Sunset Sailing

Couples can cruise Maui’s shores

By: Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi

Prone to severe seasickness, I readily admit I’m not an old salt give me hiking boots instead of swim fins any day. That’s why it took more than a bit of cajoling to get me aboard Trilogy III, a 51-foot sailing catamaran, for a two-hour sunset cruise along the shores of West Maui.

It sounded romantic, relaxing and fun, but remembering the discomfort I’d felt on small vessels in the past, I booked Trilogy Excursions’ Kaanapali Sunset Sail with more than a bit of trepidation.

My boyfriend, a lifelong water baby, did his best to reassure me.

“The channel where the tour goes is protected by Maui, Molokai and Lanai, so it’s usually calm,” he said. “Sailing is an amazing experience.”

On the day we were to do the tour, I had a light lunch, pressed a Scopolamine patch behind my ear and slipped a stash of ginger pills in my fanny pack. When I saw Trilogy III glide up to Kaanapali Beach to pick up our group, I was excited to hop aboard.

Sleek and pretty, a princess on the waves, she’s equipped with twin 130-horsepower turbo Volvo diesel engines, a custom spinnaker, two restrooms, a galley, comfortable cushioned seating and plenty of room to roam. According to Rand Coon, president of Trilogy Excursions, she’s certified to carry 49 passengers, but capacity is limited to 30 for the sunset cruise.

Under engine power, Trilogy III headed west from Kaanapali Beach toward Molokai for about four miles. She then made a wide, graceful turn and the crew cut her engines and hoisted her sails; and we began cruising downwind toward Lanai. Everywhere we looked the views were magnificent Maui, Molokai and Lanai floating on a palette of cobalt blue; a rainbow arching over the West Maui Mountains; ever-changing patterns of light and ripples on the water; the sun slowly sinking toward the horizon, beneath a canopy of clouds.

The crew pulled out all the stops for a memorable experience. The bountiful pupu (appetizer) buffet included beef kabobs with mushrooms, tomatoes, onions and peppers grilled on board; shrimp with cocktail sauce; spinach wraps; sushi; garlic bread; crackers with cheese, smoked salmon and cream cheese; fresh veggies and a creamy dip; chips and the best salsa I’d ever tasted.

Ice chests were packed with
sodas, juices and bottled water but no alcohol.

“We started this trip as an alternative to the traditional ‘booze cruise’ and wanted to create a family-
friendly environment,” said Coon. “Consequently, we don’t serve alcohol, but guests are welcome to bring the adult beverage of their choice.”

I ate and drank with gusto and didn’t feel nauseous or dizzy at all. The fresh air was like a tonic; I felt renewed, as though my body was absorbing the energy of the ocean beneath the boat.

Then it struck me the beauty, the exhilaration, the sense of freedom and adventure: This is why so many people love sailing.

When the sun finally disappeared from the sky and Trilogy III’s twin hulls once again touched Kaanapali Beach, I (the avowed landlubber) knew this would not be the last time I would be playing on the sea.

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