Honolulu Star Bulletin 07/20/02)
By Ray Pendleton
I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating. This is a very strange year for Honolulu's sailing community.
For the first time since 1978, international yachts will not be congregating in Ala Wai Harbor for their usual biennial regatta -- originally known as the PanAm Clipper Cup and, since 1986, the Kenwood Cup Hawai`i Offshore Series.
By this time in July in previous even-numbered years, the banners would have been flying around the marina and several hundred volunteers would have been putting on their official T-shirts and perfecting their plans for parties as well as for the upcoming races.
Blame it on the world's faltering economy or a change in corporate advertising priorities, but sponsorship dollars have, at least temporarily, nearly evaporated.
Unquestionably, the cancelation of Kenwood Cup and the corresponding loss of the millions of dollars in revenue it brought into our state's economy is bound to be felt by local businesses.
Fortunately though, there are still a couple of outstanding sailing competitions bringing mainland and international boats into Hawaiian waters this summer.
Earlier this month the Lahaina Yacht Club hosted the finish line festivities for the biennial Vic-Maui Race that originated from Victoria, B.C., Canada. Several yachts from that race have now found their way into slips in the Ala Wai for a visit.
And on Oahu, boats are now finishing the much larger West Marine Pacific Cup race from San Francisco to Kaneohe Bay.
Seventy-two boats -- in multiple-day staggered starts -- began the 2,070-mile downwind run to Hawai`i earlier this month.
The boats range in size from the diminutive Dogpatch 26 Moonshine, being raced double-handed, to the giant 147-foot ketch Mari-Cha III, with a crew totaling 26.
The Pacific Cup isn't international in a geopolitical sense, but this year it has entries hailing from three foreign ports.
The Mari-Cha III calls Hong Kong her home and flies the Royal Yacht Squadron's burgee, while the Ohashi 52 Bengal II's home port and yacht club affiliation is in Hekinan, Japan. The third, the Mumm 30 Rainbow, hails from Hamburg, Germany, but is representing the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.
For those who enjoy rooting for local entries, the Pacific Cup has four.
The first, flying the Waikiki Yacht Club burgee, is Honolulu businessman Dan Doyle's Sonoma 30 Two Guys on the Edge, which lead the fleet until the last day. It was the double-handed division winner of last year's Transpac Race from Long Beach.
Another local entry and the overall elapsed time winner of the Transpac last year is Philippe Kahn's Reichel Pugh Pegasus 75, which is also representing the WYC.
Suzie Grubler's Wylie 38 Naughty Hotty out of Lahaina YC, and Diana and Jim Freeland's Santa Cruz 52 Ariel, whose hailing port is Ko Olina, but is flying a Berkeley YC burgee, complete the local entry list.
After the Pacific Cup's yachts have finished, there is a likely chance many of them will find their way to the Ala Wai before sailing home.
Still, there's no question that the effect of those visitors, however welcome, will fall substantially short of the abundance created in past years by the Kenwood Cup Offshore Series.
HoloHolo Hawai`i Ocean Sports News