Maui's Curtis looking for sailing crew

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin 12/15/01)
By Ray Pendleton

Have you ever dreamed of sailing through the islands of French Polynesia?

You know, just hopping on a boat and cruising the tropical lagoons of islands like Tahiti, Raiatea, Huahine and Moorea?

Well, if you have some free time in April 2002, you could have a chance to live your dream.

Bruce Curtis, a Maui resident, recently asked if I could put the word out that he is looking for a couple of people to help crew his Caliber 40, Rhapsody, from Tahiti back to its home port on O`ahu.

That 2,600-mile-plus passage wonąt begin until May. But Rhapsody is currently hauled out on Raiatea, so once she is back in the water, a leisurely goodbye voyage through the islands to Tahiti will precede the longer trip home.

Curtis says anyone interested in crewing could be on board for either or both passages.

As for his credentials, it should be understood that Curtis is no neophyte sailor.

After a number of years sailing a Morgon 38 throughout the Hawaiian chain, Curtis took delivery of Rhapsody in Seattle in 1994.

"I sailed her from Seattle to Hawaii - some 2,600 nautical miles - and it was a beautiful passage," Curtis said.

"Hawai`i interisland sailing occupied the next four years," he said, "and I doubt there is a port-of-call here I havenąt been in."

Still, in 1998 Rhapsody came down with what Curtis calls "dock fever."

As he explains it, dock fever is a condition a boat gets that is brought on by confinement and by not meeting new cruising friends from all over the world.

And, as he also notes, meeting other cruisers is not likely to happen in Hawai`i because the word is out to sailors worldwide that our state is not cruiser-friendly.

So, to relieve Rhapsody's dock fever, Curtis got underway and sailed for Midway Island, about 1,300 miles northwest of O`ahu.

"Rhapsody showed her true love for cruising," Curtis said.

"We were one of the first sailboats to make Midway a destination. It was so great we stayed there 40 days."

This past May, dock fever once again struck Rhapsody and because she had already been both east and west, Curtis decided this time he would take her south.

"After a 2,700-mile, storybook sailing passage, we arrived in Tahiti," he said. "And ever since then we have been cruising around French Polynesia."

Because hurricane season in the South Pacific occurs in their summer - our winter - Curtis has had Rhapsody hauled out on Raiatea since October to protect her from possible cyclones.

That threat will be past when he puts Rhapsody back into the water in April in preparation for her voyage back to Hawai`i.

And, of course, that will be the time when some lucky volunteers will meet and board Rhapsody for a voyage of a lifetime.

If that sounds like your dream come true, why not give Curtis a call at (808) 669-7547, or drop him some e-mail?

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