Skip to content
February 24, 2023

Big Motor Yacht Runs Aground at Famed Surf Spot on Maui

On Monday, a 94-ft motor yacht, identified as the Nakoa, reportedly broke free of its mooring, drifted onto the reef at Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, and began leaking diesel.

“Due to the urgency of the response needed, the Coast Guard [federalized] efforts to mitigate potential pollution to the environment,” according to gCaptain. “This means that the yacht cannot be moved until all fuel, batteries, and any other pollutants on board are removed.”

Fuel can be seen leaking from the 94-ft motor yacht Nakoa, grounded in Honolua Bay, Maui, a famed point break.
© 2023 Department of Land and Natural Resources

Here’s a post from the Qualified Captain’s Instagram: “I don’t like to post anything until I find out the full details, but as of now here is what I know. They were not properly tied up to a state funded mooring. They also apparently over-extended their stay. They broke loose of their mooring while they were below deck. They were not able to get back on deck in time. When they did in fact get back at the helm and started the engines, they accidentally went forward instead of reverse and went straight into the reef. This has caused a massive diesel spill, and will become a big salvage job. Sad and frustrating situation.”

The website The Inertia said that the owner of the boat, Jim Jones, apologized to the public, and insisted that no gross  negligence was involved. “It was a freak accident and the worst timing ever,” Jones told local news Monday night. “We couldn’t have done anything about this and we’re doing everything we possibly can to try to get off of here.”


“Sad and frustrating situation.”
© 2023 Department of Land and Natural Resources

The Inertia confirmed reports that Nakoa had overextended their stay. “According to [Hawaii’s] Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), day-use moorings are limited to two hours in the area but Jones says he had no knowledge of the two-hour limit and stayed there for two days.” The Inertia said that Maui County issued an emergency permit to remove the vessel, and the rental business that owns the Nakoa will be responsible for any of the costs associated with the removal.

Hawaii state officials said it would likely be “another few days” before the Nakoa would be removed from the rocks and reef at Honolua Bay, according to the Maui News. Here’s a report from yesterday regarding the cleanup operation:

Readers Accurately Locate SV ‘Freedom’

On Monday we shared a couple of photos sent to us by Charlene and Kirk Wagner of the 2002 Beneteau 393 Freedom Kirkland (although the photos were actually of the couple’s dinghy). We put the question out to readers: Where is Freedom located? The answer lay somewhere in Mexico, and we let slip that it was somewhere along the eastern Baja side of the Sea of Cortez (we apologize for initially leading readers astray). Nonetheless, despite our errant mapping skills, some readers were able to scrutinize the photos enough, before and after our correction, to accurately place the hidden sailboat.

Well done, Christopher White, for being the first to correctly name the location as San Juanico (despite our best efforts to confuse everyone).

s/v Freedom Kirkand in Mexico
Charlene and Kirk have owned Freedom Kirkland for 15 years, and each winter they head south on a Pacific Mexico cruise.
© 2023 S/V Freedom Kirkland

We asked the Wagners about Freedom‘s solar array, which clearly exceeds the width of the boat. Does it fold up for windy passages, or docking at a marina?

We can only imagine the pressure on the outermost panels while on a brisk crossing.
© 2023 S/V Freedom Kirkland

“Yes, the solar does fold down for marinas or if the sun is low on the horizon,” Kirk replied. “600 watts of solar gives about 25–30 amps from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Just keeps everything going with an 800 amp battery bank, as long as there isn’t too much cloud cover. And my wife takes it easy with the hair blower,” he added.

Kirk also sent us photos of the bay in Zihuatanejo filling up with boats for the annual Por los Niños de Zihuatanejo Sailfest, which this year runs from February 12 to 26.

boats in bay for Zihuatenjo sailfest
Por los Niños de Zihuatanejo started in 2005 with the idea of helping one community to build a classroom. Among other facilities and benefits, they have now funded 143 classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and playgrounds, along with 14 new schools.
© 2023 S/V Freedom Kirkland

Sailfest is a two-week regatta with the sole aim of raising money to support the education of local impoverished children. The festivities include a sail parade, Rally Round the Rock, and sunset sails, all hosted by volunteer sail and motorboats that offer spots on board for guests. Plus there are music concerts involving local and international musicians on boats anchored in the bay as well as in private homes around Zihuatanejo.

“We have been reading and contributing to Latitude 38 for many years. Love it.” — Thanks for the great feedback, Kirk and Charlene!

11th Hour Racing at The Ocean Race Starting Line on Sunday

After an in-port race in Cape Town yesterday, the five IMOCA 60s in The Ocean Race are set to take off on Sunday for the longest leg ever included in this round-the-world race. The crews will be racing for about a month as they sail the 12,750-nautical-mile course from South Africa, heading south of Australia, New Zealand and around Cape Horn before finishing in Itajaí, Brazil. This is about 40% of the total 32,000-mile race.

The Ocean Race route
The next leg is the longest ever in the 50-year history of the race.
© 2023 The Ocean Race

We imagine racing for 30+ days in these chilly southern latitudes at 20-30 knots is going to be a mind-, body- and boat-testing experience. It’s hard for us to envision the challenges of simply eating and sleeping in those conditions, never mind keeping your boat safe, and moving fast and ahead of your competitors. They’ll be experiencing long, high-speed surfs as they sail through the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties.

The American 11th Hour Racing team, with the Bay Area’s Bill Erkelens as COO, took second in yesterday’s in-port race and is in second place overall for the event.

Starting Sunday, you can follow 11th Hour Racing and The Ocean Race here.

The Day a Sailboat Changed Our Lives

Admiral,” my high-tech IT son-in-law grinned broadly as his FaceTime image materialized on the iPad, “I need your advice!”

I could see he was in his office, a high-rise overlooking Puget Sound. When a younger man asks an elder for advice, it is a huge honor, and one needs to give it his full attention.

“John, I’m all ears; what’s up?”

“My wife, the Admiral’s daughter, wants to buy a boat.”

I couldn’t suppress my smile. I must have raised my daughter well. “If a wife tells her husband to buy a boat, that’s a good wife and that’s a problem you want to have.”

“Of course, I want one too, but it’s a lot of money… how did you buy Pegasus?”

“Simple. Sandy [my wife] wanted her.”

“Come on,” my son-in law-urged. “I need the full story.”

I could see my eyes on the screen, looking up to the right, searching, remembering. “Well, our old boat was not big enough to have our kids and growing number of grandkids aboard for long stretches, so we were looking for a larger one. This was back in 1999. We had been visiting yacht brokerages and looking at listings, but anything I liked in our price range, Sandy did not. Can you imagine that?”

John’s head cocked and eyes squinted. “Doesn’t surprise me; you two are all-time disagreement champions.”

“Long story short,” I continued, “We’d been looking all day up in Sausalito and coming up blank. Sandy was hot and cranky. She asked the broker to show us a boat we would like, regardless of the price, you know, ‘just for fun.’ I remember the broker looking away quickly so that we could not see the look on his face. He took us over to the high-end, bigger-boat section of the marina. You know, the place where only rich people keep their yachts.”

“Yeah, believe me, I know what you mean,” John gulped.

“We came around the corner of the dock, and there was this huge, sleek white cutter with a red and black winged horse painted on the side at the bow. Remember those flawless, honey-colored varnished railings and the gray-honed teak decks?”

sailboat pegasus
How did the “disagreement champions” end up with the beautiful Pegasus?
© 2023 Al Fricke/ Pegasus

“Oh, yeah, you kept them sparkling, but I think you liked those massive winches and that fast, rigid inflatable dinghy best.”

“John, I gotta level with you. I was intimidated and just knew we could never afford such a boat. Forty-five feet was as long as our house, her mast was almost six stories up, and she weighed something like 15 tons; twice as heavy as anything I had sailed.”

“Keep going.”

“I was up on deck, drooling over all the navigation gear, the massive anchor windlass and the world-class autopilot. Sandy called from below, in a half whisper, ‘Al, there’s a full aft stateroom with a king bed and its own head and shower, and the galley has a big reefer and freezer and all kinds of storage space. It even has a microwave. The woodwork down here is luscious.'”

John piped in, “Don’t forget the two radars and the walk-in engine room. I can just see the two of you on board. So how did you end up with the boat?”

“We were still aboard, the salesman left us on our own; you know how they do when they know the hook is set? Sandy gave me that flirtatious, wide-eyed look she has and nodded her head up and down. I just laughed her off. I thought she was kidding — until, that is, her eyes narrowed and a chill went through me, and I’m telling you, she had a voice I’d never heard before. ‘Get this boat!’ she said.”

Continue reading at