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1906 The Rudder Magazine: Pacific Ocean Yacht Race from San Francisco to Honolulu

April 1906 artricle by Albert Delmar, The Rudder Magazine - View scanned article


[Editors’ Note: The race was to have started in San Francisco but the 1906 earthquake hit and the race was moved downcoast to Los Angeles where it has been conducted ever since.]

The desire for long-distance racing is spreading. It is something that appeals to the real sailor and the sport that was creating so much interest a quarter of a century ago is being revived. While there have been many contests across the cold, wind-swept Atlantic, there have never yet been a yacht race across the tropical latitudes of the Pacific, the ideal for cruising yachtsmen, where there are no fogs, bleak winds or icebergs to endanger and harass the amateur mariner.

Next summer the first yacht race will take place. The Hawaii Yacht Club offer a handsome silver trophy for a race from San Francisco to Honolulu. The distance is two-thirds as long as the yachts traversed this year for the Emperor's Cup and under favorable winds the trip could be accomplished in ten days by the boats that will compete, which will be much smaller in size, the largest being about half the size of Fleur De Lys which was the smallest of the eleven yachts in the Atlantic race. While it is rather soon to hear from all the owners of cruising yachts on the Pacific Coast, indications point to at least six able vessels competing for the Hawaii trophy. Nearly every club with large boats will be represented, from San Diego to Victoria.

As the size of the competing boats will vary so much it is proposed to handicap the larger boats. It is the desire of the Hawaii Yacht Club to make the event popular with all and to secure the very best form of time allowance in this race. Letters have been written to many designers and yachtsmen asking what in the opinion would be the best system of handicapping. They hope, in this way, to arrive at a satisfactory settlement of this troublesome question. The exact time of the start has not been determined and will depend on the desire of the owners, but the probability is, the event will take place during May or June. During these months the trades blow strong and true, with little change of calms and all the boats should make creditable runs. It will be "a free sheet and a flowing sail, and a wind that follows fast" for it will be a run before the wind the entire distance.

On the arrival of the yachts in Honolulu the owners and guests will be royally entertained. It is proposed to give the visitors an old-time luau (an Hawaiian feast) and they will be introduced to "poi" (the Hawaiian's staff of life); fish, game, pig, bread fruit, etc, cooked under ground. It will be the Kings and Queens of Hawaii to favored visitors. It will be a novel entertainment and one the yachtmen will not soon forget.

As they have some able little yachts in Hawaii it is proposed to have a race around the Island of Oahu, on which Honolulu is situated, in which the island craft can compete with the Pacific Coast visitors. The distance is 120 knots with running, reaching and beating, which will bring out different points of sailing and make the most exciting contest ever sailed in the islands. In this race there will be about a dozen yachts of all rigs and size participating.

The Hawaii Yacht Club wish to show the visitors over their favorite yachting grounds and show what the islands have to offer pleasure seekers on the water. To make things interesting a cup will be offered for a race to Lahaina, on the island of Maui, 75 knots from Honolulu. This is a course up channel and requires some beating and will bring out the cloes hauled work of the yachts. Another luau will be held at Lahaina. After a couple of days viewing different points of interest ashore, a visit to Haleakala, the largest extinct volcano, which towers over ten thousand feet from the sea, the yachtsmen will embark for a run to Hilo, the city of second importance in the islands. From Hilo the amateur sailors will journey to the greatest active volcano in the world, Kilauea. On the summit is a modern hotel where they will remain over night viewing "the burning mountain" during the dark and silent hours of the night, for at this time the scene is most impressive.

Hilo being a day's sail nearer the Pacific Coast the fleets will part company, the island yachts running home to Honolulu and the visiting craft standing close-hauled on a Northerly course until they get the West-erly wind that enables them to start sheets and run home. The return voyage should take about fifteen days.

The Pacific Coast and Hawaii yachtsmen are looking forward to this ocean race this year with genuine delight, as they feel it will do more for the sport than anything ever attempted heretofore.