With less than two months until the start of the Pacific Cup, Allie Cayard shares a bit of insight into the team’s preparation for the race from San Francisco to Hawaii.

The crew of the Hula Girl consists of Paul, Danny and me (Allie) Cayard, along with two Marin Catholic High School alumni who are attending Chico State, Morgan Gutenkunst and Cameron McCloskey. We also have two more experienced offshore sailors who did the Transpac Race last year on Disney’s Morning Light; Mark Towill and Robbie Kane. Mark is from Hawaii and is attending Brown University; Robbie is from Connecticut and is attending the University of Rhode Island.

In preparation for the Pacific Cup Paul, Danny, Morgan and I are attending a safety course at California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California. All of us had our first test on Hula Girl as a team on the 26th and 27th of April. As a beginner on big boats I have a great deal of learning to do, but I felt as though my team was willing to work with me which is a great feeling, especially when one is your older brother. Most of the crew selection was done by my Dad because he has the most experience and knows best! However, it all started with the three of us as a family thing. The food is going to be all freeze dried, which will bring my Dad back to his first Whitbread memories. The boat is going through a few changes at the moment to make it more of a racing boat rather than a cruising boat.

I personally am most looking forward to the experience. It will be one that many people only dream of doing and I am very blessed to have this opportunity. I am also looking forward to growing from the experience because I have always been pampered and being on a boat for ten days will ALL boys will be a new experience for me. I am least looking forward to smelly boys and dirty guy jokes!

This is also the first offshore race for both my brother and I. Danny and a few of the crew brought the boat up to SF from Southern California, but this is an entirely new experience.

I am not quite sure what my responsibilities will be on board, but I have a small feeling I will take on a motherly role with the boys while at the same time being treated like one of the boys by my father.

Sailing with my Dad will no doubt be fun and intense. At times I may even want to kill him, but in the end it’s all worth the experience. I love my Dad with all my heart and he has been the best father anyone could ask for. I am grateful to be stuck on a boat with both him and my brother for ten days before I go off to college.

I have no idea where the name Hula Girl comes from. We debated for a while whether to change it and if so what to change it to. I think we’ll find a meaning for it on our trip to Hawaii.

– Allie Cayard