Winds batter
neighbor islands

Maui and the Big Isle
suffer power failures and
boat groundings

The storm that pummeled Oahu continued down the island chain, knocking out power to parts of Maui and the Big Island and sending three boats aground.

On Maui the high winds apparently forced the 65-foot America II yacht that once raced in the America's Cup onto a reef about 300 yards off Lahaina town.

Cynthia "Sam" Speedie said her husband, who manages the yacht, received a call from the Coast Guard at 3:45 a.m. yesterday notifying him that the boat had run aground. Speedie said the crew was trying to secure the yacht last night.

"We love the boat. Our customers love the boat. They come back year after year," she said.

America II, once a racing yacht that challenged Dennis Connor of Stars and Stripes in Fremantle, Australia, in 1987, has been doing dinner cruises out of Lahaina Harbor. Its mast broke about a month ago, and the yacht was scheduled to leave Lahaina tomorrow to go into dry dock in Honolulu, Speedie said.

Off the Big Island, two boats also were driven aground by high winds at Kailua-Kona Bay.

One of the boats was the single-hull Coral Sea, which is about 65 feet long, said county Deputy Managing Director Pete Hendricks. Someone tried to get onto the ship to save it, he said, but with 6-foot waves and winds "way over 23 mph," that was not possible.

The second boat was the cruise catamaran Kiana, the smaller of two catamarans operated by Roberts Hawaii Tours, Hendricks said. Damage to the Kiana, roughly the same size as the Coral Sea, is likely severe, he said. The other Roberts Hawaii catamaran, the 150-foot Tamure, was able to get out of Kailua Bay and go to safety at Kawaihae Harbor to the north, he said.

The storm also disrupted power and closed roads on both islands.

Maui Electric workers were working last night near Wailuku Heights after six utility poles fell at about 5:26 p.m. yesterday, forcing the closure of Honoapiilani Highway.

Electricity was restored in about 21 minutes to residences in Waiehu, Kahakuloa and parts of Wailuku, and crews planned to clear the highway last night and work on fixing the poles today.

The two-lane Crater Road leading to the summit of Mount Haleakala was closed at the ranger station at the 7,000-foot level at 3:30 p.m. yesterday as winds gusted to more than 50 miles an hour.

"It's just horizontal rain and cold, really miserable," said Haleakala Park chief ranger Mark Tanaka-Sanders. "Anything not tied down is blowing away."

On the Big Island, two electric transmission lines were knocked out of service in West Hawaii early last night.

At Hawaii Electric Light Co., supervisor Kevin Waltjen said power to 4,259 customers in South Kona was knocked out for part of the afternoon by lines rubbing against a 69-kilovolt transmission line. "It went on and off about 20 times," Waltjen said.

Workers eventually found the cause and rerouted power to the area.

In South Kohala near Kawaihae, a line falling across another large transmission line interrupted power to more than 400 customers, he said. Smaller outages dotted the Hilo and Puna areas, Waltjen said.

Falling trees also closed some secondary roads and streets, but main roads remained open, said Civil Defense official Lanny Nakano.


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