Police on Med Viking

While staying at KYC (Kanehoe Yacht Club), we had a visit from the local police. They wanted to make sure that we had no unopened alcohol containers. We insured them that all the alcohol on board would be quickly consumed. They felt confident in our ability to perform that task so they rapidly left to check other boats.

When sailing far away from home, it is always important to know the local rules!

After the inspection, they allowed us to take a picture:

The police squad

The police squad

Med Viking in the press

From Latitude 38:

Who is going to win each division? For the answer to that question we called on Oahu-based Vietnamese psychic Lan Vo Kailua. Here’s what she ‘sees:”
Holo Holo Cruising Division: “Bernard Debbasch’s Newport Beach-based Beneteau 411 Med Viking is the best horse for the downwind course in this division, plus being the only boat in the race with a registered supercargo — Dianna Kennedy — can’t hurt.” (Traditionally a supercargo is a representative of the ship’s owner aboard a merchant ship responsible for overseeing the cargo and its sale. We don’t know what it means on a Pacific Cup boat.)


From norcalsailing.com:

The Cruising (Holo Holo) Division started on Sunday morning off the St. Francis YC race deck. Holo Holo is Hawaiian slang for walking around and having fun. First to cross the start line was Med Viking, a Beneteau 411 from SoCal, skippered by Bernard Debbasch. Gregory Newman’s Caliber 40LRC Rapture couldn’t get their diesel engine to shut off and so returned to Berkeley, but has since restarted.



First to cross the start line was Med Viking, a Beneteau 411 from Southern California, skippered by Bernard Debbasch, followed by four San Francisco-based boats. Venture, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49, skippered by Michael Chobotov, was a close second. KnopKierrie a Pacific Seacraft 37 skippered by Monika Majewska was next, followed by Rapture a Caliber 40LRC Sloop-Cutter, skippered by Gregory Newman, and then Koh-Ring, a Tayana 48, skippered by Wolfgang Hausen.

The common theme expressed by the skippers in this division is “we want to sail to Hawaii, and the Pacific Cup has enabled us to do it with wonderful support.” The cruisers can run their engines at any time (although they must log the time), but Med Viking’s skipper says he would be delighted if he never had to put the engine in gear.

Med Viking reaches Hawaii!

16 days, 1 hour and 28 minutes after leaving San Francisco, Med Viking landed in Kanehoe Bay on the island of Oahu. It was a fun passage despite having 3 days without wind and the remaining of tropical depression Wally during the last night. Med Viking handled the rough seas very well.

The crew before the start

The crew before the start

It looks like Med Viking finished 3rd in its division. While motoring was allowed (#1 and 2 motored for 2 days), Med Viking only motored for 10 hours and 4 minutes.

A proud skipper

A proud skipper

More mahi-mahi !

We had a very successful sailing day. We were able to fly the asymmetric spinnaker all day and averaged more than 6 knots. We also had a very successful fishing day. We first caught a mahi-mahi and decided to put the line back in the water. Within minutes a second fish got hooked. We decided that 2 good size mahi-mahi were enough. Bob, the official filleter, was working on those when the hand-line – which we had forgotten – also got hot. Skipper Bernard who was attending the radio net went to get the 3rd fish out of the water…

Bob holding one of the mahi-mahi

Bob holding one of the mahi-mahi

We are already speculating on our arrival day (not time yet) but I won’t comment publicly on the topic!

Mahi-mahi dinner

While the skipper was taking a shower (around noon), the rest of the crew managed to catch a nice Mahi-mahi. Buy the time the shower was done, the fish had already been brought back to the boat and stored in swim platform locker. Good job! This shows once again the the skipper has n useful role on the boat.

So the dinner plans were changed to include fresh mahi-mahi tacos. That was excellent. Now we are getting used to the fish diet so we need to catch more!

Yesterday, we did 124 miles toward the destination. We are sailing conservatively to make it easy on the boat and the crew. We had a few big squalls in the early evening hours but the rest of the night was relatively free of squalls.

A lot of squalls

Sailing today was a little bit difficult because we were in squall country the whole day. Between the squalls the wind was not very strong but every time we contemplated flying the spinnaker, another squall would come and cancel our plans!

In the 5 PM net, we were told that yesterday we made 137 NM towards our destination. The situation was not as good for another boat which lost its rudder and was assisted by the communication vessel Cayenne which happened to be close by.

The wind is turning more towards the east we should make it more favorable for us to sail.

Our GPS indicates that we are just less than 666 NM from destination. Interpret this number as you wish!

In other news the camera that the skipper bought just before the trip was lost in the water this afternoon. Luckily this was just after all the pictures had been backed-up

Bluefin Tuna onboard

Fresh sashimi or sushi anyone?

Late this afternoon (8:30 PM PDT) we caught a blue fin tuna. It is a relatively small one but more than enough for the whole crew

It looks like the message we got earlier today (from Henrick) wishing us good luck with the fishing worked very well!

We have obviously documented the event with pictures and video.


Bluefin tuna: before

Bluefin tuna: before

Bluefin tuna: after

Bluefin tuna: after


During the night we passed the half-way mark. At that point, we were less than 1035 nautical miles (1916 km) away from the finish line.

Yesterday afternoon, Bob hand steered the boat for 6 hours straight and Bernard did it for 4 hours. It was a lot of fun to surf at 9+ knots with the kite (spinnaker) up. The spinnaker ride came to an end at 2 AM when the wind picked up too much for us to be able to steer the boat. We had to remove the spinnaker without damaging it, losing it or falling in the water. We succeeded.

While going on deck, Bernard found a pretty large (10 inch?) flying fish that had landed at the wrong place. This is one of the biggest flying fish that anyone of us had ever seen.

We got a surprise this morning when we saw a sailing boat south of us. It was very likely one of the big boats that can cover 300 miles a day. We tried to reach them on VHF but they apparently did not monitor channel 16 nor had their AIS on.

As for now the seas are too rough to fly the spinnaker so we are sailing with a poled jib at about 6 knots

Finally some wind

After 4 days with almost no wind, the wind finally picked up. We are now flying the symmetric spinnaker in 10 to 15 knots of wind. Our speed is in the 6 to 7 knots range. Much better!

While becalmed we did a few interesting things like swimming in the ocean (when the bottom is 5000 meters below!). We also received a nice motivation from neighbor Kevin who wrote:

“Each pretty hand can steer a ship becalmed but he that will govern and carry her to her ends; must know his tides, his currents, how to shift his sails”.

So we are in that mode now! Thank you Kevin.

As I am writing this, we just hit a peak of 9 knots. Med Viking is happy!

AGWGY : Answers Google Won’t Give You

Throughout the preparation for this adventure, we have been asked a lot of questions. Here below is a list of questions and answers:

Q: What do you do at night?
A: We sail! The other options would be to drop an anchor but the Pacific is very deep (more than 10,000 ft) or stop at a motel but this time of the year all the motels we have seen have “No Vacancy” signs.

Q: It looks like crossing the Pacific Ocean on a small sailboat is very dangerous. Aren’t you scared?
A: This is all relative. Driving a car is dangerous. We try to be careful with the boat and the crew.

Q: Where do you buy fuel?
A: This blog is about sailing to Hawaii.

Q: What is the worst thing that can happen?
A: Hitting a half-submerged object.

Q: What would you do if this happened?
A: If the boat started to sink, we would launch the life raft and activate our EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon)

Q; How do you update the blog when at sea?
A: We use either a modem connected to a short wave radio (free but not 100% reliable) or use a satellite phone connection (expensive but relatively reliable)

Q: What do you do all day long?
A: We sail the boat, we sleep, we eat and we repair the boat. Some do other things such as reading, writing, fishing, talking on the ham radio bands

Q: How long is the trip supposed to take?
A: With a boat our size, it should take about 14 to 16 days but this is an average. In our case, we were without wind for about 3 days

Q: What about hurricanes?
A: There are no hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean, only cyclones! Cyclones never reach the coast of California and only very rarely reach Hawaii. Coming from the north the chance of meeting a cyclone is minuscule. In any case, there are no tropical storms currently forming further south so a cyclone is not on our agenda.

Q: Why are you doing this?
A: Why not?

Q: Really? Are you out of your mind?
A: May be!