Maui trip report

Maui trip report

Post by Tom von Alt » Tue, 18 Oct 1994 05:32:42

A few words of introduction and explanation -

I've been sailing short boards for 8 or 9 years now, although not as
regularly as I'd like.  Until this trip, my /ne plus ultra/ was sailing
my 3.9m^2 sail on my 2.67m (8'9") Open Ocean glass board, on a big swell day
at Rufus.  This was my first trip to Hawaii, and my first time out in the
ocean (although I've sailed salt water in Bayeria, and the Olympic
peninsula).  I'm 5'8" (1.73m) and 145# (65.9kg).

This report is excerpted from the journal I kept, and since it's rather
long, I'm going to post it in 4 parts (with the first part attached to
this post).  The trip was Oct 3rd-13th.  We were 3 sailors (Tom, Tom and
Steve), and one non-sailor (my wife Jeanette).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Maui journal, part 1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Morning on Tuesday, 20 55'N 156 25'W

Yes, it's warm here, and the water is warm.  Tom picked us up, as planned,
gave us a quick tour of the beach at Kanaha, we got Steve at the surf shop,
and drove to...  paradise.  2 bedrooms, a huge living room/kitchen, deck on
2 sides, rigging and storage space on the lower level, a barbecue, a
beautiful outdoor shower, and 2 pineapples waiting for us.

Steve was rigged and gone, then Tom, and I pulled up the rear, struggling to
get the sale rigged right, sweating in the afternoon sun, readjusting.  It's
a short walk through a narrow slot to a tiny launch (especially at high
tide) in a lovely little bay.  I got on, and in spite of maladjustment,
planed easily on the 2.56m (8'5") Mistral Ecstasy...  until I powered into
the reef.  Ouch.  Hey, when you see that black water, stop!  (or be
stopped!)  The little, swept-back wave fin had a rather bluff and gnarly
leading edge, but it was still attached, and I couldn't tell for sure which
of the sore spots on my leg was from the reef, and which were from soccer.

No problem, it's a rental, right?  After the reef, I didn't have a problem
joining the rest of the crowd sailing off the Sprecklesville beach, just
down wind from our cove.  I couldn't point for diddley, though, especially
with the remodeled fin, and a higher propensity for spinning out.  The stuff
I put in the FAQ helped, actually, that "jerk the tail" move.  Easier to do
on this board then mine (an 8'9" glass board, which I've only sailed in
fresh water).

I made a lot of "reach out, squeak a jibe in the waves, get back to the
beach and adjust" cycles.  The mast and luff were such that I had to extend
the base 4 inches, leaving the booms high.  Even at the bottom of the luff
window, it was way too high with my Da Kine "Speed seat" harness.

Warm water!  Warm air!  What a world!
Next act - 8.2 earthquake in Japan and a tsunami headed this way.  Except
after the fire drill of derigging and moving everything up to the porch,
when we heard that the wave amounted to a couple inches at Wake island, we
decided not to go for the full evacuation, and drove to Ho'okipa.  The surf
was good, way too big for me, but not spectacular.  The surfers stayed out
until two surf cops on jet skis corralled them all off the water.  We
learned later that they were loath to leave the first good waves of the
season, and the invisible tsunami was not just cause.

Morning, Wednesday.

After the morning shower, a rainbow over the West Maui mountains.  Next,
smoke and ashes from a nearby burning field.

Paradise is in the mind.  Yesterday, I saw and felt that.  I watched Tom
sail out of the tiny launch here in Coconut Cove, slogging on a 5.2, then
watched Steve.  He tried to walk along the shore, which was coincident with
the break zone at high tide.  At one spot his sail tip caught on a stump,
and before he could free it, a good size wave came in and swatted him down.
A gnarly stump rolled and tumbled between his board and rig, he bounced off
a rock or two, and when he dragged himself and his rig up onto the steep
bank, his sail was - literally - shredded, his mast in 3 pieces and *** on
his face from a scrape with the board.  Just like that - no sailing, just a
tumble in the surf.

He was intact, albeit with a sore shoulder, but I took it as a clue that I
should walk over to the (Sprecklesville) beach downwind.  I did that, and
launched in spite of the fact that the wind didn't look strong enough for
the 5.1 I rigged.  Same old story - the booms were too high, the harness
lines impossibly far away.

I tried to slog a jibe, but had nowhere near enough power, so I just did a
body drag in from there.  That worked fine until the impact zone; the waves
weren't big, but it doesn't take much.  Between getting the clew buried, and
getting on the wrong side of this big wave catcher and getting pushed
around, I musta looked the perfect kook.

Before I'd finished my adjustment, Tom came by and suggested we go to Kanaha
because the surf was too irregular and pounding here.  Ok by me, so we
walked through the woods, unrigged everything, loaded up the car, drove to
the shop (bill for Steve's mast and sail:  $312.50; the $33 insurance is
only for _repairable_ damage) for the 2nd time of the day, then around the
airport to Kanaha beach park.  Beautiful spot, with lots of grassy rigging
space, fresh water showers, and a relatively tame beach.  Tom said this
morning that the waves were the biggest he'd seen them there (although not
all that big), but the wind was no great shakes.  I was marginally powered
with a 5.3, and when I got out to the reef where the waves were happening,
the white water scared me into the "chicken jibe," after which I had to
struggle through the confused waves, underpowered.  More damn work.  Go to
the beach, struggle through the surf, adjust something, commiserate with my
patient wife, try again.

Watching through the binoculars, it didn't look that tough - just go through
it, maybe catch some air.  Maybe go down in the surf after, as at least one
person I watched did, and then struggle to get back up (but maybe
"beachstart" because it's not that deep there, but do it quick!)

I'd talked Tom and Steve into rigging the 5.6s, and they were well-advised.
They sailed long into the afternoon, into the shade of the W Maui cloud
pileup, no breaks, no complaints.  I sat on the beach wondering if this
would be the finale of my windsurfing, how much of my rental money I could
get back, how soon I could go back to the wintry north where I apparently

I don't feel strong enough, I'm not having enough fun to justify the risk, I
feel guilty thinking these sacrilegious thoughts, and know I musn't speak
them out loud.  I long for the quick, tropical night, and hide my face from
the day.  Paradise - and hell - are here in the mind.
Afternoon, the Bailey missionary museum's gazebo.  In the shade, a
pleasantly cool breeze wafts through, and that sense of paradise returns.

We went to Paia, a hippieville just up the coast from Sprecklesville,
shopped at the good co-op, talked to the folks at Cruiser Bob's, and then
Cathy at Windsurfing West.  $100 to rent a bicycle for a week.  Right about
twice that to rent a car, with 2 drivers, tax, etc.  What a messed up world
when 2 bikes cost more than a car.  Bob's business is downhill tourist
adventures on Haleakala, and he's used to free-spending tourists.

Must be Thursday now.  Calm, clear morning got me out of bed, after sleeping
late.  Last night we trekked over to Lahaina, and cruised the tourist drag,
looking at the fluorescent "art" and the other tourists.  Destination:  Hard
Rock Cafe.  No souvenirs this time, no one to buy them for, but we actually
went inside the cafe for the first time.  Nice sound system, nice high
prices, nice buxom and perky waitress, nothing special.

Yesterday, I made my peace with the ocean, on a good, windy afternoon,
finally got things adjusted well enough to sail without using my arms to
hold on the whole time.  Got close to catching a wave or two, and a wave or
two got close to catching me, and I didn't last all that long, but I had
fun, and let go of some of that fear.

Jeanette and I went up to the Bailey mission museum after lunch, a lovely
spot partway up the W Maui mtns.  It was windy, and I was thinking about
sailing.  When we got back to the house, I had to go back to the sail shop
to swap a 4.6 with a tear in the film, and when I got back with that, Tom
said he was going to rerig, and since he'd taken "my" board, I could just
sail it off the beach.  No rigging, no schlepping - now _that's_ paradise!
Thursday, after the Maui county fair.  Jeanette spent the day off on her
own, with the car.  I cleaned up around the house, watched the palm forest
go up next door, walked down the beach a couple of times.  "Intoxicating"
was the word Steve used to describe the place; I agree.

The squall stood off the island, the sun was fine, and the wind came up, "as
usual" (although a little flaky at times) and I went off the beach next
door, sailing a 5.1 into the ocean.

Even without any "big" waves, the size and majesty of the water is amazing.
I missed my share of outside jibes, and bobbing in the ocean with my rig, in
the rolling waves made me feel...  not _small_ really, more like
insignificant.  But I'm getting comfortable with it, and the warm air and
water makes me feel like - it's OK that I'm there, and I revel in the beauty
of the sun and clouds and the broad, green flank of Haleakala below them.  I
still haven't got the hang of surfing.  I ask for advice.  Tom and Steve
give some, and I'll try it tomorrow, if the wind comes up.

The parade and the fair were fun.  Not all that different from others, but
they don't have "Orchidland" in Idaho.  Sensory overload!  The fruits and
vegetables were interesting, too - lots of stuff we'd never seen before.
Friday noon, windy again, warm and humid.  Sails out on coconut grove.
Steve and Jeanette and I just pulling out of siesta torpor after our morning
on Haleakala.  We didn't get there in time for the sunrise (which

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Maui trip report

Post by Tom von Alt » Tue, 18 Oct 1994 05:37:52

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Maui journal, part 2 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday in paradise

Nice late sleep today, after we rummaged for more protection in the middle
of the night, finally put the extra sheets on top, and closed the windows a
little.  Down in to the 60's - brr!  :-)

Last night Jeanette and I went for a walk on "our" beach after the crescent
moon had set, feeling our way over the rocks in the gap at the cove, then
strolling along the sand and letting the tide wash over our feet in sandals.

It was delightfully romantic, until one of the jets taking off from Kahului
blew the calm out of the starry sky.

Yesterday afternoon's sailing was "flat," meaning the biggest waves were
only a couple of feet, but for my ability it was about right.  Steve
launched out of the cove, and so I braved it as well.  No problem getting
past the shore break, with the tide down a foot at least, but it took me a
couple of flops and restarts to get set up to clear the reef.  I wasn't
taking any chances this time - although I suppose one can stop and walk

I sailed the 5.1 again, still on the Mistral Ecstasy, did a little slogging,
but mostly had a good time, cradled in the bosom of the Pacific, surfing
some jibes outside, catching a wave or two inside (still trying to figure
out how to ride 'em, but at least I'm staying up), and a couple pieces of
air heading out.

I powered past a cameraman on one ride in, but his film is mostly going to
be watching the loops (and attempts), jump jibes, etc.  Those guys are
throwing loops off amazingly small waves - it's not so much a big air trick
as an acrobatic flip anymore.  I'm happy with a good chop hop and landing
tail first for now.  Having it in my repertoire makes those big waves coming
at me a little less intimidating...  but then I haven't really been in any
_big_ waves yet.

I came back into the cove and our tiny "slot" as the wind started to die,
should've used Steve's trick:  catch a wave over the reef.  Instead I tried
to run in, ended up body dragging, slowly, slowly, then into the churned up
sand and quick over the rocks.  Need a lower tide for that- it's not that
much trouble to walk back from the beach, although it's tough to go downwind
when it's dying.

F'cast today is for no swell, maybe enough wind for sailing, maybe not.  We
went in to the shop and swapped our Ecstasies for Edges, so to speak, 2.68
long and pointer fins, anticipating slalom conditions.  Just a hint of a
breeze here in Sprecks, at 20 to 10.
Day N, Saturday night

After that hint, by about 10, the trade wind was filling in and swaying the
palm trees.  Jeanette was late back from her helping clean up the beach for
the Community work day, I took an outdoor shower and washed my hair in the
tropical fronds.

I went down to the beach to find her, she'd had to walk back from Camp 1,
'cause the crew she'd joined up with was working 'till noon.  Steve and J
and I headed mauka from Paia, to the Hui No'eau cultural center.  Beautiful
little museum collection of recent, local work, housed in (one of?)
Baldwin's sugar plantation(s).  They have lots of classes, and Saturday is
free day, so we walked around the print shop, the ceramics farm, the bamboo
forest.  Jeanette made a print with the help of the print lady.

By the time we returned and had some lunch, Tom had surveyed the beach, said
Camp 1's surf looked good, I said it looked good here.  Without me slowing
them down, they opted for Lanes, next to Ho'okipa instead.  I relaxed to
digest, did a drawing of our pineapple.

I launched out the slot, no problem with low tide at noon, couple of short
reaches and then pinched by the reef.  The board felt too big, the
footstraps (which I'd loosened) still too tight.  The 5.1 was maybe too big,
too, but I figured a smaller board would fix it.

Jibed and headed back to the beach, through the woods, to the house.  Tossed
the big board in our car (it just fit), drove to the shop, back, through the
woods, out on the water.  It had picked up.  Back to the beach, unrig,
through the woods, back with a 4.4, rerig.  It had picked up.  I was
blasting out and back in, barely*** on, and barely able to point enough
to get back to where I started.  Big air.  Big waves.  Big wind.

I wasn't up for another trip to the shop, though, so I just sat and watched
the show, taking long breaks and hoping it would ease up a bit.  It didn't,
but I returned to it enough to fill my dance card, comfortable in the
Gorge-like conditions even if I was well overpowered.  Late into the
afternoon, it kept blowing.  Steve and Tom found Lanes no better than here,
so came back and sailed a little longer than I did.  Steve said it was still
full blast when he quit, close to sunset.  I made another quick run to the
shop, traded in the 5.7 for a 4.0, to prevent getting blown out again
tomorrow - the f'cast is the same, but I gotta think the swell is going to
be building after all this wind.  I saw some BIG waves outside, on their way
to Kanaha, liquid smoke over at Camp 1.

Steve was saying it was blowing a good 3.5 today; I can't dispute it.  I
could've used a smaller fin and sail, for sure, a smaller board maybe.  It
would be nice to have "bigger" and "smaller" fins along with all these
Sunday, as the afternoon sun slips behind the trade wind clouds on the West
Maui mtns.

All 4 of us went out to Sunday breakfast at the Courtyard deli in Makawao.
It was plentiful and delicious.  Jeanette wanted to see the art show next
door to it, but the gallery didn't open till noon, so we just strolled
around the town.

After hearing the weather f'cast for big swell on the South and West sides,
we decided to go to the shop, change boards and head for Kihei.  But the
shop guys checked and told us it wasn't blowing there.  We'd been by
Ho'okipa and Lanes on the way back from b-fast (via the jungly scenic route
through Haiku) and they were flat, we drove to Camp 1, in the sand dunes at
the end of the Kahului airport runway, looked at it, and decided that there
was no place like home, and came back here.

I rigged the 4.0, Steve and Tom went 4.4, 4.6, and we all hit the water with
no more than a snack for lunch.  The tide's nice and low at noon, still,
with the smaller high tide 7-ish, so launching out of the cove was no
problem; the sand which comes and goes was "in" at the moment.

Once I pinched past the reef, the first couple reaches were a gas, with some
BIG air off the ramps in the wave zone.  But I wasn't really powered, and it
seemed to take me five tries to get the harness lines pushed forward far
enough on the booms.  By the time they were close to right, I decided I
didn't have enough sail, jammed into the cove and rerigged to 4.4 pretty
quick and went back out.  That was better, but my arms were stretched from
the first session, and I seemed to alternate between over and underpowered.

I came in for a break, found Tom and Steve in the same position.  We trashed
the place, scarfed available food.  When we went back out, I proposed Steve
and I swap boards, so I could try the Sailboards Maui brand-new glass boards
(8'6") they'd just picked up.  Bad idea; more frustration getting started,
getting past the reef, getting in the straps and planing, getting out of the
straps to jibe (nice, cushy, non-skid jump pads).  Even with the mast pushed
forward, the boom barely sat on the tail, spoiling my favorite restarting

On the first reach past the reef, I stared down a big wave, headed for the
stratosphere...  and my foot came out of the back strap.  I flagged Steve
down, told him I wanted to switch back, and he was obliging again.  We
adjusted boom heights, took off...  and I still couldn't get in control,
point comfortably or hit an outside jibe.  Hey, if it's too much work, bag
it!  So I did.

This is the most intense, most continuous sailing I've ever done.  7
straight days, even though day #2 was a serious washout.  Sailable wind
every day, if not big waves.  I need bigger shoulders, more stamina.  Maybe
this will encourage me to lift weights, get on a program, something.  Steve
and Tom are both whining, too, but they stayed out a good hour longer than I
Monday?  Yes, the 10th.  Feeling tired, unenergetic, at least for the
intensity of more 4.0 wavesailing...  That's what Tom and Steve have rigged,
and Steve's first out again, but he stayed home and vegged while Jeanette
and I had a lovely hike about the Iao valley, and then power shopped at the
Wailuku Sack'N'Save's grand opening sale.

The end of the road in the Iao is a tourist stop, for sure, with a nice
little network of paved trails, a view of the Iao needle, and the amazingly
steep-sided canyons carpeted in green and cloud.  The sun shines in the
valley and the trade winds cool into clouds up around.

Even nicer, though, was the Hawaiian nature center back down the road a bit.
The employees were all out on trail, so we walked around the classroom
bldgs, and out back to a bridge on a 30" diameter irrigation pipe that went
across the river.  The paths up the other side were dirt, and entirely
tourist-free, other than our party of 2.  The river and the trade winds
surrounded us with susuration while we gawked at the tropical greenery.

Last night we went out for dinner at the Vegan restaurant in Lower Paia, had
smoothies and vegy burgers, yum.  We stopped at the German-theme "Wunderbar"
for some so-so country music and pricey drinks, and were ready to crash
after two times through the surf/sail video Tom bought.  Incredible waves
I'll never go near, incredible stunts I'll never do.  But still plenty of
time for fun!


Maui trip report

Post by Tom von Alt » Tue, 18 Oct 1994 05:38:34

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Maui journal, part 3 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, parked on the Hana Road with Jimmy Cliff blastin' behind us.  Maui
bud?  Want smokes?  No, thanks.  Waiting for the construction to clear,
hoping there'll be some sailing time left when we get back.

We got up early, enjoyed the morning showers and the road before the traffic
and the construction stoppages.  The arboretum in the sun and rain was
fine, palms, guava, eucalyptus, bamboo, taro, protea, bananas, breadfruit.
The east end of the island flattens out a bit at the sea, not _quite_ so
wet, but all lush and green still.

We stopped at Wai'anapanapa state park, a black gravel beach with clear blue
water smashing white against the basalt cliffs, with waxy green foliage
shining in the sun.  First feature at the beach is a small cave...  no wait,
it's a lava tube, and goes down to the tide line, out and up over the rocks
to a perch above the breaking waves.

Around the loop trail, two other cave/tubes, these filled with "fresh"
water, interesting but not inviting.  We ended our semicircumnavigation at a
beautiful sand beach (Leho'ula) in a red andesite(?)  walled cove on the
other side of Hana.  Long breakers coming in with the straight onshore wind,
as we faced the trade wind.  I thought of swimming, bodysurfing in the
waves, but windsurfing back on the north side beckoned, so we left.

If we'd known we'd be here for an hour...?  Hard to say.  It did give us
time to shake off almost getting splatted by a dump truck taking his half
(or was it two-thirds?)  out of the middle of one blind curve.

It looked like a good beginner day at Ho'okipa, not all that crowded, waves
no bigger than what we've had here, but nice and predictable and better
spaced.  The actual sailing area seems so tiny, don't know when a beginner
could get time and space there.

Tom had been out here in Sprecks, and was ready to go east.  Steve had
snoozed from the construction stoppage on, so he was game, but I opted for
backyard sailing, one more time.  It looked just like yesterday, and my 4.0
was still rigged and ready.

Had to wait a bit to get up out of the cove, but I figured how far up the
beach to walk so I could easily clear the reef, and did so.  Then,
powered-up wave time!  Hmmm, maybe a bit stronger than yesterday.  Can this
really be only 10-25 mph trade winds?  Sprecklesville seems to be in a wind
channel, with less wind either way from us.

Big air, big crashes, no pain.  Lotta sailing with my arms, to maintain some
semblance of control.  Mostly tried to ride over the big ones rather than
fly, but I did do some flying.  I caught one sweet ride on the way in, made
some cuts down and back up, and was riding the crest as it started to break,
when a fluke shot of spray blew up off the windward rail, caught me in the
face from below and took out one of my contacts.  Damn.  I headed for the
beach straightaway to check it.  Yup, gone.  I put the gear on the beach,
walked back to the slot and the condo, took out the other lens, changed to
my new 'scription shades and went back out.  Myopia is a ***.  (My
contacts gave me a _lot_ less trouble in salt water than they do in fresh,
but I was also careful to wear sunglasses the whole time.  I think
disposables would be a good idea, too, or else some excimer laser corneal
sculpting to fix the problem at the source, eh?)

After I got tired of the hot shots sailing too close to me in the wave zone
by our cove, I eased downwind on a couple of reaches and headed for a beach
break.  Saw our German neighbor Mike, just finishing up his day on the 9'
Mistral board with the pointer fin, and a 4.4.  Sounds like a _real_ tough
ride to me.  I tried to tell him he had too much board and too much fin, but
he wanted to start sailing with the kind of gear he was familiar with.

About this time, the slightly more extensive showers off and along shore
started making a rainbow, which soon completed its arch across the sky,
extended into those extra colors past the first spectrum, and started a
little 2nd bow.  The clouds on Haleakala were grey and bunched at the peak,
then spread out higher up; looked like smoke from an erupting volcano.

The beach line was confused chop, difficult sailing at best, and a real
challenge while overpowered.  The waves that were jacking up looked BIG to
me, on the way out; 4 and 5' faces, easy.  Coming back in, it was surf-city,
alternating between sidecutting up and blasting down with them.

At one point, after looking over the breaking section downwind, toward Camp
1, I figured I go try that, but an out bound broad reach was WAY too fast to
deal with the squirrely chop.  Makes me think of a mogul run where you're
going 50% too fast for the bump spacing.

On one later ride out, I flew off a big wave, and my sail got backwinded
mid-jump.  The sound of it luffing was so loud I thought maybe I'd torn it,
and I was well outside.  Luckily, it was A-OK, ready for another blast into
the beach.  Kiss the rainbow for good luck.

The wind was picking UP, it seemed, as the rain clouds came over, now so
strong it was rippling the surface instead of pushing waves.  I rested in
the drop off just past the beach sand,*** my sore arms over my board,
and watching guys sail everything from a 3.5 to a 5.something.  Big, beefy
guy that one, seemed like he was in control!  I'd hate to see HIS 4.0 day.

After I walked up-beach to the line just below the reef and watched for a
while, I figured what the hell, I was good for one more try, and maybe I
could point back to the cove and save the tedious walk through the woods.
Sure enough, a long reach outside, a jibe, (I actually made some of my
outside jibes today, along with a couple raging, planing jibes inside, by
the beach - the cove gets a little light for staying powered right through)
and a little inbound pointing through the waves, and I was back in the wave
zone.  It was such a nice ride in, I went for another pair of reaches before
calling it a day.  Short, but plenty intense.

Time to hit the outdoor shower, and have a beer.

Turns out Steve and Tom gut skunked down at Lanes, a couple waves and out,
as the rain shower eased the wind.  Never leave wind to find wind, eh?
Last day in paradise...  the papaya must be the fruit of knowledge of good
and evil; that's what we broke fast with today.  Steve went golfing, with
Tom along for the ride.  About $100 for the round, and that wasn't the
cheapest spot.  Incredible.

Yesterday morning J & I drove up above Kahului harbor, along the E facing
coast on the W "half" of the island.  Dry like California, with the trade
wind blasting up the hills and cliffs.  Looks like great hang gliding
potential, although landing spots might be tricky.  Deluxe cottages
sprinkled in between the steep drainages, we drove up to the twisty, one
lane parts of the road, and a little further, stopping for the nicest views.

Back down and a quick shop stop at the Sack'n'Save, gaserup and time to turn
in our car.  I'd traded in the 5.3 for a 3.6, more for the psychological
margin than thinking I would actually use it; the 4.0 was still rigged and
waiting in the yard.

Tom and Steve picked us up at Dollar, with their gear all loaded up for
Ho'okipa, I declined again, and they dropped us off, and boogied on.  I had
a leisurely snack, went down to the cove and scouted with the binocs,
finally decided it was another 4.0 day, although maybe not so overpowered
for me this time.

The weather seems to be shifting - Tom at Sailboards Maui was sniffing the
change in the air, thinking the high pressure was going to come and sit down
on us.  Between Sprecks, blowing trades, and Kahului, the smoke stacks were
every which way, one NW, one straight up.  Weird circulation around the

I ended up swimming my board halfway out to the reef, finally got a start
and slogged out through the wave zone.  At the time, the sailing directions
didn't seem noticeably different, but thinking back, it was easier to point
up-coast.  The wave zone was underpowered for me and my 4, alright coming
in, but tough to jibe, and nothing to do but slog over the big waves on the
way out.

Outside was a different story; the wind seemed to pick up the further out I
went, and the ground swell was getting sizeable; 1 to 2' in the Hawaiian
measurement system (i.e.  the backside), which means about boom high or more
coming at it from the trough in front.  Unfortunately the frequency was
irregular, and there were a couple different directions going on, making for
confused "chop," although at the size, the term doesn't seem quite right.
I'm used to using that name for much smaller pieces of water.

With the wave zone underpowered, I soon decided to head downwind for a beach
break, and had a slammin ride doing it, until the inside when it changed to
a hula thing, trying to keep the sail up and the 8'5" board from sinking out
of sight.

Back out on the beach line, it wasn't too bad getting a puff or slogging
out, and it was better powered through the reeflet where the biggest waves
jacked up.  I went so high off of one, I got that "waiting to land" feeling.
I was pretty stalled out by the time I came down to the trough, and just
relaxed and fell in rather than trying to tough out a restart.  (I'd been
doing that ok on the jumps where I didn't point downwind enough, but my arms
were feeling well overused.)

With the side-off wind, there were more rigs surfing the beach than out on
the water.  Not sure why, guess they were just afraid to go that far
offshore?  Sails were a little bigger, 4.2-4.7 more common than my little
4.0.  One guy was out smaller, but he did not look too happy.

I took some _long_ reaches out, especially since most of my jibe attempts
meant swim time.  I figured I just had to slash harder off a face, but
either it would leave me behind, or I'd scream off ahead of it, and lose
track of the pattern as I pointed into the afternoon sun.  I let go a fair
number ...

read more »


Maui trip report

Post by Tom von Alt » Tue, 18 Oct 1994 05:41:13

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Maui journal, part 4 (end) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Airport land, gone from Maui already.  Waiting to fly to Honolulu, Salt
Lake, Boise, a world away.  The gang plank is the (long!)  breezeway with a
view of the West Maui mountains, piled high with trade wind clouds, backlit
by the westering sun.  The gate areas are enclosed, air conditioned.  I put
on my pants for the first time since Haleakala.  Long sleeves.  Getting
ready for winter, in the midst of the spent tourists, in their souvenir

Jeanette and I walked along the morning beach, ahead of the high tide, from
our cove to Camp 1.  Warm sunshine, wet sand, black and red lava rock,
seaweed, locals fishing.  I did some cleaning, a load of dishes, and one of
towels, looked through the last of the old magazines, started packing.  At
11:30, the early birds/wind dummies were out, so I went down to the beach to
study.  Looked like 4.7 to 5.something, nobody too powered outside, and
still looking a little light inside.

Tom and Steve came back from their round of golf.  Turns out the municipal
course was only $50 apiece, a bargain!  :-) We all went out the cove,
swimming and/or waiting for a puff.  I tried my 4.0 again, Tom 4.5, Steve
4.4.  Once out through the reef break, I was feeling energetic, grabbed bits
of air, and momentarily enjoyed not being overpowered.  The gusts were fine,
but everything else was starting to lose its shine.  I checked with Steve,
hoping he was ready to rerig, and give me his sail.  Nope, he was happy.
Tom?  Not yet...

A few reaches later, Tom decided he didn't have enough, and we sailed to the
beach to trade rigs.  The Rushwind 4.5 was a nice sail, lots of power up
front, in the luff where it's easy to control.  Tom's harness lines were
kinda lame - he'd taken the plastic tubes off to work better with his
"Reactor" harness, and its roller, and the starboard one had a funky twist
in it.  I had to pull it to a loop with my chin before hooking in half the
time.  These silly harness lines, and their slipping around on the booms
were the biggest equipment bummer for me.  I HATE having to stop to adjust

Other than that minor inconvenience, the sail felt good, and smoothed out
most of the ugly lulls.  It was a little carried away on the gusts, but I
had the strength for it today.  I also had the strength to surf out a few
outside jibes, and hit a really sweet one off a backside over the reef.
That would've been even better if I hadn't had to bail out to avoid a guy
right below me.  I knew where he was, I just misjudged how much space I'd
need.  If he'd cut my way on the wave about the time I carved, it coulda
been ugly, but as it was, my mast tip just brushed his board as I laid it
down and he sailed on in.  "Sorry" "Ok" and we boogied on.

I probably should've worked on jibing more, but getting powered outbound and
working the unpredictable chop rhythm was interesting.  I was pre-jumping
most of the waves, flying over the backsides with just the fin tip wetted.
Fast!  I was thinking about flow around the fin, and how between the wave
movement, corrections for the gusts and the board coming in and out of the
water, there wasn't any "steady state" to discuss.  It's dynamic, to say the
least, not something that's going to lend itself to analytic solutions.
Slalom and flat out speed sailing is one thing, this wavesailing is a
different world.

A way outside, further than I'd been so far, I started running into patches
of amazing turquoise and blue, blue-green water.  Steve explained that those
were patches of white sand.  Wow, how shallow was it out there?  Not enough
to jack up waves, or was that where the bigger ones were coming from?

At one point we jibed outside together, or he jibed as I started, and we had
a little race.  I started ahead, and called out "come and get me," which he
proceeded to do.  He was gaining only slowly, both of us raked back and
jammin, when I took a wave broadside, bodyslam style.  Somehow it didn't
crash me, I hung on and stayed planing but the race was over and he slid on
by, upwind of me.

I was the last one in, watching the sun arc to midafternoon, thinking about
the long winter that this would have to sustain me through, finally blasting
home through the surf, flying on my induced wind as the guys with bigger
sails were semi-slogging about.  It worked past the inner reef and a little
way into the cove, when I had to do a little hula and try to hold it
together on a run.  I got close enough to stand on the bottom after I
relaxed and just fell backwards under the sail.  11 straight days of
sailing, with 2 or maybe 3 at most I'd want to re-do.  A vacation I won't
soon forget.


Epilogue:  We came home on the coattails of a cold front, today it was
blowing starched flags, and in the 50's.  I didn't try to go sailing.
There was snow on Schaefer Butte, down below 6000 feet, and it's going
to freeze hard tonight.  Serious thermal shock.