The Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA) held the Kualoa to Haleiwa race on July 15, 2018. In the two-day race, the Olukai clearly won the first day and was in the lead on the second day. They were sailing outside of Kaneohe when suddenly a rogue wave broke on the ama causing severe damage. As the crew struggled to secure the ama they fell from the first place team to the sixth place team.
Once back underway a member of the crew of Olukai suggested that “we pull together and finish this race.”
The crew was settled: calm, clear and confident. Their response to the comment and situation was a non-verbal sense of complete acceptance. They simply got back to work. In the words of Captain Mike Field, “The crew embraced the challenge of getting back in the race with a matter of fact, there is ‘no quit’ in us, attitude.”
Sailing on a starboard tack with side shore winds the Olukai was able to keep the ama out of the water and pick up the pace. One by one they caught up and passed the boats that had gotten ahead of them. The Olukai was back in the lead as they approached the Point at Kahuku, the Northern most part of Oahu. The challenge was clear. With trades there is a down wind run from this point past Turtle Bay, Kawela Bay, VelzyLand, and Sunset Beach.
Above: Before the ama gave way...
Normally, if you were sailing in this position you would be beyond stoked! You’d sail a couple of hundred yards off the point and jibe and sheet in and fly on a straight line to Sunset Beach with the wind and wind swell behind you.
Instead, this downwind section demanded that the crew make some serious adjustments to not let the damaged ama dip into the water. This handicap and delay required some incredible skills and patience to allow the second place canoe to retake the lead. Indeed, the battle was on.
Just past Sunset the Olukai was able to jibe and get on a starboard tack. Again, this required some serious adjustments with the weight on board to keep the ama up and out of the water. This allowed the crew to retake the lead and hold that tack all the way to Pua’ena Point. At Pua’ena they had to, as the sailors say, “sail down wind” to get in to the finish at Haliewa and win in grand fashion. Their time was 3:47 minutes. Two minutes ahead of the second-place finisher.
Mike Field, who has been a fixture in sailing canoe racing and paddling in general since the early 80’s, comments on the battle and the win, “Winning this race, given the constant challenges, was beyond sweet. The crew responded to each challenge in the moment and “in sync” with each other and the canoe. What could have been a disaster turned into the most satisfying experience.”
Mike Field continues, “In winning, we were given the Ka’au Mckenney Award. Ka’au was a dear friend to all of us Ocean Athletes, he died tragically at Makapuu Lighthouse in 2011. I am extremely grateful to my crew and the people at Olukai for believing in us.”
Coach: Marvin Otsugi, Captains: Jason Dameron (Day 1), Mike Field (Day 2)
Crew: Tyrus Siale, Keawe Smith, Chris Pico, Kali’I Miller and Jason Ignacio
To work in sync is the ultimate form of performing in process. To be "in sync" by definition is the ability to give your self over completely to each other and the team process. In doing that, you are in control of yourself and you are able to make the greatest gift to the team and to yourself: Namely, the satisfaction of knowing you were in sync with your team and together you were able to give your best effort.