Sullivan on a voyage of friendship

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (03/27/99)
By Ray Pendleton

Seeing a small group of kids getting ready to go out for a sail at the Hawaii Yacht Club one afternoon last week wasn't very surprising.

After all it was spring break and kids all over Hawai`i were out of school.

No, what made this group of kids special was that they were not out of school, they were out of hospital beds. They were all ambulatory patients from the Honolulu Shriner's Hospital and the Kapiolani Medical Center.

What had brought them out for a sail on the water was an invitation from a sailor who is just passing through Hawai`i on his voyage around the world.

The sailor, 37-year-old Jim Sullivan, with crewman Aaron Jones, began the first leg of a circumnavigation attempt in Monterey, California, last September aboard the 30-foot sloop Elusive.

They reached the Big Island at Kailua-Kona 22 days later, where Jones got off and flew home to California.

Sullivan then did a bit of island hopping, found his way to O`ahu and the HYC in mid-February, and has been moored there ever since.

Now, some might say he's not exactly setting a record pace for circling the globe, but for Sullivan, speed is not the objective.

"Oceanfriends - the Voyage," as Sullivan calls his adventure, "has one simple goal: to meet new ocean friends around the world and spend quality time with hospitalized children, school children, and the elderly, and share our love of the ocean and sailing ... through slide shows and sailing ... aboard Elusive."

After numerous visitations and slide shows at schools in Honolulu, he seems to meeting that goal.

Sullivan's voyage is certainly not your usual man-against-nature sailing epic, but rather, a "humanistic journey" designed to establish worldwide friendships.

So, along with creating quality time for the people he meets on his voyage, Sullivan encourages everyone to come along with him vicariously by periodically visiting his Internet website at

Through the magic of computer technology, even the most seasick-prone can comfortably cyber-sail aboard Elusive, as Sullivan posts his log entries and action photos while underway.

And so as to not make the communication experience one way, e-mail from his new friends and supporters are also published on the website. His address is

One of the friends Sullivan made here in Honolulu is Les Vasconcellos, an experienced sailor and owner of a J35, Urban Renewal.

Because Sullivan was making some repairs on his 30-year-old Cal 2-30, he asked Vasconcellos if would mind taking a few young hospital patients out sailing for an hour or so. Vasconcellos said OK, and by the end of the sail, he was asking how the experience could be made into a regularly scheduled event.

If Sullivan has that sort of effect on everyone he meets on his circumnavigation, I'm sure the world will be a better place because of it.

As to Sullivan's future itinerary, he plans to cast off on his next passage on March 31, bound for American Samoa, by way of Palmyra Atoll.

But, please, don't try to pin him down to a definite schedule.

Making friends isn't something that follows timetables, so you will just have to check his progress on the web.

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