annual 90 mile Na Holo Kai Sailing Canoe race was held this past Saturday, August 15th
and was the seventh leg of the 2015 Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Sailing series. Wind and water conditions proved to be the best of the 2015 season. The race began in light off shore breeze but was not enough to sail so the fleet of canoes had to sprint the 5-mile course to Kaena point. Paddle Me Sports headed in a northerly course and into an early lead followed by Maui Jim, Team Olukai, Aloha Brewery, and White Orchid weddings. They spread out over a couple of miles and jockeyed for position and the best sailing course. It took over 3 hours for the lead to change. The Maui Jim canoe captained by Kauai's Donny Jones snuck into a slight lead over Team Olukai, Kala'I Miller's Aloha Brewery, and Paddle Me Sport. After battling with Team Maui Jim for about two hours, Team Olukai, made up of Marvin Otsuji, Jason Dameron, Chris Pico, Maui Kjeldsen, Kalani Vierra, and Tyrus Sale, methodically dropped down to a more southerly course and took the lead.
"We were getting 400 yard bombs, we were connecting the waves together and at one point Kalani was hooting and hollering, yelling 'there's another mile'," explains captain Marvin Otsuji about their lead takeover.
After switching course about 30 miles off of Kaua'i, Team Olukai took and held the lead all the way to the beach. They had the best strategical position to cover all of the other canoes, Team WOW captained by Ray Glauser dropped to a straight rhumb line course even more southerly than Team Olukai and they were able to sneak in right behind Team Olukai.
The race was inspired by the 1987 "Year of the Hawaiian". Five crews set out at 3 am to conquer the Kauai channel, Steve Baker, Mike Kincaid and Marvin Otsuji were three of the original sailor. The Na Holo Kai has become the super bowl of canoe sailing and requires a certain type of crew member to consider it fun to cross a 90 mile channel and spend 7 to 10 hours paddling.
With only one race to go , the over all series lead is still held by Team Olukai . This is the teams 19th
year in a row to be on top of the Hawaiian Sailing canoes sailing series.