Honolulu Star Bulletin (04/19/97)
By Ray Pendleton
To hop on a boat and sail off into the sunset has been the dream of many people.
Those who have, have done it in one of three ways. They have bought boats and in turn labored over them as much as they have sailed them, or they have sailed as guests or crew aboard boats owned by others, or they have chartered their dream.
Of those three options, it is the last - chartering - that provides the pleasures of sailing your own course without the pain of maintaining a boat. Either with, or without a skipper (known as a bareboat charter), you can enjoy your cruise and then return the boat to someone else who must keep her up.
Another benefit of chartering is that you can usually board the boat of your dreams in the general vicinity of the ocean you want to cruise in.
Have you always wanted to cruise the west coast of Mexico and the Sea of Cortez? There are boats there waiting for you. How about French Polynesia, with the turquoise lagoons of Moorea and Bora Bora beckoning? They're just a phone call and a plane flight away.
Hundreds of charter boats are available all over the Caribbean and Mediterranean seas, as well as the waters off of Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Tonga and New Caledonia. Hardly a warm water coastal resort in the world exists without several sailboat charter companies vying to satisfy a sailor's dream.
Our islands are the exception to that world-wide charter boat competition. There are a just a handful of individual charter boats available statewide and large companies such as The Moorings and Sunsail have ignored Hawaii's waters completely in favor of the resorts previously listed.
Ask why and the charter companies will tell you that it is due primarily to the fact that most of our islands have rocky, reef-bound shorelines with very few safe anchorages. Couple that with insufficient moorings in our small boat harbors, add some very challenging sea conditions between our islands, and you can understand the lack of interest.
Nevertheless, sailors interested in chartering a boat do have a couple of options on O`ahu, and particularly if they are looking for just a day sail.
The only sailing currently available on the North Shore is with a group aboard the 40-foot catamaran Ho`o Nanea. Give Laura Lee Suyetsugu at the North Shore Activities Center in Haleiwa a call at 637-6722.
If sailing a 54-foot Hunter with an experienced skipper out of Honolulu for a day or a week or more is your style, call the Honolulu Sailing Company at 239-3900.
Sailing clubs are another option in the Honolulu area. There is a sailing club at the University of Hawaii's sailing team facilities that is open to the public and has Lasers and Flying Juniors for use in Keehi Lagoon. Another is the floating sailing club on the 48-foot catamaran Free Spirit moored in the Ala Wai Marina. Members can crew on day sails, or longer voyages to the neighbor islands. For more information, call 737-8115.
Anyone interested in a ride, lessons, or sailing a Hobie '16 catamaran on their own can see Stu Schroeder at C & K Rentals on the beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village. After a quick question and answer session and a checkout sail, you can be flying a hull off Waikiki Beach. Look for the three cats on the beach or call 292-8683 to reserve a boat.
Hele on Back