I've been offered a paid position as "Education Coordinator" on either the Lady Washington or Hawaiian Chieftain, starting in April. Provided I'm not doing something else awesome, I'm inclined to jump at the oppportunity. This however does present me with a difficult decision: The LW or the HC?!
The LW is a much more authentic boat, being made almost entirely out of wood. The HC, on the other hand, actually has a steel hull and deck and bulkheads, which is, you know, "such sauce." However, at least at the present moment, I feel like the HC has a more sociable crew. There are three potential reasons for this, two of which are temporary:
(1) it might just be the individuals that happen to be on board at the time, and thus an entirely transient property.
(2) it might be because the LW was in the Northwest in December while the HC was in California, so only hardened old salts stayed on the LW at the time, while people with a more fun-loving inclination were like "fuck that!" and piled on to the HC.
(3) or it could be the set up of the actual boat. The LW has no tables in the forecastle or main hold, and not even any chairs in the forecastle. The aft cabin is small so usually only people working in there hang out in there. My experience was usually only people who are housed in the main hold hang out in the main hold and in the forecastle people sit in their bunks when they're in there. Not that it's terribly UN-social, I had a lot of fun with everyone, but it's not the most conducive to socializing. Compare it to the HC:
In the LW there are 8 bunks in the forecastle, so most of the crew are housed in there and if you're not, you're kind of a newbie and you're stuck as a "main hold dweller" with no personal space. On the HC, however, there's only 4 bunks in the forecastle, so most of the crew is housed in the main hold, and the main hold more closely resembles the LWs forecastle than the LW's main hold (in that you don't have to pack away your personal stuff every morning, and most of the crew is there). But the HC's main hold even has a table! Additionally the HC's forecastle also has a small table and chairs and the aft cabin is spacious enough that I believe people hang out there as well. Somehow, despite the LW being longer, HC feels like it has much more interior space.
So the pickle is that I really like the LW as a more authentic vessel, but the HC seems like it might have a more sociable atmosphere. In particular I really like that most of the crew is housed together on the HC instead of the forecastle division on LW which forms a sort of natural in-group out-group.
See also: adventures on the LW
I've been hanging out with the crew of the HC most days since they've been in port down here. I'll be sad when they sail away ):
Lady Washington (left), Hawaiian Chieftain (right)