Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Finish Line

The story of Journey's End from the Skipper, Steve Brown:
Well, we have pulled out all the stops, put on the party hats and fired up the noise makers. It’s three in the morning and have under a hundred miles to go. The wind gods don’t seem to hear our celebration. No matter. We’re so fired up no one can sleep. I just got off my three hour watch with Gordon. He and I shared steering duties through a light squall. Russ is planted at the nav station, where he’s deciding how close to Kalapapa light we want to be. It’s been a bit brighter with the rising moon for the last week, but this darkness is now alive with the loom of Maui and Molokai’s piercing light houses. It’s been Land Ho! since early afternoon, and now in the darkness we are figuring our approach and subsequent final jibe to DHLH, that’s the new abbreviation on our navigation screen, now that Kalapapa Light is abeam. Diamond Head Light House is Journey’s End.

Earlier this afternoon Gordon hosted happy hour with a special bottle of Scotch he had been saving for the last night. During the festivities toasting each other, Linus stole the finest proposal, by holding his glass high and toasting all of our shipmates that wanted so very much to be with us at this moment, and that we think of them, and wish them with us for the final night of the next TransPac. Tonight it is us; tomorrow we will be with our loved ones, our race finished. These prospects make sleeping impossible. As the light house disappears behind us we all take bets on who will come the closest to guessing our finish time, Gordon’s 10:00 AM guess is looking to come the closest. Sunrise has Oahu slowly rising over the horizon as the details of Makapu are the first to take shape. We are here!

Sandy beach is now just abeam with the Koko Head blocking our view of the finish, I am still at the helm, everyone is on deck, we’re in our offshore positions, Steve Horst is on the bow, Russ is in the pit, Linus is at the mast, and Scott and Gordon are in the cockpit. Linus does a final check for the jibe, and asks me to make the call when the boat’s ready, just as we have done together for the last two weeks. As we rotate through the final jibe of the race, Diamond Head comes into view; the lump in everyone’s throats has the boat silent.

Racing directly to us is a small sportfisher, she’s really making waves. When they arrive to greet us, it’s the film crew, where they immediately start filming our finish. By this time we are smoking along in a pretty good sea way, the skipper of the film boat is an expert and has them about ten feet off our bow and the crew is holding water proof camera gear on sticks just on the waters surface, it’s wild we feel like celebrities it’s lights cameras action as we rock and roll our way to the Buoy. Just as the excitement of their arrival dies down we can see a huge navy launch approaching, she’s the one we have been waiting for. All of the wives and girl friends have been up early preparing for this moment, the excitement is intoxicating, they come abeam of us screaming and waving there’s not a dry eye on deck. In a few moments we get the announcement over the radio: “ BrownSugar, this is Diamond Head Light, You have finished the TransPac.”

As we continue sailing in the heavy wind I tell the guys in the cockpit to take a mental snapshot of Waikiki and the skyline. A few moments later we drop the sails and put the motor in gear for the first time in over 16 days.

Our escort vessel with its precious passengers has pulled ahead to show us the way thru the channel to be greeted by the Voice of TransPac, ALOOOOOHA BROWN SUGAR booms out. Many of our friends who have already finished are on the second deck of the club, waving and screaming, it’s just a beautiful sight. The escort vessels lead us past the club where our own arrival party is waiting for us, Jennifer’s parents Ken and Jean with their wonderful friends Barbara Gamer and Dennis Adams have prepared an incredible arrival party complete with Barbara’s Hula club who perform for us. After a couple of MaiTais we all realize no one has slept in twenty four hours and our legs are no longer willing. We are done.

Thank you all for the Love and support.


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