Mark C. Olsen
Hawaii Yacht Club Historian

Before the Mast:

Hawaii Yacht Club
Friday Night Racing

HOE-Molokai to Oahu Men’s Outrigger Canoe Race:
Log of M.V. 23’ MAKAU , 10/7/2010-10/11/2010

Thurs.0540. Leaving Ala Wai from HYC Aloha dock. Harbor outbound, for Haleolono Harbor on island of Molokai. 3 paddlers on board with RC baggage for channel race,and skipper Gary Brookins (master boat builder) and me. Very loaded down-extra 3k#. Small moon. Foul weather gear on as usual. Getting rough and wet.

0600-. Gary Brookins driving. Hammer down doing 25 knots flying over swells. Past Diamond Head slowing to 18k at Black Point, dark big swells starting. Fast 20k across channel.
0700-15-20 winds- on the Banks No fishing-going fast-dry ride on this MAKAU 23. Close seaway 4-6ft.

0900- On Molokai in,over 2hrs.Brookins allows fishing now off Laau Pt .Run the ledge. Now up to Kaulauakou, in & out. Water flat.

0930- BAM, line lets out- hook up. 25# mahi tail walks-all blue. Gets off, drop back, on again, off. Ono comes through. All hits, loose favorite handmade lure (MOs).

1030-Enter Haleolono to get our slip. End tie with another MAKAU 23. Canoes being delivered. by trucks. Tahitian crew VAA already out practicing in Pailolo channel with canoe builder/legend Sonny Bradley. Drop off our crew.

1600-Dinner prep on MAKAU by Capt/Chef/Cookie G. Brookins. Brought all-no sink or table. Planned Menu: freshly made guacamole, sausage pupus, BQs 8oz steaks, cole slaw, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, All on the BQ. Cocktails in chairs at sunset. After dinner, fresh strawberry shortcakes w/whipping cream. UNBELIEVABLE!! Same for next 2 days.” Brookins would make a good wife.”

Fri.0700- Brookins still cooking. Breakfast: Cheese omelets with mushrooms, toast, and real coffee.
0800-0900- Clean up boat, fix motor leg of dolphin fin, deliver inverter to boater Chuck,from Ron DuBois. Chuck and his dog Kula is the mayor of the wharf.

1030-Go fishing . MAKAU first does some fast donuts o/s harbor at 30k.”Turns in 3 boat lengths”. Pass Laau Pt. Fish in/out all over West end. Go way into Ilio Point area, Papaloa roadstead, and around into Kalaupapa another 2 miles North. Seas near cliffs, steep and rough 6-8, bash right on through it all.

1500- Head back to Lono. Gary needs to cook some more for us.

Sat. 0600- Diving with Gary off the breakwater. Over 120 outrigger canoes on the beach being rigged for the race. 0800- 500 crew members gathering, all over the point. Escort boats arriving from Oahu every 5 min., 68 boats in harbor now. After rigging canoes, most practice. Russian canoe goes out South side. Goes through outside surf and gets dumped (huli). Bail out and paddle back in, backwards.

1000- We get our team assignment #32 from Bradley. Meet our crew-just in today from Tahiti. Their village in Tahiti-Nui all chipped in $60k, to send them to the world series of canoe racing in Hawaii, the HOE. 1200- We get back to MAKAU to prep for departure. Stow all our stuff. Crew will each bring one bag plus extra paddles. 6 paddlers, 3 with us to rotate, a coach, sponsor, and local navigator from Kaneohe. Total of 7. Heavy load. again. I guess Gary won’t let me fish tomorrow.

1500-Go to a BQ with leftovers with all other boat crews and paddlers on the wharf. On a diet next week.

Sun. 0300- RACE DAY- Up early. Got to use heads before all crew arrives, lines forming. Gary falls at dock, very dark, he is OK-thank god. More boats still arriving, Robby Buck anchored in the middle of harbor on a big cat-motors over-gives us a salute-off he goes- Maui??
0500- Crews arriving, buses bring them all down, half of Molokai out on point watching, helicopter coming in and landing. Must be1000 people down on the wharf now.

0600- Loading crew and freight. Getting water, ice, energy bars, and deck assignments. So many boats hard time to get to our stern anchor up, and get out to sea.

0700-All is well, we are ready to get to Oahu first. No one talks, we just know we have a race to win, and a boat to drive. These Tahitians boys are in our hands, to be safe, and do our job they have trusted us with. Heading into the channel. Check in with RC on channel 1.

0730- So many boats and canoes, victory at sea. Looks like a Nimitz fleet of Navy ships. All prop wash/white water from a washing machine.

0800-Race starts canoes all inside close to beach moving fast.. We have to stay behind MAGGIE JOE. Canoes in a pack blasting to Laau Pt. Tahitians VAA way ahead already w/5 teams behind. Brookins driving like a race horse to get to the first turn at Hollywood Park. I’m trying to balance boat, and kept a look out for our team #32, with all the crazy drivers yawing all over the watery highway. We get up in front.

0830- I locate our team, 3 boats back just before the point. We can’t go in until they pass Laau Pt. Then all hell breaks loose, trying to get in position for 1st crew change. Gary driving and pushing MAKAU like a mad man on a race horse. We get there; make the change and a loose paddle in the water. All is well, seas 4-5’ -22k wind.

0930- Heading for the banks. Team 32 is yawing all over wasting time. Swells coming larger, surfing more now. Front pack over 2 miles away now outside. We are headed in to Koko Head. Still going side ass. They can’t see KH or DH yet. I tell them “must steer 240, get into the current soon”.

1000- Over the Banks. Helicopter following us now. We are the only boat out here. Make crew change every 20min-lots of pressure, very dangerous. Brookins driving unreal-seas bigger 6-8’. Reallying surfing now. Helicopter flying very low 100’ above us, wind wash, filming us, Flying backwards and side ways. Go away dude, we are busy here. Very scary.

1100- They are on my track now- looking for the current. Got it- doing 10k now sometime 12k surfing. Current is going, some swells 10’. I help the boys, they have got to jump off MAKAU now into 10’ faces of incoming swell. We are all laughing, enjoying every minute of sharing my backyard of Kaiwi.

1200- Coming down from Koko Head out of a rain squall. We know that we are doing well now. We may in fifth place. Gary hears VHF, lots of trouble with boats and accidents. We press on. Crew is focused; never look up while paddling, looking for more speed. DH in site.

1230- Passing DH into Tongs, watching for the surf line. Crew change for finish at Publics inside. Heading for finish line at DUKEs. Our team finishes 8th place for their first HOE. We are very proud and tired. MAKAU goes in dropped off relief crew and all cargo. Finish in under 5hrs.

1300- Land at ALOHA dock HYC. Cold beer, sandwich, and a nap. Long day. Good day on the Kaiwi Channel.
“Heh Gary whats for lunch?”

Aloha always,

Mark C. Olsen