Mark C. Olsen
Hawaii Yacht Club Historian

Before the Mast

Two Women Across the Channel OC-1 Relay Race, May 5, 2011

Before The Mast by Mark C. Olsen- 5/19/2011-#3

Gary Brookins and I, aboard his new Makau 8-Ball, were honored and privileged to escort two ladies with team #61, Hawaii 5-0 to paddle across the Kawii channel. This was for the Worlds One Man Outrigger Canoe Relay Race, Kalulakoi , Molokai to Ala Moana Park. Distance: Over 40 miles.

Our team consisted of Kelly Fey, and her childhood friend Pauhi Loane (Princess), they also brought their support coach as well. Kelly has won these races over twelve times before.

Kelly had just, the week before, bought a new Scorpios canoe on Maui. Instead of shipping it back, the new canoe was launched for the first time at Fleming’s beach on Maui. Kelly then paddled it over to Molokai, down the slot, and on to the start at the West end of Molokai. You do the math on that course traveled.

The start had over 100 canoes going over to Oahu. Our job was to get them across safely, find them the current, and pick them up when transferring every ½ hour. We had to find Kelly at the start of ½ hour crew change. Not easy to do, takes good boat handling skills, and lots of patience.

The first paddling team we encountered was 75 year old Nappy Napoleon paddling side by side with his 12 year old grandson ( he hulied twice). Very heart warming and historic. Like all the paddlers say “wear da pain”.

Halfway across the Kaiwi, making crew changes every half hour with no mishaps. Kaiwi was being kind to us today. She seems to be in a good mood. She allowed us to play with her swells. We caught her bumps, took her lumps, and surfed the swells up to 9 knots.

It was a good day to paddle, surf, and swim in the bosom of the Kaiwi, at the Penguin Banks.

Gary and I drove the girls with all the focus on getting them to Oahu, and staying on course. Our GPS went out, phone call to Lenny at West Marine took 1 hour.

We still pressed on and paddled. Put the girls right on the track for Koko Head. No GPS-wayfareing-done it enough. GPS came on, our track was still straight.

Took the girls across the finish line at Ala Wai in 61st place, in 5:57:38.

Raced over 40 miles, canoe traveled over water 100 miles. Cheers girls.

Nappy came in 62th, behind us. HYC won Lipton Cup!!!

Aloha always,

Mark C. Olsen