Hilo, Hawaii to Honolulu, Hawaii June 2014

June 15, Sunday

Hilo; Pacific Ocean

1100  Waited for the wind through a lovely, sunny breezeless morning.  Ripples slowly moved across the harbor and finally reached us a few minutes ago.  Tides here are only 1’-2’, but we’ll have the tide carrying us out until 12:30, and better with than against.  Raised mainsail.  Dropped mooring.  Unfurled jib.  GANNET underway headed toward the shore.  Tacked.  Making 3 knots across smooth water toward the end of the breakwater more than a mile away.  The illusive mountain has shown itself this morning.  At least mostly.  I can see the summit.

1130  We cleared the end of the breakwater, hardened up to close hauled starboard.  Seas flatter and less chaotic than when we arrived.  Also better to have extremely light wind ahead where apparent wind is greater than behind.


19°45’N   155°05’W           first waypoint  75 miles  324°

SOG  4.0    COG  356°           Honolulu about 195 miles

1315  Off Pepeekeo Point.  Falling off to beam reach.  Wind up to six or seven knots, as is our SOG.

1700   Two hundred miles is an awkward distance.  With a dawn start and good wind, we could make it before the second sunset; but an early start was never likely from Hilo, so no matter what we do, it is two nights at sea and killing time the second night.

Rain formed to the east of us and the wind increased to perhaps fifteen knots.  A lovely white-capped sea.  Our speed went up to the 7s and 8s, which is fun but simply means killing more time.  In view of the channel ahead and preferring not to reef at night, I reefed the mainsail and partially furled the jib.  Now the wind has lightened and veered.  Main blanketing the jib, so I furled it completely.  This entire brief passage will be made with the brakes on.

However, I did see the first Yellowbrick position update at 1400 local time.  Again the position was correct, but the speed was not.  It showed 1.9 knots and we were then making 3 to 4.

I’ve changed stowage, most significantly by fitting the Avon RedStart at the aft end of the port pipe berth rather than in the bow.  This is possible because of some stuff I disposed of in Hilo.  And I have only two jerry cans of water, rather than four.  One is port of the main bulkhead; the other at the aft starboard end of the space between the pipe berths.  I also moved the second anchor, a fifteen pound Delta from between the pipe berths, to just aft of the end of the port berth.

I can’t say that I notice any difference in GANNET’s sailing qualities in these past few hours.  She sailed wonderfully before.  But the changes seem  good.

1820  Probably to no one’s surprise I did not eat a lot of freeze dried food in Hilo.  There were several nice small restaurants on the mile and a half walk I took around the Japanese gardens and peninsula and Uncle Billy’s General Store, which had some excellent prepared salads that I took back to GANNET for dinners.

Tonight a return to freeze dry.  Alpine Aire  Dijon Chicken.  A superior product, particularly when laced with a spurt of boxed white wine.

A lovely late afternoon once the rain cleared.  Trade wind clouds.  The peak of Mauna Kea is visible.  I can at times clearly see the domes of four of the observatories up there.  How spectacular that must be.

GANNET continues comfortably on at five knots under reefed mainsail.  With full main and jib she would be making at least seven.  But I still wouldn’t be in Honolulu before Tuesday morning.

1900  We are even with the northern point of Hawaii and so entering the Alenuihaha Channel at sunset.  So far no dramatic change.

June 16, Monday

Pacific Ocean

0700  An uneventful night.  We had a smooth a crossing from Hilo to Maui with only light winds and moderate seas.  I was up several times, once when a red moon rose behind us and again at 0200 when I noticed a green light blinking on the Yellowbrick and realized that it was transmitting the 1200 UCT position.

We sailed under just the reefed main until a few minutes ago when I unfurled some of the jib.  I’m still keeping GANNET hobbled, but we were only making three knots and that is too hobbled.

We are presently six miles north of the east end of Maui and have about 120 miles to go.  Trade wind sky.   Pleasant morning.

1030  I set the jib for a while, but it began to be blanketed by the main, so furled it and unreefed main.  We continue on a sunny morning sailing about five miles off the north coast of Maui at five knots with a hundred miles to go.


21°05’N   156°17’W       Next waypoint  21 miles

SOG 5.2   COG  298°       Honolulu about 90 miles

day’s run  106    (this connects noon positions and runs across land; distance sailed greater.)

Beautiful trade wind day.  I can see the summits on Maui and distinguish Molokai ahead.

I keep adding waypoints to this route.  The next is off the east end of Molokai; then one off the west end; and several off Oahu leading to the harbor entrance.

1545  Six miles off the east end of Molokai.  Wind and waves have increased.  May be twenty knots in the channel tonight.  Three islands in sight:  Molokai; Maui; and Lanai.

GANNET is sailing under partially furled jib alone.  The wind is well aft and I don’t want to risk accidentally gybing the main, and I can control our speed better by how much I furl the jib than I can with the main which has only four options:  all the way up; one reef, which is in fact a second reef due to the sailmaker’s mistake; a second reef which is in fact a third reef; and all the way down.

I recently emailed Buzz Ballenger, who made GANNET’s mast and boom, about sailing this rig under headsail alone.  He warned of the dangers in inverting the mast—having the masthead bent forward; and of the mast pumping, and suggested that if I want to do this I should consider having running backstays installed.

Thus far I have seen no sign of the mast pumping; but I did have running backstays, as well as a fixed one, on both EGREGIOUS, which was cutter rigged, and THE HAWKE OF TUONELA, whose mast did pump.  I’m going to try to find a rigger in Honolulu to install running backs.

We have about seventy miles to go.

June 17, Tuesday


0830  Docked at Waikiki Yacht Club

We sailed slowly and mostly comfortably under deeply furled jib through the night.  The Molokai Channel was not rough or blustery.

I got some sleep early at 2000, but then was up and down the rest of the night.  Just before the moon came up at 2230 we were three miles off the west end of Molokai which was completely invisible.  Only a handful of lights shown on that north coast which is a long cliff falling hundreds if not a thousand feet into the sea.

At first light we were just off Oahu and at dawn Diamond Head.  We’ve all seen Diamond Head hundreds of times in movies and television; but from the sea at dawn on your own boat is special.

I brought the parts of the Torqeedo into the cockpit and dock lines and two fenders.

After we rounded Diamond Head, the seas flattened and I was able to mount the Torqeedo on the transom.  The only hard part is getting the shaft on the outboard bracket.  I do tie a line around it, but so far have been able to pick my time and not had problems.  Once the shaft is secured, the battery and tiller arm are easy.

I also got the dock lines and fenders in place.

We continued under jib, now no longer furled, until fifty yards from the outer buoys marking the marina channel.   A light wind was blowing directly out, so instead of short tacking up the channel, I furled the jib and Torqeedoed in.

As I slowly moved up channel, a man kayaking out identified himself as Dave—not the one in Hilo—with whom I’ve exchanged emails; and a bit farther in a man at the helm of a sailboat waved and shouted, “GANNET.  I’ve been following your voyage.”

A nice welcome.

The Waikiki Yacht Club has graciously found space for me.  Presently I’m in a slip, but will exchange places with a boat on an end tie when the other owner is available.  This was not at my request, but I like end ties.  A cooling breeze is blowing through the open hatches, a pleasure I do not often experience at sea.

I have rearranged stowage and GANNET is now in port mode and I will sleep tonight on the v-berth for the first time since leaving San Diego.

I think a sailmaker is coming to GANNET tomorrow; and a rigger sometime later in the week.  I liked sailing GANNET under jib alone last night and if I can get the work done will have running backstays installed here.

I also need to provision and write an article.

I had a hot shower and a cold drink.

GANNET did not ship a wave through the companionway between Hilo and Honolulu.

I did, briefly, feel motion after I stepped ashore, particularly when I closed my eyes in the shower.

After arrival I deactivated the Yellowbrick and brought it below.  It is still showing 87% charge.

I don’t think two days constitute a passage, but to be consistent:  passage over.



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