Transpac seeking greeters
IN March I wrote here about Honolulu's rich tradition of greeting the Transpacific Yacht Race competitors at the end of their 2,225-nautical mile voyage from Los Angeles.
Starting with the first race 101 years ago, every boat's crew has been welcomed with flower leis, an assortment of pupus, and gallons of refreshing beverages. It was not unusual to hear Hawaiian music in the background, of course, and at times there may have even been hula dancers.
I bring this up once more because Barbara Silvey, the person responsible for organizing the army of volunteers needed to greet this year's 70-plus yachts, tells me that like the Marines, she is still looking for a few good men. Or women. Or corporations.
Naturally, the first question people ask when they are invited to become official greeters is "What do we have to do?" The obvious answer is to provide the aforementioned food, flowers, and grog, but as you might imagine, there are a few other details.
To begin with, when boats ranging in size from 30 to 90 feet race across the ocean for a week or more, it's impossible to know exactly what time of day or night they may arrive at their slip in the Ala Wai Harbor.
So perhaps the most important factor when agreeing to volunteer to greet a boat is to know without a doubt your calendar is completely empty during the time your boat is likely to arrive.
Your first official notification for an estimated time of arrival (ETA) sometime in late July will be when your boat is 100 miles from the Diamond Head finish line.
Another ETA follows that from 25 miles out and another when your boat is offshore of Makapuu Point.
These ETAs will warn you when to begin to set up your dockside party so the hot pupus stay hot and the cold mai tais stay cold, but remember, it may be at 4 p.m., 4 a.m., or anytime in between.
As for which boat to greet, the choice at last report is down to just six vessels with their crews numbering between four and nine.
The crew size, of course, will dictate the size of the spread you will need to set out.
Restaurants such as the Waikiki Chart House, the Wailana, Assagio's, Roy's, the Yard House, and Morton's, to their credit, have all agreed to offer their aloha to some of the larger yachts and their crews.
And, along with our local yacht clubs, companies like Aloha Airlines, Hawaii Superferry, the Ilikai Hotel, Embassy Suites, Marisco, Coulson Construction, North Sails, Pacific Diversified Finishes, and the Ala Wai Fuel Dock have volunteered to host visiting yachts.
Still, it's the individual volunteers and their friends that greet the majority of the boats and Silvey hopes you would like to join them.
To get in on the fun, just call her at (808) 926-0250, or e-mail to email@example.com.