Hula Girl Update

At 0830 this morning we had 50 miles to go and we had just got finished dealing with the morning squalls. They were pretty mild this morning. We were hoping for a bit more really, to give us a chance to pass the Raindrop for first to finish. Raindrop is the only boat ahead of us. They are just 36 feet long, racing in the double handed division which started about 5 days ahead of us. They have been out here for a while! Maybe they deserve to the honor of finishing first.

We had a good night including some white knuckle driving by yours truly in 28 knots of wind with the A4 up. Boat speed was a pretty steady 18 knots with peaks at 20. Again, I am impressed with how well this boat performs!

Amazingly, we had no major damage onboard during the race. Not a torn sail, not a broken batten, never got kelp on the keel or rudder. We did have some normal wear and tear and we did break one masthead spinnaker halyard that required Robbie Kane going up to the top of the mast to drop a new one in 20 knots of wind. He is a “pro” with a great future!

Molokai is in sight off to our left as we are aiming at Coco head on Oahu. The wind is just 14 knots as usual at this time of the morning. It will build a bit as the morning goes on.

With the finish to our voyage hours away, I am thinking about how this was just a dream a year ago. I have to admit, it was a lot more work and time consuming that I thought it would be. That was mostly my fault as I wanted to modify and improve the boat which created a huge amount of work for my friends. But the boat is a nice boat to sail.

My goals with this project were: to share a sailing adventure with my children, that none of us will ever forget. Also, the goal was to expose them to the great world of offshore sailing, the beauty of nature at sea, and the teamwork and camaraderie that is crucial to a winning team. Along with mine, I took four other outstanding young adults, all of whom thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have gained a lot out of it for sure. Mission accomplished.

I want to thank my whole crew; Allie Cayard who was a trouper, never missed a watch and lived with seven guys on a small boat for eight days. She ground the winches, trimmed the main and steered the boat at times. Allie will start her freshman year at the University of Colorado at Boulder this September. Danny Cayard, is the skipper of Hula Girl and learned tons on this trip. I think he and his friends could take the boat themselves next time. Danny is starting his sophomore year at Cal Poly San Luis. Mark Towill, Morning Light Alum, Hawaii native and Brown University sophomore; Robbie Kane, Morning Light Alum, already a top level bow man on the pro circuit at 23 years of age and University of Rhode Island Senior. We were very fortunate to have these two very well prepared and experienced young people on the Hula Girl. Thanks Morning Light-Roy and Robbie. Morgan Gutenkunst, Marin Catholic High School alum with Danny, Cameron and Allie, did a great job onboard with maintaining the running rigging, and is currently a Junior at Chico State; Cameron McCloskey also a senior at Chico State and 18 foot skiff sailing partner with Danny. For Danny, Allie and Cameron, this was their first offshore experience as well as first big boat sailing experience. Finally, my long time friend, Ralfie Steitz was the perfect partner for me as watch captain. Ralfie is the sailing coach at the US Merchant Marine Academy and is very used to working with young people. He is great at it!

I want to thank all those who worked on Hula Girl in the past few months, as well as the industry people who gave me great advice and products to optimize Hula Gil.

So this afternoon, we will finally taste that Mai Tai, the one we worked so hard for. It will probably taste pretty good. Might have to have a second one just to make sure of how good it is.

I am happy with myself for making this happen. For sure it cost some money, and for sure it took a lot of time, but as they say in the commercial: Priceless!

Paul Cayard