The annual December Lana’i ocean & land Blue’Aina was a roaring success, blessed with beautiful sunny weather, eager volunteers, and 15 bags of trash collected! Read all about our fabulous sponsor and non-profit organizations, and our little surprise welcome into Manele Harbor on Lana’i!
A quick crew change, some restocking of food, supplies & fuel, and our Trilogy crossing crew has officially kicked off the 3-4 week long “Leg 2” of Trilogy IV’s adventure! Get ready for some very technical stats from Captain Nick… compass headings, route trajectory, engine usage - you name it, we got it!
Although currently delayed due to some shipping container & supply fiascos, our crossing crew is making the best of the situation in St. Croix! With a little fun (scuba, anyone?), a little education on catamaran building techniques and of course some SAILING in our new boat (!), read the latest update on our Trilogy ‘ohana’s epic ocean adventure!
It’s finally here - our new boat is coming home! Read this first-hand insight into the incredible feat that is an ocean crossing, written by Captain Denver Coon. Sleepless nights, thousands of miles of Open Ocean, squalls, and weeks without sight of land all await our Trilogy crew - the most epic of adventures is under way!
Follow along the journey of our brand new luxury catamaran, the Trilogy IV, as she sets sail on her ocean crossing home to Maui! During this adventure, we’ll have our Captains and Crew weigh in on their 5-7 weeks at sea with all the behind-the-scenes stories (the good, bad, and funny). We can’t wait to welcome T4 home - but first, phase 1!
With just over a month to go, our crew selected, and our bags packed (ok, not quite), we are so excited for our first ocean crossing this year! In August, a small group of Trilogy Captains and Crew members will bring our brand new, state-of-the-art catamaran from St. Croix to its new home on Maui. In honor of their adventure, here’s our list of must-haves for any ocean crossing!
When it comes to weather Hawaii is truly unlike anywhere else on the planet, and one of the most mystifying concepts for Maui visitors to wrap their head around is the way in which Maui's weather systems work.
We at Trilogy Excursions are sailors at heart. From our founders, the “sailing Coon” family, to our captains and crew who bring their experience and love of the ocean and adventure from all corners of the world, sailing is in our blood.
If you’ve ever felt the gallop of a boat as it races across the water, or have hoisted the sails and harnessed the wind to move you across the sea, then you’ve felt the inescapable lure that sailing can have on the soul.
It's 7am in Kahului Harbor, and Captain Caleb is donning a respirator and a faded long-sleeve shirt. Usually at this time he'd be prepping for a snorkeling tour—readying the gear, counting the food, and loading on Ka‘anapali Beach.
Today is a day of sandpaper and paintbrushes, where the sound of gentle trade wind breezes is replaced by sanders and vacuums. It's a day that will be spent at Trilogy's dry dock—a "behind-the-scenes," but important part of snorkeling tours in Maui.
What Is Dry Dock, and Why Is It Important?
In the simplest terms, dry dock is when a boat is hauled from the water and placed on land for repairs. On the Mainland, it's common for owners with smaller boats to regularly trailer their boats, or keep their boats in a marina or shipyard when they aren't in use in the winter. When running Maui snorkeling tours, however—especially on 60 ft. cats—our boats stay in slips in the harbor and operate almost every day. Luckily, thanks to Trilogy's fleet of catamarans, it's possible to take a boat out of action without having to cancel our tours.
As for why it's important, keeping our boats in good working order is vital to the safety of our guests. All of the boats must be regularly inspected for wear, corrosion, or damage, and every square inch of the hulls and rigging needs regular attention and care. Also, for commercial vessels such as ours in Hawaii, the boats are required to have regular inspections by a team from the U.S. Coast Guard. The thru-hulls need to be regularly examined (which is where sea water is drawn for cooling the engine), and the hulls need to be inspected for structural integrity to ensure the safety of our guests.
How Often Are Trilogy's Boats Dry Docked?
Every one of Trilogy's catamarans is dry docked every two years. The dry docks work on a rotating schedule, and during most years there will four different catamarans dry docked throughout the year.
It's a challenging task that keeps our maintenance team busy with the planning, prepping, and fixing, and it's also a time that our newer crew members can learn the boats inside and out.
Where Does the Trilogy Dry Dock Take Place?
For years, Trilogy's catamarans were sailed to the Big Island to a dry dock facility in Kona. The length of the journey is 100 miles, and requires crossing the Alenuihaha —one of the roughest channels in the world.
Beginning in 2014, however, the dream of a facility at Kahului Harbor finally became a reality.
The ramp on the inside of Kahului Harbor is wide enough to accommodate the catamarans, and there is ample room to park the boats on a custom-built dry dock trailer.
The facility will be used by multiple boat companies that are dry docking catamarans in Maui, and it's a huge development for the Maui community to have this facility on island.
UPDATE - Dry dock in Kahului has been indefinitely suspended and bots now return to the kona facility.
What Are Some of the Usual Projects?
While our boats are serviced throughout the year, dry dock is the time when the major projects are finally put into play. The hulls are completely scrubbed of algae and then entirely sanded and repainted, and any cosmetic dings in the hulls are also painted and patched. The propellors and rudders are pulled off the boat and the zincs on the shafts are changed out, and sometimes the railings and stairs are removed if they're in need of serious repair.
Another huge project of most dry docks is removing the rigging and mast. A crane is brought in to hoist the mast once all of the rigging is removed, and once it's painted and thoroughly inspected, it's once again raised, placed on the step, and the rigging is finely tuned.
As you can probably imagine, it's a pretty big project.
In addition to the mast, the hulls, and the rigging, every dry dock has a laundry list of projects that are needed for improving the boat. Sometimes new ice chests are added to the galley and sunken down into the counters, or all of the whites on the inside of the cabin are sanded, de-natured, and painted. The heads are sanded, repainted, and cleaned—as are the engine rooms and rudder rooms. Bottom paint is applied to the hulls to inhibit algal growth, and the sails are completely removed from the boat if they need sewing or work on the battens. The electronics might be worked on for installing new speakers or updating to new GPS, and every corner of the 60 ft. boat is polished until it shines.
It's a week that's filled with sweat and fumes and more than a little hard work, but at the end of the day, once the progress has been made, it's a project that you can step back and admire from afar, knowing you played your part.
Who Does All Of The Work?
While contractors are hired for special projects (such as climbing and tuning the mast), the majority of the work is performed by the crew that works on all of the tours. The same people who serve piping hot cinnamon rolls and lifeguard while snorkeling on Lana‘i, are the same people who strap on ventilators and grab a sander or paintbrush.
The talented, behind-the-scenes maintenance team are the ones who call all the shots, but it's a team effort from Captain through deckhand to get the boats back in the water. Once the entire project is finished, however, and the boats are sailing back home, there is a sense of pride and ownership in the boat that every crew member can take home. It's a way of helping take care of the boats that provide our livelihood and jobs, and respect for the vessels that allow us to wake up and share the beauty of Maui.
FOR MORE INFO ON A TRILOGY DRY DOCK CHECK OUT THE MOVIE BELOW!
Having sailed in Hawaii for over 40 years, we’ve seen Maui gradually change and grow in many ways.
For as much as the island has changed, however, one thing that has remained constant over the years is the art of sailing in Hawaii. The slap of water lapping against the hulls still sings its romantic song, and the feeling of harnessing the island tradewinds still calls us to the water each day.
The Hawaiian Islands, however, can be difficult for sailing, and it's been said that if you can sail in Hawaii then you can sail almost anywhere in the world. As evidenced by the wind and weather conditions in Maui, the direction and strength of the winds in Maui is highly nuanced and variable.
In fact, the winds in Hawaii are so specific, and each with their own particular traits, that the ancient Hawaiians had over 30 names for the winds on the island of Maui. When you factor in other variables of sailing, such as the movement of the currents, the direction of swells, and the evening rotation of the stars, it's easy to understand why the Polynesian navigators were considered some of the best in the world.
Today, during our sailing tours of Maui and Lana‘i, we are humbled to follow in the Hawaiian tradition of connecting these islands by sea. Our Trilogy catamarans are of sloop rig design—meaning they use a mainsail and single headsail—and their stable structure is the modern equivalent of traditional Polynesian voyaging canoes.
.......Points of Sail for Sailing in Hawaii
The nice part about catamarans is they provide a comfortable platform for sailing in between islands. The difference between a catamaran and a monohull, however, is that the point of sail is a little bit different for catamarans than it is for narrower boats.
For example, during our sailing tours of Maui, our catamarans will often sail on a reach and are very rarely close-hauled. In layman's terms, this means that the wind is blowing over the beam of the boat (the side of the boat), and in certain situations—such as a downwind sail from Honolua Bay—we will sometimes end up running free with the wind blowing directly behind us.
What is the Best Place for Sailing in Maui?
As any sailor will know, the answer is one that is constantly changing and ultimately depends on the wind. Here in the islands of Maui County, the prevailing wind direction is from the NE quadrant about 80% of the year. These are what are famously known as the "tradewinds," although wind from the north versus wind from the east can have a dramatic difference on where you set sail.
As it happens, three of the best places in Maui to sail are the Pailolo Channel, the Auau Channel, and Ma‘alaea Bay— all of which are where we offer sailing tours in Maui. To give an illustrated rundown of the best sailing in Maui, here are some maps of where we’ll set sail when given the different winds:
The Pailolo Channel is the waterway that separates the island of Maui from Moloka‘i. Tradewinds from both the north and the east will regularly blow through the channel, with the mountains of West Maui and eastern Moloka'i creating a funnel 9 miles wide. Of all our sailing tours on Maui, the Pailolo Channel offers the most consistent sailing— particularly during the summer. During both the northerly as well as easterly trades, we will usually set sail from Honolua Bay on our Discover Ka'anapali snorkeling tour. Sailing on a beam reach towards Eastern Moloka'i, we will jibe the boat in the middle of the channel to begin sailing back towards Maui. On an easterly tradewind this will often mean sailing on a beam reach, with the boat now positioned on a port tack (wind blowing over the port side of the boat) versus the starboard tack taken towards Moloka'i.
On a northerly tradewind, once we have jibed the boat mid-channel, the northerly direction means that the wind will be passing directly over the stern of the boat. This position is called "running free," and while it is technically regarded as the slowest point of sail, the consistent 15-25 knot tradewinds still make for a riveting sail.
Between Maui and Lana'i the winds get a bit more complicated. On a north wind, for example, you can set sail out of Manele Harbor and then sail on a reach nearly all the way to Lahaina. Northeast winds offer a similar sail, although you will often begin to lose the wind a few miles out from Lahaina. On an east wind, however, the Auau Channel can be very confused and the wind speed can be very blustery. Reaching Lahaina on an east wind would require a lengthy series of tacks, and even though we will still sail on east winds off of Lana'i, it's often better to find a convective breeze off the distant shoreline of Lahaina.
Unlike the tradewinds out of the north or the east, a convective breeze is a light sea breeze caused by the heating of the land. These convective winds are perfect for a casual sail along the coastline, and we will usually use a drifter sail (which is similar to a spinnaker), to catch the breeze passing over our stern for an enjoyable downwind sail (drifters and spinnakers can only be used downwind).
Finally, on the rare days when we have kona winds blowing out of the south, the downwind run back towards Lahaina is perfect for the colorful drifter.
On the south side of Maui, Ma‘alaea Bay is one of the windiest spots in the entire state of Hawaii. Since Maui's two volcanoes— 5,800 ft. Mauna Kahalawai and 10,000 ft. Haleakala— create a valley in the center of the island, this valley essentially acts as a wind funnel that spits out wind over Ma'alaea. On over 300 days out of the year, Ma‘alaea Bay is a sea of whitecaps from about 11 am- 6pm. While both a northerly wind as well as an easterly wind will eventually stretch all the way down the coastline, a northerly wind will arrive earlier in the day and render snorkeling at Molokini impossible.
For sailing, however, reaching Ma'alaea Harbor from Molokini or Makena would require sailing directly upwind...something that we know isn't possible to do. Rather than enduring over a dozen short tacks and zig zagging our way upwind towards the harbor, we will often motor up the coastline of Maui, hoist our sails off of North Kihei, and sail on a reach on a starboard tack past McGregor Point at Ma'alaea Harbor.
On the rare occasions with kona wind days or light westerly breezes, we can often sail on a port tack directly towards Ma‘alaea Harbor. Where sailors need to be careful, however, is that the light, 10-knot westerly breeze can easily change to a 25-knot easterly breeze at an area off of North Kihei. When sailing in Ma‘alaea Bay, it's always important to look ahead at the wind line since the wind strength can switch at any time.
The reality, however, is that studying Maui and her fickle winds on paper will only get you so far. To really learn about sailing in Hawaii you need to let the breeze blow through your hair and feel the wind on your face; hear the slap of the waves on the hull and the whistle of wind in the rig.
This has been our passion in Maui since 1973, and we always love to swap a good tale with fellow island sailors.