ALASKA EAGLE MEMORIES —
the escort boat for the 1997 Transpac. The best part of the sail was getting to know Rich and Sheri Crowe. We are still friends. "The most memorable moment occurred at dawn when I was at the helm with a spinnaker flying. Having always been a bowman, I had little experience driving, let alone with the kite, and never with a boat so large. I was thoroughly focused and the two others on watch didn't think to alert me to the squall bearing down on us from astern. Within seconds of the squall hitting with wind and rain the spinnaker exploded. The whole crew came up — some fresh from bed — and got everything under control. "What I remember most was the sight of two of the female crew who would have won any wet T-shirt contest they entered."
H-a-w-a-i-i to Newport in August. Hey, isn’t that hurricane season? Yes sir, it was, but that's another story!" 1992 — Paul Martson: "I crewed aboard Alaska Eagle with Rich and Sheri Crowe in 1992 from Oahu to Newport Beach. It was my first Pacific crossing. "Leaving the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor for the traditional hop to Hanalei Bay, Kauai, it was my first turn at the helm. I grabbed the big wheel and placed a butt cheek on the combing to have a seat. Seconds later Rich said: 'On the Alaska Eagle we stand watches on the helm.' Stand corrected, I was! "But it wasn't all so serious. For example, we were allowed to pool money for a beer run before leaving Kauai. Two shopping carts full looked great! But the math revealed it was only one per person per day. Lotsa crew, lotsa miles. "I lost my (Pacific crossing) virginity on the Eagle, but this summer's Pac Cup will be my 6th time getting lei'd!" 1997 — Captain Glen: "I got to sail aboard Alaska Eagle when she was 'Alaska Eagle' glides south along the Mexican coast during the 2006 Baja Ha-Ha cruisers rally. Some rally crew later voyaged on their own.
1998/'99 — Jeff LaBarre: "In order to qualify as crew on a three-week voyage from Hawaii to Alaska, the school required participants to take a four-day local cruise to the Channel Islands on Alaska Eagle. "The incident that is etched into my memory was my first visit to the spectacular Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island. We stopped to see this sea cave — one of the largest in the world — on the second morning of our trip. The young captain had the inflatable launched and tied along the starboard quarter. He then backed Alaska Eagle into the small cove just outside the 120-foot-high entrance to the cave. As he put the engine into forward to halt the boat's backing, the gear shift failed — it actually came off in his hand. Alaska Eagle continued backing into the entrance. "With incredibly quick action, the captain killed the engine, handed the helm to the 1st mate, and jumped into the inflatable. At the same time he called on us crew to get the sails up 'right now!' He fired up the outboard and towed us slowly out of the cave, which by this time, we were completely inside of. But we were soon in open water with the KINGHORN / OCCSSS ARCHIVES
Mark Haesloop, top left, was thrilled to be aboard 'Eagle' during her last Tranpac commission in 2011.
dinghy stowed. I have had the chance since to admire his skill and command presence as I have dealt with my own mini-disasters that seem an inevitable consequence of venturing about in small boats. "Our trip continued with a jury rigged throttle/gear shift to the incredibly beautiful Cuyler Harbor on San Miguel Island. A wild and windy place, remote and nearly unvisited, yet only 100 miles or so from 13 million people. We hiked to the east end of the island to view an immense beach covered with seals, sea lions, and elephant seals." 2004 — Fabio Maino: "I have a lot of good memories from being on board the Alaska Eagle. In 2004 I traveled from Easter Island to the Marquesas via Pitcairn and Mangareva with skippers Sheri and Rich Crowe. A great trip, my first across an ocean on a sailboat, and through places that I'll never forget. "The stop at Pitcairn was the highlight of the trip, but Easter Island and Polynesia are magical places as well. Sheri and Rich are amazing mentors and great sailors. The Alaska Eagle was an amazing platform for keeping together such a diverse crew, and introducing people to the greatness of ocean sailing." 2005 — Barbara Marrett: I've lost count of the number of times I sailed the Eagle to exotic locales like Pitcairn Island and Rapa. But the most memorable was an all-women's sail from Tahiti to Hawaii during which we encountered the remnants of several tropical storms and hurricanes plus other crew calamities. Karen Prioleau was skipper, Sheila McCurdy and I were mates. The average age of the crew was 52 and the average height 5'4" — what we lacked in stature was made up by character and characters. Petite crew member Patti had been attacked by a pair of pit bulls in Tahiti — she arrived on board with bandages and didn't tell us what had happened until the trip was over. Chiropractor Jackie took a big tumble out of her high bunk and had the most amazing bruises and a black eye
The March 2014 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.