We had the best day on the water celebrating Summer Sailstice 2021 aboard SV Solstice. The Summer Sailstice is organized by the West Coast sailing magazine Latitude 38 and aims to get as many people out on the water for the longest day of the year. We have been taking part for the past three years:
2019 - Paxos, Greece
2020 - Gocek, Turkey
2021 - Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
This year we're super excited to have also become an Ambassador to help promote and raise awareness for Summer Sailstice to our customers and readers. We enjoyed our time on the water aboard SV Solstice, a Cape George Cutter 31 skippered by Paul Exner who runs Modern Geographic
Honokohau Marina was literally blasted out of the lava rock back in the 1960's by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Today it's mostly full of sports fishing boats heading out to try and catch marlin and other big-game fish. The water depth drops off to 6,000 feet just a few miles offshore and as a result, most of the 1,000-pound marlin have been caught within 2-5 miles from shore!
Paul is typically running offshore sailing expeditions to the other Hawaiian islands working the crew hard but we had a more civilized day sail planned! As soon as we slipped our mooring and headed out into the bay we were greeted by a pod of spinner dolphins. We cut the engine and coasted along with them playing off the bow. All the kids had a blast and were soon helping to raise the mainsail, fishing, and singing shanty songs on the bowsprit!
SV Solstice is super light to handle on the tiller and we sailed with full main and genoa in light airs north to Puhili point tacking just before the reef. A large swell was running and a lot of surfers were out hitting the waves.
We then headed back south and gybed in towards Keahuolu Point and a lunch spot close to the old runway. However with the large swell running and the only mooring ball taken up by one of the scuba diving charter boats we decided to head back to the moorings just outside the entrance to the marina. Such a beautiful sail back along the coast watching the black lava rock getting pounded by the green waves. Sailing close hauled we kept getting lifted and were able to make it in one tack around Kaiwi Point. When I raced a few times in the Caribbean on a boat called 'Business Machine' the locals would call this a "ring". The opposite would be called a "knock", too many knocks and we would tack!
We lowered our sails and went to pick up one of the mooring balls for lunch and to spend the rest of the afternoon liming aboard. Picking up a mooring ball here takes on a whole new meaning. First you have to know where to find them as each mooring ball is about 10-15ft underwater and there are no easy pick up lines here! With Katie "volunteered" to go into the water she got eyes on the mooring and guided us in. With a bowline in hand she had to dive down to put the line through the mooring ball and pass it back up to us on the bow.
It's actually a neat story that's interesting to find out more details about. The moorings help protect the reef from boat anchors and were first set up in the 1980's and initiated by the owners of Jack's Diving Locker and funding from Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead! Today there are over 100 of the Day Use Moorings along the west coast and they are managed by the Malama Kai Foundation
Once secured we were all soon in the water to cool off, the shade tent was put over the boom and stand up paddleboard inflated. We spent a superb afternoon swimming, jumping, splashing, snorkeling, paddling, eating, drinking and tanning! We even flew the drone to get some great shots of Solstice and her crew.
A beautiful day on the water with our extended ohana. Big mahalo to Paul & Liz
We hope you enjoyed your Summer Sailstice, don't forget to
enter your photos to win some serious sailing swag at www.summersailstice.com