Water Ways
Ray Pendleton

Lewis sets sail for future

Exactly 12 years ago yesterday, my first Water Ways column ran in the Star-Bulletin, and although it was April Fool's Day, it apparently didn't affect the column's longevity.

In that initial offering I made a promise to readers to keep them informed on all aspects of Hawaii's recreational boating, including the wide range of personalities involved.

So today, I can't think of a better way to start off my 13th year than by reporting on Andrew Lewis, a young sailor from Hawaii who's worked his way into the highest echelons of international sailing.

For many Waikiki Yacht Club members, the 23-year-old Lewis is a familiar sight, as he spent virtually all of his teen years competing in the Junior Sailing program and as a high school sailor/athlete for ASSETS school.

In fact, when Lewis began his campaign to qualify for the 2002 Olympics, many WYC members earmarked a portion of their monthly dues to help him defray his costs.

Lewis did very well, but in the end he unfortunately fell just short of his goal for a berth on the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. Nevertheless, he didn't give up on sailing, or himself.

In recent months Lewis has been working harder than ever to be selected as one of a small number of professional sailors from around the world to crew a Volvo Ocean Race yacht.

And, because the Volvo Ocean Race -- which began as the Whitbread Around the World Race in 1973 -- is considered to be the ultimate test of sailing, those who sail it are unquestionably the cream of all international sailors.

Following a competition among 16 U.S. candidates in Miami that tested them on their sailing, physical and mental abilities, their numbers were reduced to five. That was followed by a final multi-day contest two weeks ago in Portugal that assessed those five sailors' skills in everything from technical sailing expertise to their abilities in lifesaving.

At the completion of that contest, Lewis and 24-year-old George Peet of Newport, R.I., were chosen to crew aboard Team ABN AMRO's second boat that will compete in the 2005-06 Volvo Ocean Race.

"This is a huge step in my professional sailing career," Lewis told me.

And I'm sure it is. But I'm glad it's him and not me who is going on that voyage.

After all, it's a trip of nearly 27,000 miles -- a race that pushes the endurance of the crews and boats to the outer limits as they navigate sweltering doldrums, freezing oceans filled with icebergs and gales that blow unabated for weeks on end.

When the race begins in Spain this November, perhaps you, like me, will be happy to stay in Hawaii's warm embrace and keep up with the exploits of Lewis and his crewmates by logging on to volvooceanrace.org or team.abnamro.com.

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.

E-mail to Sports Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com