First Mate: Tim
Day 1, 10/24/2014:
We departed Keehi with a full load of kite gear, destination Ala Wai for the Friday Night Races as usual around 2 pm. We promptly DQ’ed out of the race for multiple reasons (motor to avoid collision, motor to avoid a towed vessel in distress, and finally just motoring back), quickly dropped some of our extra race crew at the dock and took off for a night crossing, non-stop to Maui. We kept hard on the wind, no tacks all the way across the channel with some good pounding against the wind waves, double reefed in solid 20 knots of wind all the way to Molokai’s wind shadow. David and Ben held the first shift (well, mostly David with Ben adjusting his stomach to the rough sea) while Tim and I tried to sleep between hull-slamming bombs.
Day 2, 10/25/2014:
Waking up to all sail pulling, Tim and I took over the morning shift behind Molokai aiming for the Pailolo Channel, direct shot to Lahaina. The wind kept dropping until we were becalmed, so Tim and I motored a bit towards Molokai to catch some of the land breeze and were able to ghost along, engine off, for an hour or so. The wind died a few more times requiring more engine runs until we finally made it around the corner to catch the Pailolo breeze. With just a few zigs and zags upwind and a close run along the empty expanses of the north coast beaches of Lanai on a long tack, we hit the wind shift to run downwind almost all the way to Lahaina. After a 19 hour run, zero success in our fishing, we finally moored up to a Lahaina Yacht Club ball (free over the weekend) by mid afternoon.
We ate some land mammal, did a bit of bar hopping and hit the hay. No one had trouble sleeping, despite the complete lack of preparation regarding bedding. Towels for blankets, haha!
Day 3, 10/26/2014:
Kite kite kite!!! We rented a car, drove up north to Kite Beach and had a BLAST kiting all day. All I had was my 10.5 meter kite depowered, but it was great for practicing bigger jumps than I could get back at Kailua, Oahu. Ben and David had a big air contest, David winning handily until Ben got a big boost near the end, despite (or thanks to?) his ungainly foil board. Too close to call, but David is sure he won. And yeah, Ben is sure he won. So let’s call it a tie :)
Tim and I played around in the waves for a bit between jumps. Fun day!
More bar hopping in the evening, 10 pm bedtime in preparation for an early departure the next morning.
Day 4, 20/17/2014:
6 am, wake up!!! “Grooooan!” We finally got the boat moving around 6:40, messed around with the spinnaker, and finally had the boat comparable to ourselves the night before: three sheets to the wind. We then brought the jib in, filled the spinnaker and ghosted along under 1 knot for a while. As we continued towards Lanai, pinching as hard toward Oahu as the spinnaker would allow, we finally had to avoid running aground on Lanai. Siren’s first gybe under Captain Becker’s command: successful! :) The wind started picking up, the following seas increased, and Siren became less and less balanced. Ben was steering quite a bit, but really muscling the wheel. We finally double-reefed the main and the boat settled down a bit, but we still needed to take shifts to save our steering muscles. Our boat speed kept increasing until we reached hull speed, the wind kept increasing, and we seriously considered dropping the spinnaker. Naaah, screw it! This is fun. We are CRUIIIISING! Our GPS showed 8 knots, with jumps up to 11 knots when surfing down the waves. Wahoooo!
David’s lure caught a Mahi on the fishing rod in the channel, so we reeled ‘er in, filleted ‘er, and zip-locked the fillets for storage in the fridge. The sunny days kept the batteries fully charged the entire trip.
Our plan was to try to return to Siren’s slip at Keehi by around 10 pm, but with our continuous high speed we actually made it back before twilight ended! We were able to drop the spinnaker in daylight, cruise up the channel without tacking, and completed the entire day without engine until a few minutes before entering the slip at Keehi. 11:40 transit home vs the 19 hour transit out! Crazy.
Another great trip on Siren. Absolutely no problems, no failures, no injuries, no rain, great crew, just tons of fun!