24 hours after reaching our destination (Honolulu) we were asked to head 150nm back out to check in on team Pacific Warriors. In the event the hurricane changed direction and their progress dictated a tow to safety. I found crew in Maui thru a friend and flew them over to O’ahu. We sailed across to Lanai and up to Lahaina, Maui. The winds in “the chute” between Maui and Molokai were blowing 35-40kts with moderate swells. We turned back to Lahaina to wait for the winds to die however they continued on. After discussion with our race director the team Pacific Warriors were inclined to take the tow as the weather became progressively heavier. We decided to attempt a passage up the channel with intention of turning back if the conditions became uncomfortably unsafe. We beat the wind and swells for three and one half hours in the dark with wind gusts up to 45kts and swells 6 feet plus crashing over the bow and rails in to the self bailing cockpit. Once outside the chute the winds backed down to 28-30kts and the seas lightened up for only the occasional rouge wave to drench us without warning. We reached the pacific Warriors by daylight as they were still on the fence to receive the tow. Thirty minutes later the radio cuts in “Galen Diana, we have decided to take the tow and come aboard”. To sum it up, we transferred their dry gear first, had them rig a towline, then began the wet person transfer from their boat “Limited Intelligence” to The Galen Diana. The wind was still blowing in the upper 20’s and the seas 4-6′ making it challenging to execute a safe ocean boarding. My past life as an Ocean Lifeguard lent to the success in that we had extensive training with boat rescues in my Jr Lifeguard days in San Clemente, Ca. Then graduating to a seven year paid professional Ocean Rescue Lifeguard in South Orange County, California. Timing is everything to avoid the stern of the boat to crash down on top of someone if they are off sync. Also swimming over to TGD on my command was critical due to the wind and current. I had to jump in to assist a struggling swimmer due to the hesitation after I yelled “GO”. All was good and we nailed it the second attempt. We got everyone on board, secured the towline, I fed them fresh fruit, bean burritos and cold beer. They were happy and we set sail back to Honolulu to beat Iselle.
You can view the videos of the ocean boarding on the “Galen Diana Sailing” Facebook Page