Maui sailing on the America II? How could average people like us be invited to sail on a ten million dollar America's Cup contender during our Maui vacation?
That's what happened to us on the America II Maui sailing yacht.
Okay, maybe everyone is invited, and maybe anyone that pays can go.
But we were still thrilled to sit on the same deck and sail in the same racing hull that had participated in the America's Cup in Freemantle Australia in 1987.
1987 America's Cup
The crew told us the history of the yacht as we left the berth in Lahaina Harbor.
Dennis Conner's Stars and Stripes beat our boat (America II) in Fremantle Australia in 1987 to represent the U.S., and then went on to beat the Australian yacht to return America's Cup to America.
There was a lot of bad blood between the American and Australian crews, primarily resulting from changes in racing hull design where each side thought the other had an unfair advantage in technology.
Sailing Maui in the America II Racing Yacht
After learning about all this racing intrique, we were ready to join the racing royalty and see for ourselves if America II had the right stuff.
The day was overcast and a bit cool, and winds are not generally very strong in the morning. But we were amazed at how fast we sailed in the light wind.
And we really got the feel of racing when the crew turned the yacht - water spray splashed us, boons and masts whipped around right over our heads as we ducked, sails snapped as they caught the wind, and the boat deck was at such as severe angle that we held on to anything tied down that we could find.
We would sail at an angle in one direction, then do a quick turn to the opposite direction when we sailed against the wind.
The America II usually schedules a morning sail, afternoon sail and late afternoon sail (may include sunset during winter months) as well as a whale watch sail during whale watching season.
Sailing and whaling made for a memorable morning in Maui. You can view a video of our America II morning whale watch by clicking on the PLAY button in the image below. The captain would just stop sailing and we would sit silently in the ocean observing the whales as they swam by us.
This next video focuses more on the sailing of America II. Think you want to sail on a racing yacht? Watch this video before you sail on the America II. If you ignore the camera wind noise, you will get a good understanding of the sharp turns and water spray (you will get wet) on the afternoon performance sail.
America II in Time Magazine 1986
From Time magazine (March 3,1986):
The best the Americans could do [in the preliminaries] was a third, turned in by America II, the New York Yacht Club contender.
This year every [yacht] sports some variation of Lexcen's winged keel; America II boasts not one but seven sets of wings that can be snapped on and off at will.
Not that anyone outside the heavily guarded American camp has seen them.
The America II crew members made themselves widely unpopular in Fremantle by jostling docksiders and forming a human barricade when cameramen ventured too close.
Said an New York Yacht Club spokeswoman: Underbodies are private parts.
Read about our Maui sunset sail on the Scotch Mist, a 50 foot racing hull which won the 1984 Victoria-Maui International Yacht Race.