Last Saturday my boyfriend Rick and I went to a friend’s birthday party in Kanehoe by bus. On our return, we changed busses at the junction of Kamehameha Highway and Kalanianole Highway with a young back-packing couple from Hungary.

Upon boarding the bus to Kailua (our home), a young man across the aisle noticed our red ball caps that say “Transpac 2009”. He asked, “Did you come across on a boat?” Transpac is a sail boat race from Los Angeles to Honolulu that takes place every other year. It has just concluded for 2009, in fact, the wrap-up party for the 600 local volunteers was Monday. “Oh no,” I said. “We just welcomed those who did.” I figured he was someone who knew that Transpac means the Transpacific Yacht Race. It has been going on since 1906, after all. “So you hosted a boat?” he asked. At this point, I knew he had participated in some manner. “Hosting a boat” is when local yacht clubs or other groups welcome a boat and its crew as they finish the race. People keep track of exactly where the boats are as they cross the ocean and when your boat hits the 100-mile mark they call everyone to get the party ready (day or night). Details differ but they always involve leis and Mai-Tais.

The young man on the bus had come across on a boat in the race and was leaving the next day for the return voyage. He was going to Kailua from Honolulu to try to find a friend before leaving the island. He and Rick had a discussion about sails and weather for the rest of the (brief) bus trip. I can hand out Mai-Tais and pretty much stay out of trouble on a boat but Rick is the sailor in our partnership.

I did enjoy seeing the really cool boats as they arrived and along the dock at the Ala Wai boat harbor in Honolulu. Everyone has such a good time and they are all so happy to arrive in Hawaiii I wasn’t surprised at the abundance of good spirits, or the lei that seem to mark every significant occasion in Hawaii. But I have to admit the boat lei caught me off guard. Hosting party people make a very large lei that they drape around the front of the boat (yes, I know it’s called a bow).

This year, a really fast boat made by Alfa Romeo zoomed across the ocean in record time. We got a peek at it while it was docked at the Aloha Tower. The race is over until 2011, but next summer there is a race called the Pacific Cup. It is also in July and I’m looking forward to finding out what it is like.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Wow, that sounds like so much fun. I missed the action being way out here on the leeward side. Maybe I’ll get a chance to check out the Pacific Cup next summer.

  2. Makes me wish I had gone, Mai Tais, leis, boats, water and happy people are always a great combination. Then again, I rarely drink, am allergic to a lot of nature, get sea sick, and can barely dog paddle….LOL. But HAPPY I can do.

    Sounds like you had a great time.

  3. This year, the Trans Pac boats arrived over about a week – some are a lot faster than others. It was possible to see them docked at the Ala Wai small boat harbor for the time they are here. It was pretty interesting to think they came clear across the Pacific Ocean on those (fairly) small boats.

    I saw media coverage when the Alfa Romeo arrived (it was first and broke a record) but not too much press otherwise.

  4. Very well written piece about the transpac race. Also shows how the locals are very friendly, supporting and enjoy the event. Sounds like something I would love to attend!
    Great job Cindy

  5. Thank you for the kind words!
    The idea for a boat race across the Pacific is credited to King Kalakaua, although it did not begin during his lifetime.

  6. Don’t you love when you meet random people…

    Love to sail, just went on my friends sail boat in Haleiwa, for the first time. Interesting….but sooo cool!!

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