Boatman an Inspiration to Junior Sailors

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (11/29/97)
By Ray Pendleton

Mention the name Macfarlane around the canoe paddlers and sailors of Hawai`i and you will get instant recognition, albeit for two different people.

The Macfarlane that paddlers, and most particularly Outrigger Canoe Club members, honor each fourth of July with a memorial regatta on Waikiki Beach is Walter J. Macfarlane, a highly respected O.C.C. president who passed away in 1941.

Commodore Clarence W. Macfarlane - a great uncle of Walter's - is who sailors here recognize as one of the founders of yachting in Hawai`i and the father of one of the oldest, on-going blue water sailing races in the world, the Transpacific Yacht Race from California to O`ahu.

In April, 1906, the latter Macfarlane sailed his 48-foot schooner La Paloma from here to San Francisco in hopes of attracting a few mainland yachtsmen into a race back to Honolulu as something of a promotion for the Islands. Unfortunately, he arrived shortly after the great earthquake and fire had devastated that city.

Undaunted, the commodore made his way down the coast to Los Angeles where he was able to convince two yacht owners to take his challenge - oilman Harry Sinclair with his 86-foot schooner Lurline from the South Coast Yacht Club, and Charles Tutt with his 112-foot ketch Anemone from the New York Yacht Club.

The first "Transpac" race began on June 11, 1906, and 12 days and 10 hours later, Lurline crossed the Diamond Head finish line to become its first winner.

The race created so much of a sensation in Honolulu that the general public, including school children, contributed to a fund to build the schooner Hawai`i for the next race in 1908.

For his contributions to Hawai`i and its sailing community, the Hawaii Commodores Association awards the Macfarlane Trophy for the Yachtsperson of the Year.

In recent years the trophy has gone to such notable sailors as Brian "BJ" Caldwell, who sailed around the world alone; Gary "Skip" Winterbottom, an avid racer and strong supporter of youth sailing; Marie Ann DiGennaro, a competitive sailor and major supporter of women sailing; and Tony Miller, an active racer and a prime participant in the rescue efforts involving a crew member who fell overboard at night during a race.

At last weekend's Hawaii Yacht Racing Association's annual awards banquet, hosted by the Kaneohe Yacht Club, Pearl Harbor Yacht Club member David Boatman was named 1997 Yachtsperson of the Year and his name was added to the Macfarlane Trophy.

Boatman has been an avid sailor for two decades and has participated in racing and cruising activities, here and in California. The list of boats Boatman has skippered or crewed on - from eight to 68 feet in length - reads like a yacht broker's sales sheet. But junior sailing has become his major interest since his son got into boating.

In January of this year, Boatman started a junior sailing program at the Navy's Rainbow Marina in Pearl Harbor to teach basic sailing skills - boat handling, sail trim, boating safety, and marlinspike seamanship. Because these nine- to 18-year-old sailors are military dependents, he also instituted a special training class to prepare them for the local Hawaii Youth Sailing Association races.

I think we can be quite sure that if Commodore Macfarlane were alive today, he would be proud to have his name on a trophy presented to someone as involved in passing on his love for sailing as Boatman.

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