by Gray’s Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, go to www.historicalsea




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