Aloha Racing's Boat-Building Facility Blessed

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (10/24/98)
By Ray Pendleton

"With this blessing, we hope to make our efforts safe, strong and successful."

That was the opening remark last Monday by Waikiki Yacht Club Commodore Mike Rothwell as he introduced Kamehameha Schools' Young Life Pastor Curtis Kekina. Kekina then gave formal blessing to the Aloha Racing Team's new boat-building facility at the Barber's Point Deep Draft Harbor.

In case you have somehow missed the news, Aloha Racing is Hawaii's America's Cup challenger team.

Beginning in November of next year, it will be one of some 18 yacht racing teams from around the world that will compete in New Zealand in a sail-off to determine which one will have the privilege of racing one-on-one against the present holder of the Cup, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

Up to now, Aloha Racing's efforts have been involved primarily with fund raising, and hull design and testing on the mainland.

But now, with major funding from the HealthSouth Corporation and the use of a vacant, state-owned warehouse, Aloha Racing is moving from testing and talk, to action. The team is preparing to construct the first of two International America's Cup Class boats which may prove to be the most technically advanced in the world.

As anyone who has followed America's Cup racing will tell you, Aloha Racing's isolated building site is ideal. Virtually every time the Cup has been taken by a challenging team, it was due to boat design innovations which the defending team knew nothing about.

To maintain such secrecy, it won't surprise me to soon see "KAPU" signs posted on the building, and very limited access once the construction begins.

There is a rumor though, that since there will be such a high degree of secrecy about the boat's bottom and keel - and there will eventually be need for a skirt to hide them - the skirt will, of course, be grass-like in nature.

The building site is also ideal in another way. Once the first boat - Abracadabra 2000 - is ready to be launched and sailed next spring, she can be berthed and sailed out of the adjacent Ko Olina Marina.

"Ko Olina Resort & Marina is proud to lend its support to Aloha Racing by providing use of its 45-acre private marina, housing for its construction team and racing crew, and office space as needed," said company representative Bill Riddle.

"We are especially excited as it will soon be readily apparent that Hawaii's America's Cup entry will be a first-class competitor, and quite possibly, the boat to beat in New Zealand."

Obviously, the next few months will be very exciting for Aloha Racing, even though the action will be largely behind locked doors. Perhaps for the rest of us, there will be some truth to another rumor going around, that there will be a contest to name the keel hidden beneath the grass skirt. Just one ride aboard her would be the prize of my choice.

With my apologies to Robert Yonover of Rescue Technologies, I have a correction to last week's column. The Internet address for those interested in viewing a graphic demonstration of the effectiveness of the SEE/RESCUE products is:

Last week's Column -|- More Water Ways

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