Launch Date: July 7, 1958
Hull Number: M-29
Sail Number: FC15
Current Port: Emeryville, CA
Current Status: Sailing
Previous names: Cynosure, Koe-Matu, Voya-jurs II, C-C, Bonne Vie
Auxiliary Power: Elco EP-2000 electric
Rig: Fractional Sloop
Hana was relaunched in April 2016 after a year and a half restoration of her hull. She is actively sailing and racing on San Francisco Bay.
I received this letter recently from a former crew member, who had sailed aboard then Koe Matu in the 1963 Transpac. Thank you to Southbayman for sharing such a wonderful story:
"I sailed aboard her back in the 1963 Transpac when she was known as Koe Matu. I don't know what the name means. She had been named Cynosure previously. But she was purchased and renamed Koe Matu shortly before our departure for Hawaii.1963 was my very first summer out of high school. A pretty special year for me.
When I sailed on her she was all varnish and teak strip-decked with a white cabin top. People called her a "gold-plater" - and deservedly so — she was drop-dead gorgeous. Looked pretty much like "Echo" did on the picture on the fleet website
Three of us sailed her from the SF Bay down to Marina Del Rey and spent a couple of weeks getting ready. We didn't meet most of the crew, however until the evening before we left. There were at 4 very experienced racers aboard her plus a cook, a navigator and the owner.
It was a pretty slow race that year —at least it was for us. Not so slow for Ticonderoga, which as I recall won it. The seven of us raced her seriously 24x7 for nearly three weeks and did pretty well. Koe Matu had a GREAT rating that year, — DFL in the fleet (rated last boat in Division D) and we had knocked ourselves out to make her fast and well equipped as we could. As I recall it, we ended up correcting to 5th overall out of something like 32 boats or so.
The bilge flooded and batteries packed it in a bit three3 days out of L.A. so we were out of radio contact for most of the race.This radio blackout didn't make those on shore waiting for us very happy —especially my mother, I was told much later.
We broached and rolled almost 360 one dark night. I'm pretty sure we at least turned 180 turtle. But wasn't sure because I was off watch, asleep and woke up hanging face down in my bunk restraining straps up in the forepeak. So I literally hung in there, watch the water welling in through the (dogged) partially open forehatch below me, listening to muffled thumpings and bangings outside and wondering what the heck had happened to get us into such a fix. We had the boom and spinnaker pole tied down with preventers fore and aft. So there wasn't much anyone could do except hang on or hang in wait it out. I certainly couldn't do much since I was in a wet, clingy sleeping bag and my weight prevented me from loosening the tiedowns. But Koe Matu rolled back up the same side she went down on, shook herself off, and roared off to leeward again. Apparently none the worse for the experience.
About seven days out of Honolulu, something started following us in our wake. As you may be aware, Farallons sit pretty close to the water, especially aft. So when the waves came up behind us, our stern transom was about a foot off the water — maybe a lot less at times. Whatever creature it was, it had stereoscopic vision and its eyes shone (as their edges agitated plankton and created phosphorescence, I think.) The eyes were about 9 inches in diameter and were spaced about four feet apart. And on occasion looked like they were only about four feet astern of us. Which got a bit spooky for whoever was driving. It followed us for three successive nights. We never got a clear look at it in the daylight (though it had to have been hanging around us) or figured out what it was.
The only thing we saw on that entire passage was the Japanese training ship "Koko Mara" slowly beating up towards Japan under shortened sail. Her masts looked like closely spaced smokestacks on the horizon when she was hull-down. Took us a while to realize what she was. We altered our course a bit to leeward a little and sailed right under her bowsprit. Her lookouts must not have seen us until the last minute because all of a sudden her rigging filled with Japanese sailors all taking photos of us with what looked like some pretty fancy cameras. I suspect that there may be hundreds of absolutely wonderful photos of the gold-plater, Koe Matu under full sail in the sparkling blue Pacific that are gathering dust in some scrapbooks in Japan. Wish I had some of those photos. Other than the Koko Mara we saw nothing for the entire trip but sea and stars. Not another boat, a board, a bit of trash, a plane, another yacht — nothing until the lights of Hawaii appeared except whatever had followed us for those three nights and a few dolphins.
As we neared Hawaii, the dolphins appeared and kept us company for a day and a night. The water was so clear that one could sit on the bow pulpit and watch them dive way down deep, dwindling away to small gray specks in the depths.Than they'd rocket back to the surface at almost impossible speeds and move in close, sometimes crossing under the bow or following us, clearly visible in the waves that welled up behind us. They did much the same at night when one could see the entire dolphin illuminated in detail by the phosphorescence. Not sure how they did that. I thought dolphins are pretty smooth — not likely to agitate plankton in their passing.Maybe the very speed of their passage does it but I've always suspected that they can somehow turn that illuminated effect on and off at will. I’d like to think so anyway
We coulda-woulda-shoulda won the race on corrected time but for some really poor sail making. We blew out five brand-new spinnakers of our total of six spinnakers aboard in the first week or so of the race. Only the old original spinnaker that came with the boat when the owner bought her was still intact by the time we arrived in Hawaii. What little waking off-watch time we had was spent sewing a couple of the blown-out spinnakers back together. But we knew our waxed twine and sail palm fixes were shaky at best. So we had to throttle back and baby that last, aging spinnaker the last 1000 miles or so.
We thought we could sometimes smell the fragrance of Hawaii now and then about for days before we could see it. Not sure how that worked since we were running downwind in the trades the whole time. We had a quiet run down the Molokai Channel (given the Channel’s grim reputation we were expecting to lose that old spinnaker at any moment) and finished in light air in the middle of the night. I was sitting up on the bow (in the pulpit, I think) calling the spinnaker trim in the dying breeze and when they switched the Diamond Head light on us, an arm reached up out of a small boat in the darkness and handed me a Mai Tai in a hollowed out pineapple and shouted "Aloha. Welcome to Hawaii!" I can still recall the taste of that Mai Tai and the way the lights of Oahu looked like shimmering jewels as they spilled down the clefts and valleys of the hills.
That arrival — my first of many trips to Hawaii and elsewhere win the South Pacific — was quite an experience for this young kid on his first big adventure into the world on his own. For that and many other reasons, she holds a special place in my heart and I am deeply gratified to hear that you restored her with such obvious care.
Sailing and racing (which I still do) has been an ongoing study, a challenge, a refuge and a major source and keeper of my dreams since I was 12 years old. And many of my best memories of such happened aboard your boat. Thank you for bringing her back and keeping her on the waters. And so helping to buoy my spirits.
Fair winds, warm, clear waters, good shipmates, white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and cool beer at the bar . . .
Trans-pac, 1963 (as "Koe Matu")
2016-19 Master Mariners Regatta
2019 Belevedere Classic Regatta
2016-19 Jessica Cup