Maui Sailing - America II

We may look like normal people, but for a morning we were racing royalty on the America II 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

America II Maui Sailing Yacht - on Time Magazine cover 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

Looking for whales during our America II morning whale watch. 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.

From December to May, they also offer a Maui whale watching trip.

America II Maui Sailing Videos

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.

Return to Maui Sailing from America II Maui Sailing

Sailing Maui

Randy Willis on Maui
My Maui Sailing overview

West Maui

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali does not have a harbor or dock, so catamarans pull up right on the beach and you wade through a few feet of shallow water to stairs that are dropped from the catamaran.

• The Hula Girl sailing catamaran usually sails to Honolua Bay for snorkeling and scuba.

• Trilogy uses a sloop rigged sailing catamaran for a Kaanapali Snorkel and Sail.

• The luxury catamaran Shangri-La sails private charters for day trips and overnight sails where you can sleep in the cabin.

Lahaina Harbor

• The racing hull Scotch Mist sailboat won the 1984 Victoria-Maui International Yacht Race.

• The ten million dollar America II racing yacht was a contender in the 1987 America's cup.

• Trilogy Excursions offers a Discover Lanai island catamaran sail.

• Trilogy Excursions offers an Ultimate Seafari to Lanai island full day catamaran sail on Saturdays.

• Paragon offers a sailing catamaran full day Lanai performance sail, snorkel and beach picnic.

Maui Sailing Charters

Central Maui

Ma'alaea Harbor

• Trilogy offers a Discover Molokini Island sail and snorkel.

• The sailing catamaran Paragon II has a morning sail and snorkel to Molokini, and an afternoon performance sail and snorkel to Coral Gardens.

• The fifty foot Columbia ocean sailing yacht Cinderella sails private charters - performance sails, sunset sails snorkeling, and whale watching - for up to six guests.

• The fifty seven foot sailing yacht Island Star sails private charters for up to 28 guests, and can sleep up to 10 guests on overnight charters.