Ray Pendleton Water Ways

Ray Pendleton

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Yachting champions
aren’t free

I'm sure the Hawaii Commodores' Association, like most organizations doing fundraisers, is hoping for a huge turnout for tomorrow's annual SeaFest benefit event for the Hawaii Sailing Foundation at the Waikiki Yacht Club.

After all, it follows that when more people attend, more money is generated and, in this instance, more Junior Sailing activities can then be funded.

It's the reason the leaders of Oahu's yacht clubs began holding this event many years ago.

Still, there also may be a few folks who would just as soon see the attendance marginal just to keep the bidding low on a couple of items in particular, but I digress.

About this time each year, SeaFest is held at one of the three major yacht clubs on Oahu, either Kaneohe, Hawaii or Waikiki. And along with asking an entry-fee donation of $15, the primary method of generating donations is through the live and silent auctions of various goods and services.

The Hawaii Sailing Foundation, as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit charitable organization, uses the funds raised at SeaFest to assist our state's young competitive sailors in traveling to the mainland for regional and national events.

"There's always a Catch-22 for interscholastic sailors in Hawaii," Waikiki Yacht Club sailing coach Guy Fleming said. "We have year-round, world-class conditions here, but competing at that level requires expensive and time-consuming trips to the mainland."

For example, you need to look no further than WYC's Andrew Lewis, who won this year's Laser Nationals in Santa Cruz, Calif., and was a close contender to represent the U.S. at the 2004 Olympics in Athens in the Laser Class.

When Andrew was attending Honolulu's Assets School in 1998, he became the first high school student from Hawaii to win the National High School Single-handed Sailing Championship.

"Andrew's path to the Nationals began here when he earlier captured the Maui Divers Interscholastic Challenge Cup and began training with the WYC's Junior Sailing program," Fleming said.

So, with their main objective to maximize the donations for the Andrews of the future, SeaFest organizers were delighted to learn that Transpacific Yacht Race record holder Roy E. Disney would be donating two round-trip tickets to the mainland, passes to Disneyland and a sail aboard his famous yacht Pyewacket.

And, because those are the kinds of auction items that can really start a bidding war, it's possible there could be those who may hope for that marginal attendance I spoke of earlier.

The Commodore's Association just hopes they'll remember, it's not about bidding on a bargain, but making sure Hawaii's Junior Sailors have the funding needed to compete at the national and world levels.

The SeaFest begins at noon tomorrow, with the silent auction going until 2 p.m. and the live auction from 2 to 4 p.m.

Grab your checkbook and I'll see you there.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Ray Pendleton is a free-lance writer based in Honolulu.
His column runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin.
He can be reached by e-mail at raypendleton@mac.com.



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