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Above, Left to Right: Author's father, Bob Hinman, in front of his boat Charisma in Ala Wai (photo from the Hinman family collection); Young Odin Bjorklund helping on the bowsprit of the family sailboat; The Bjorklund's Tahiti Ketch Yare sailing offshore (both photos from the Bjorklund family collection.)

though the sudden heat of the tropics sent the Coles to a military surplus shop in search of a boom tent for shade. Like many, they rented a car to visit Volcano National Park. The Bjorklunds also took advantage of the rental car to stock up at Costco on the Kona side. Like many, the Bjorklunds found Hilo convenient, as did we, Nancy Erley, and our friends Kim and Robert Milligan on the J/120 RAM on their way back from the South Pacific. However, there is a drawback. Sailing on to the other islands across the Alenuihaha channel can be rough. Nancy Erley found the Alenuihaha Channel to be among the rougher patches of water she encountered during her circumnavigation. Stay north and consider crossing at night for a calmer passage.

BIGGEST CHALLENGES One of the biggest challenges of cruising Hawaii is the strong winds and currents that funnel between the islands, which can make for boisterous channel crossings between them. The combination of wind, ocean swells, and currents can combine to create waves that are quite steep, and sailing across them can be wet and miserable. Many prefer to make night passages between islands to take advantage of lighter winds. Making landfall in the darkness can be disorienting when trying to distinguish navigational lights from shore lights, so timing a passage to arrive during daylight may require estimating elapsed travel times and departing at odd hours. The Alenuihaha Channel between Hawaii and Maui is 26 miles across, while the Pailolo Channel between Maui and Molokai is only eight miles. The Molokai Channel, which stretches between Molokai and Oahu is 23 miles. The largest gap lies between Oahu and Kauai. If the idea of traversing across these rough channels sounds less than appealing or you are short on time, you might consider making landfall in Maui and confine your travel mileage within the cluster of islands of Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Oahu. The downside of this approach would

mean missing the relaxed atmosphere of Hilo and the sites of the big island and the lovely Hanalei Bay on Kauai. The weather in Hawaii can change quickly and dramatically. Smart sailing means keeping a constant eye on the weather around you, knowing where safe harbors are on any given route, and being flexible. In all the islands there are only a few places in which you can anchor and be out of the swells. Boaters need to be aware of local Kona winds and changing weather conditions in case you need to move. A place that is comfortable in trade wind conditions may not be comfortable in a southwesterly Kona wind condition. Venturing ashore, you’ll often need to land the dinghy between swells, leap out, grab the dinghy, and run up the beach before another wave arrives to swamp you. Getting the timing right is a skill my husband and I have had to perfect. The Stabberts consider some sort of motion dampening equipment (like Flopper Stoppers) essential for comfort aboard

in the many rolly anchorages, especially for motor boats. Last year, the Stabberts cruised 1,900 miles throughout the islands, were at anchor 90 days in various island anchorages, and 90 percent of the time they were the only power boat and often the only boat in an anchorage. In some places there can be a scarcity of dock and anchorage space due to a prevalence of excursion boats and locals. An example of this is the tiny marina in Lahaina on Maui where med-moor-style dock space can be tough to attain. While Lahaina Yacht Club has eight mooring balls that are available for up to 14 days, it’s not a great anchorage if the wind comes up. Planning and calling ahead may make the difference between a pleasant and frustrating experience, but flexibility is key. Before arriving in Oahu, you may be able to reserve space at Ko’Olina or in the Ala Wai, but chances are good that you will be able to find someplace at anchor or on buoys. The Stabbarts like the bight, just off Waikiki Beach, where there’s a niche in

Below: Don and Sharry Stabbert's 77' Steve Seaton trawler, Starr. Power cruising requires good knowledge of the best fueling stops, stocking up, and planning ahead. Dampening the motion aboard will be the key to comfort in more exposed anchorages aboard a motor yacht.



Profile for Northwest Yachting

NW Yachting October 2018  

The latest on power and sail boating in the Northwest, featuring Wendy Hinman's tips for Cruising Hawaii; a preview of Hewescraft's newest p...

NW Yachting October 2018  

The latest on power and sail boating in the Northwest, featuring Wendy Hinman's tips for Cruising Hawaii; a preview of Hewescraft's newest p...