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After two weeks at sea, Pacific Cup sailors squeeze their boats into Kaneohe Bay and celebrate safe arrival in Hawaii! The first boat arrived Friday but many are not in yet.
Last night’s jazz dinner kicked off a week of parties celebrating the semi-annual “Fun Race” across the Pacific Ocean. Some of the boats who made the crossing were pretty small – it’s hard to imagine them bouncing along the ocean swells. The smallest is just 21 feet long and skippered by a woman. Emma Creighton sailed her boat “Pocket Rocket” with only one other person (double-handed). This is the first year that type of boat – a Mini Transat – was allowed in the race. The youngest crew this year is two 21-year-old college students from Florida. Their boat, “Further”, is just 27 feet long. That’s the same size as the boat that Rick and I have, and it doesn’t have a bathroom. That would be a LONG two weeks!
The boats check in several times along the race and especially as they get close to Hawaii. When they are near Oahu, a local boat goes out to guide them in (to avoid the coral in Kaneohe Bay). The crew is met with Mai-Tais, and lei for both crew members and the boat. Those are some happy sailors in the arrival photos – thrilled to be in Hawaii and probably equally happy to be near a shower once more.
Spending two weeks in a boat of any size is a bonding experience for the crew. At last year’s Transpac, a wedding was performed upon arrival in Hawaii. This year, people on two Pacific Cup boats have announced engagements. (They don’t announce if any porces result from either the race or the expense of preparing for it.)
The parties continue over the next few days as each boat is welcomed to Hawaii. The atmosphere is relaxed and celebratory – many of the boats have made the Pacific crossing multiple times. Owners, skippers and crew find old friends and competitors who want to hear every detail and share stories of what went wrong or when the wind failed.