Another Transpac has come and gone….it will remain in the spirits of those who participated in the race, volunteered, or had it touch them in some way; if they are a sailor or water-lover of life here in these islands.
For those of you who aren’t sailors, here is a brief history of Transpac, which is the longest running sailboat race in the world. The former King David Kalakaua, of the Hawaiian monarchy, had conceived of the idea of a sailboat race to the islands. Sadly, the king passed away before the race ever became a reality but the idea had inspired some local sailors, who kept the idea alive. It wasn’t until, 1906 when the first race actually occurred. It starts near Long Beach, CA with the finish off the Diamond Head lighthouse & buoy; establishing a distance of 2,225 nautical miles; being held in odd numbered years.
This Transpac, I only had the opportunity to greet a finishing boat once, due to work obligations. That was on Friday morning the 24th of July.
The morning of the 24th was a gorgeous Hawaiian day, plus it was Aloha Friday. The Santa Cruz 37, “Celerity”, had come in 1st in Division 7 & 1st overall. Way to go, Celerity! It was time to get to the harbor to greet her and her crew. I had been following the race via the “Yellow Brick Road” app on my iPad (thank you Roy Disney and friends) and I could see “Celerity” was due in anytime at the Diamond Head buoy. It was just after 4:30 AM (normally I’m not awake this early but an escrow needed some serious attention too). I packed up my backpack and off I went to Hawaii Yacht Club, where the welcoming party was awaiting her arrival.
I arrived after “Celerity” had already pulled up to the Aloha Dock at HYC. The festivities were in full swing. The camera crew from KHON-TV was on the scene, the families of the crew members were too, and an assorted group of sailors from Waikiki Yacht Club and Hawaii Yacht club as well. Of course, the committee people from Transpac Yacht Club wouldn’t miss this arrival either. We were all on hand to do what we do when a boat finishes Transpac—share the Aloha Spirit. What a great way to start Aloha Friday!
I feel why Transpac is such a special race, to the racers and us local sailors, is best summed up in the words of the winning Skipper/Owner—Harry Zanville, “I don’t race my boat on the mainland, I only race it here to Hawaii”. Needless to say, his excitement at their accomplishment was infectious. The crew’s camaraderie and sheer joy, at having achieved such a milestone was evident.
I think that sums it up for us local sailors here too. Why we get “Transpac Fever” as it is called, because we want to share the Aloha Spirit when they arrive. At whatever time they arrive, day or night. Anyone who has ever sailed past Diamond Head, seen that beautiful lighthouse, then crossed the Diamond Head buoy, into the blue waters off Waikiki. We become fast friends in the Spirit of Aloha and Transpac.
As the words to a very well known local song go, “Home in the islands…in the middle of the sea.” Pollyroger, signing off for now.