Sailing Club Offers
a Busy Schedule of Activities

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (10/10/98)
By Ray Pendleton

Are you one of the thousands of people who live in Hawai`i who has never experienced one of our greatest tropical pleasures?

I'm not talking shave ice here, I'm talking about sailing offshore, bathed in balmy breezes, and having nothing but the sound of the warm, blue Pacific Ocean slipping beneath the boat to disturb your contemplation of our cloud-capped islands.

If you are, I'll bet you have made countless excuses: you don't know how to sail, there are no sailing schools, you can't afford a boat, there's nowhere to keep a boat, there are no rental boats, or maybe, you don't even know someone who owns a boat.

Well, I can change all that with one introduction. Please meet Captain Gordie Morris, the general manager of Free Spirit Sailing Associates, Inc., a one-boat sailing club based in the Ala Wai Marina at the Ewa-end of Waikiki.

Join the club and you join in the fun. For over seven years, Morris has been introducing - and reintroducing - people to the joys of sailing aboard the Coast Guard-certified, 48-foot, ketch-rigged trimaran Free Spirit.

When he took over the Free Spirit in 1991, the club had been in operation for a decade, but with limited success. Since that time, Morris has increased the club membership from six to 80-plus, and many have joined as couples.

The Free Spirit Sailing Associates' rules allow for annual or permanent, couple or family, business, senior and youth memberships.

Even though the club has some 20 members who have been aboard for the last 15 years, the majority are folks who are new to sailing, and the level, 24-foot wide deck of Free Spirit allows them an exceptional degree of comfort while learning. Unlike a typical monohull sailboat which heels over under the wind, a trimaran sails comfortably even-keeled.

It is this comfort factor that must explain the fact that several of the Free Spirit members are content to just go along for the ride, rather than actively participate as a deckhand or skipper.

Along with weekly evening cruises, the Free Spirit's yearly activity calendar reads like a retired millionaire's cruising schedule.

This past winter, there were three, multi-day, whale watching trips. One to Lana`i, Maui and Moloka`i; one to Moloka`i and Maui; and one along the windward side of O`ahu.

Snorkeling and SCUBA diving activities have been featured prominently on most of the Free Spirit cruises and none of Hawaii's major islands are missed. Including those mentioned above, there were visits to Molokini, Kaua`i, Niihau and the Big Island.

And, with such great destinations, club activities are not limited to just the water. There is hiking on Kaua`i, and visiting ancient Hawaiian ruins and cave exploration. On Moloka`i, there is viewing the awesome north coast with its highest sea cliffs in the world, and showering under a magnificent waterfall.

This upcoming activity might be just the trip to begin your membership: a three-day cruise to Lahaina over the Halloween weekend.

Imagine sailing to Maui, via Manele Bay, at 10 knots or better, and then taking part in one of the world's best town-wide costume parties?

To make sure you are included, you had better call Morris quickly at 943-0017.

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

Hele On