lahaina yacht club news

Lāhainā boat captain navigates loss and recovery after fire depletes family business

Captain Keao Shaw's businesses Makai Adventures and Kainani Sails face an uncertain future.

Lāhainā residents are taking stock of what’s been lost, as firefighters continue to assess the damage caused by the wildfires in west Maui.

Captain Keao Shaw and his family are residing on Oʻahu while they figure out their next steps.

Lāhainā boat captain Keao Shaw lives just two minutes south of Lāhainā Harbor. He didn’t think much about leaving his home Tuesday to help neighbors clear fallen trees.

"By the time I came back, I couldnʻt even get back to the house. My family and kids were with me and we had just the shirts on our back. And the houses are gone. Everything is leveled. Some of the boats that we had are at the bottom of the harbor now," Shaw said.

Shaw and his wife, ‘Iwa, run a small charter boat business out of Lāhainā called Makai Adventures and a tour company Kainani Sails.

They lost one of their two boats in the fire, but it’s their 10 employees and their well-being that is top of mind for the Shaws.

"They’re also my really good friends. And some of them are with child. It’s really hard to see what they’re going through," Shaw said.

"A lot of people lost their homes, a lot of people lost their jobs. And it’s like how do you even stay? I would love to keep them here," he added.

Crosses honoring the victims killed in a recent wildfire hang on a fence along the Lahaina Bypass as a Hawaiian flag flutters in the wind in Lahaina, Hawaii, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. Two weeks after the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century swept through the Maui community of Lahaina, authorities say anywhere between 500 and 1,000 people remain unaccounted for. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The Shaws have raised more than $21,000 so far online for their employees .

Meanwhile, the couple’s children, 5-year-old Nāhiku and 3-year-old ʻOlina, were forced to relocate to ʻIwa’s hometown on Oʻahu’s North Shore because both of their schools were lost in the fire.

Lahaina boat harbor after the fires.

"One of my biggest questions is four years ago we had a similar hurricane scare and it was the same scenario. The fire started up in the mountains and they were raging toward Lāhainā and all of Lāhainā had to be evacuated. I’m curious as to what started the fire and how we could have prevented it," Shaw said.

It is still unclear exactly what triggered the wildfires in Lāhainā. For now, Shaw will remain in nearby Honokohau Valley, while his wife and children start school on Oʻahu.

For additional coverage on the Maui wildfires, see below:

Jay Kitashima lashes down the roof of his home in preparation for Hurricane Lane on Wednesday along Ewa Beach in Honolulu.



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  • May-June 2016

Harness the Wind

Catch a ride on the salty breeze with Lahaina Yacht Club.

Story by Shannon Wianecki | Photography by Ben Ferrari

With West Maui’s mountain as backdrop, Cosco Carlbom takes a turn captaining Lahaina Yacht Club’s boat, Snickers, during the first regatta of the season.

As we leave Lahaina Harbor, the Pacific Ocean is a velvet blue expanse with hardly a white nick of wind. The late morning breeze, though light, is still strong enough to propel a sailboat. That’s good, because today is the first regatta of the Lahaina Yacht Club’s 2016 season, and I’m excited to help monitor the action from aboard the race committee boat.

Ian Ponting attempts to measure the wind speed with a tiny wind vane attached to his cellphone. “Eight knots on the geekometer,” he crows, pleased with his gadget’s accuracy. Ponting serves as rear commodore, in charge of the club’s races both big and small. As we motor out into the deep blue, he and fellow club member Dan O’Hanlon heave huge yellow buoys overboard to mark today’s course. Unlike racetracks on land, regatta courses are contingent on wind direction and shift accordingly during a race. Other contingencies Lahaina yachters might encounter? Whales and submarines.

Eight trim sailboats approach the start line. Among them are Snickers , the club’s own Olson 30, and Gung Ho, the fastest boat in today’s lineup. The boat captains trade friendly banter, jockey for position, and try not to ram into one another—or worse, lose their wind. Ideally, when the start horn shrieks, they’ll sail between the buoys on a strong tack.

O’Hanlon and Ponting synchronize their watches. I raise the four-minute signal flag. O’Hanlon hollers out a ten-second countdown and then blasts the horn: the race is on! Sails fill and surge forward. O’Hanlon immediately shoots up a flag, alerting a boat that it crossed the line prematurely. Gung Ho must maneuver back to the start, losing precious minutes. Gung Ho’s captain and owner, Keahi Ho, takes the penalty in stride. Competition during these club regattas is just stiff enough to make the races fun.

Lahaina harbor

Yachting is a relatively small sport on Maui—which is surprising until you consider the limiting factors. Hawai‘i is a far reach from everywhere; sailing to or from this isolated archipelago is a major commitment. Sailing within Hawai‘i isn’t easy, either. Small-boat harbors are few and far between here, and slips are in high demand. The channels separating the Islands are infamous, known worldwide for their volatile seas and currents. When you leave a Hawaiian harbor, you enter the wilderness of the open ocean.

That wilderness is a siren’s call to some, such as beloved restaurateur Floyd Christenson . Back in the 1960s, he and his family sailed around the South Pacific before setting anchor in Maui and opening Mama’s Fish House, one of the most successful restaurants in the state. He and a handful of other sailors founded the Lahaina Yacht Club in 1965. They transformed a dilapidated laundry on Front Street into an oceanfront clubhouse and contracted Hawaiian artist Sam Ka‘ai to design a burgee—the pennant that identifies the club. Ka‘ai drew a white sperm whale on a red backing.

“I grew up with that logo on everything,” says Ponting. Like most club members, he honed his appetite for yachting elsewhere before moving to Hawai‘i. He’s originally from the Bay Area, but his family has been entwined with Lahaina Yacht Club for decades. In 1974 his uncle won the club’s showcase regatta, the Vic–Maui. Held every other year since 1968, the international yacht race starts in Victoria, Canada, and ends roughly two weeks later in Kā‘anapali. When a boat arrives at the finish line—no matter what time of day—club members greet it with banners, refreshments, and flower lei.

sailing yachts maui hawaii

Naturally, when Ponting moved to Maui sixteen years ago, he gravitated to the club. “It was kind of seedy back then,” he admits. Aside from the Vic–Maui, “there was no sailing.” It’s well known that sailing clubs without active boating programs become drinking clubs. For close to twenty years, the “yacht” part of the Lahaina Yacht Club languished while its sailors waited for a slip to open up in Lahaina Harbor. Finally, eight years ago, the harbormaster called. Once the club had a place to park a boat, they bought one: Snickers .

Today, Snickers trails behind the other yachts in the race. The current leaders, Noa and Boondoggle, approach the first mark, a buoy they have to clear. Gung Ho suddenly darts between them, having jibed from far behind. In one sleek maneuver, Gung Ho has stitched up its lost time. All three boats round the mark in perfect sync. Their crews strike the jib sails and hoist silky spinnakers, which inflate like brilliant balloons.

Lahaina Yacht Club

Soon the entire fleet is sailing with the wind towards the finish line. The spinnakers cut a colorful swath across the backdrop of the West Maui Mountains. On calm days like this, sailing is a profoundly serene sport. But even on gusty days when the wind roars through the rigging, a sailor’s inner ear registers the absence of an engine’s high-pitched wail—registers and rejoices. To harness the wind, to hitch a ride on the planet’s very breath is a kind of magic.

O’Hanlon and Ponting keep an eye out for humpback whales, and for the Atlantis Submarine, which has surprised a yacht captain or two in the past by surfacing unexpectedly. As Snickers passes by, they assure me that she’s not a slow boat, but is often skippered by captains and crews in training. The chance to sail her is one of the perks of club membership.

The perks are many. Throughout the year, the club hosts numerous regattas and fishing tournaments. Members have exclusive access to the clubhouse that hangs over the water on Front Street. They can flash their membership card to gain entrance at almost any yacht club in the world—including posh addresses in San Francisco or Shanghai. And, perhaps best of all, Lahaina Yacht Club offers junior and adult sailing lessons.

“We’re trying to nurture the community,” says Ponting, who helped launch the club’s junior sail program in 2009. “It was the most sought-after summer camp on the island—with no advertising.” The club now hosts Hawai‘i’s largest junior regatta. “Teaching kids how to sail gives them a great sense of self, responsibility, and teamwork.”

Ian Pontin

Teamwork is essential in the final moments of today’s race, to capitalize on the building breeze. As each yacht crosses the finish line, I record its time down to the seconds. We won’t know the official winners until O’Hanlon calculates the scores based on each boat’s handicap. The last boat limps in lazily, its crew already cracking open beers. We motor off to retrieve the buoys and catch several humpbacks frolicking. We dive into the deep blue, to listen to their underwater songs—yet another perk of the sailing life.

A few hours later, the clubhouse fills with sailors freshened up and ready to celebrate. Trophies from past regattas glitter behind the bar and colorful burgees from yacht clubs around the world hang from the rafters. The chef piles snacks onto the crowded tables. I sit down beside Nancy Goode, who crewed today on Boondoggle . She remembers the moment she discovered the power of sailing, forty years ago in Southern California. A boat captain handed her a line and told her when to pull on it. She felt the boat move faster. She was hooked.

Goode and her boyfriend planned to sail around the world. When he decided to go without her, two fellows from Alaska found her crying on the dock. We’re sailing to Hawai‘i tomorrow, they said. She joined them. Upon landing in Lahaina, she got a job on a trimaran, leading snorkel tours. She now skippers monthly ladies’ sails, introducing other women to the wonders of travelling by wind.

O’Hanlon interrupts the socializing to announce the regatta’s winners: Noa places first, Gung Ho second. Jeff Kaiser, the gracious club commodore, stands to make another announcement. “Twenty years ago, Kea Ho won Sportsman of the Year,” he says. “History repeats itself. I’d like to congratulate his son, Nalu Ho, for winning Sportsman of the Year in 2015.” The deserving eighth-grader recently sailed with his father to Tahiti and back. He grins shyly and accepts his award—clearly a club member in the making. Meanwhile, Goode locks eyes with me and pencils my name in for her next ladies’ sail.

Attend a regatta:  Lahaina Yacht Club hosts regattas year-round. You can hitch a ride on a yacht for the day, enter your own boat in the race, volunteer aboard the committee boat, or help welcome the incoming Vic–Maui racers. View the club’s calendar online.

Learn to sail:   Lahaina Yacht Club offers five-day sailing lessons for adults (co-ed and women only) and juniors (ages nine to fifteen). Novice sailors should know how to swim, have strength enough to hoist a sail, bring gloves, and wear layered clothing and sun protection. Adults: $200 member, $400 nonmember. Juniors: $250 member, $300 nonmember

Become a club member:   Two existing members need to sponsor you. Attend some of the events above and you’re on your way. Visit or call 808-661-0191.


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Lahaina Return: Keeping Tradition Alive

Lahaina Strong

Each Labor Day weekend for nearly eighty years the legendary Lahaina Return race has run from Lahaina, Maui to Oahu with events all weekend at the Lahaina Yacht Club.  This year, however, the town of Lahaina was tragically lost in the fires, and the Lahaina Yacht Club with it.  But this infamous sailing event is being kept alive in spirit with the " Lahaina's Return Labor Day Weekend Fundraiser "!

The Hawaii Yacht Racing Association (HYRA), Waikiki YC, Honolulu YC, and Kaneohe YC are planning weekend of racing, fun, and fundraising to support Lahaina Yacht Club and the people of Maui. Saturday will see a race from Waikiki (a.k.a. "Town") to Kaneohe with over 30 boats signed up.   On Sunday, KYC will host games, dinghy racing, BBQing, and frolicking, all with a generous helping of fundraising for maui relief efforts.  Then on Monday, Labor Day, boats will race back to Town.   Boat entry fee includes a small amount to the regatta and a bigger donation a relief cause of the entrants' choice. Pacific Cup Yacht Club is proud to support our Hawaiian partner clubs with donations to their chosen causes: Maui Strong  provides recovery resources to the people of Maui, and Lahaina Yacht Club directly helps LYC staff and future rebuilding efforts. You can show your support like we have by donating to these causes and mentioning "Lahaina Returns" in the notes or comments. Mahalo! For more information: Hawaii Yacht Racing Association Waikiki Yacht Club Kaneohe Yacht Club Hawaii Yacht Club Lahaina Yacht Club Maui Strong

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lahaina yacht club news

Browsing the "Lahaina Yacht Club" Tag

lahaina yacht club news

Heavy hearts and challenging emotions

September 24th, 2023 | by Editor

September 24th, 2023

The Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race is hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club.

lahaina yacht club news

An Ode to Lahaina

September 7th, 2023 | by Editor

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It was August 8 when fires fanned out across Maui, and a day later when it became known that Lahaina

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We are Lahaina Strong

August 13th, 2023 | by Editor

August 13th, 2023

Wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui have killed over 90 people, and that number keeps increasing. More than 250

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Coast Guard assists with Maui fires

August 11th, 2023 | by Editor

August 11th, 2023

Residents continued to try to find missing loved ones after the Hawaiian wildfires ripped through Maui, killing 90+ people, with

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Maui wildfires continue to decimate

August 10th, 2023 | by Assoc Editor

August 10th, 2023

(August 10, 2023) – The rescue efforts are continuing after the death toll from the fast-moving wildfires wreaking havoc through

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Tragedy in Lahaina

August 9th, 2023 | by Editor

August 9th, 2023

Amid the death and destruction due to wildfires in Maui, aerial video show the town of Lahaina having suffered significant

lahaina yacht club news

The Growth of Junior Sailing in Hawaii

August 17th, 2015 | by Editor

August 17th, 2015

When the 3rd Annual Keith Dinsmoor Trophy Regatta gets underway on August 22-23, it will be the largest junior sailing

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What We Lost in the Lahaina Fire

The fire razed Maui’s densest dining town, destroying the fifth-generation-owned Nagasako Okazuya Deli, Maui’s oldest dive bar, the pickle mango stand on Front Street, and so much more

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Throughout its centuries-long history, Lahaina has been many things to many people: a royal residence, a missionary post, a hard-partying harbor town, a tourist trap. For some, it was simply home.

The fire that reduced the historic town to ash on August 8, 2023 was unsparing. It took the lives and livelihoods of so many of our community members. Around 50 restaurants went up in smoke that day. As the former dining editor for Maui Nō Ka ‘Oi magazine, I can name 30 without even trying. It’s an unfathomable loss for the industry — one that feels particularly cruel after everyone worked so hard to survive the pandemic.

For many, it’s still too early to talk about rebuilding. Even apart from the grief and mourning that still hangs in the air, on a very practical and tangible level, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates it will take months just to clear away the literal toxic debris. Before the fire, Lahaina’s world-famous Front Street was little more than a patchwork of wooden shacks held together by layers of paint, cooking grease, crusty sea salt, banana sap, and gossip. Some restaurants will certainly reopen in new locations, but that unique patina that made the place so compelling is gone.

And some restaurants will never reopen, including Nagasako Okazuya Deli , the oldest and arguably most beloved eatery in Lahaina. For 120-plus years, the Nagasako family served the West Maui community, and it started with Mitsuzo Nagasako, who opened a candy store on the corner of Front Street and Lahainaluna Road in the early 1900s. With each successive generation the business evolved — into a supermarket, then a grocery, and finally an okazuya, or deli. Lahainaluna boarding students crowded the okazuya counter before school each day to stock up on the deli’s special Spam musubi: meat in the middle, fried in teriyaki sauce. Families stopped by before and after the beach for shoyu chicken and breaded teriyaki steak. A week after the fire, the Nagasakos announced through a heartfelt post featuring photos of all six generations of the family that they would not reopen. This is one of the many threads to Lahaina’s past that has now been lost.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Nagasako Okazuya Deli (@nagasako.okazuya)

The Pioneer Inn was Lahaina’s first hotel, built in 1901. Over the years it housed a saloon, stage, and movie theater. Most recently it was home to Papa‘aina , chef Lee Anne Wong’s wharf-side restaurant. Originally from New York, Wong came to Maui by way of Honolulu. She learned to cook Hawai‘i-style cuisine at Koko Head Café, her brunch spot in Honolulu’s Kaimukī, and perfected it at Papa‘aina, where she served breakfast ramen and mapo tofu loco mocos. A few years ago, Wong hosted a dumpling workshop in the Inn’s courtyard, drawing lessons from her cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong . With her son on her hip, she taught us to roll and pinch our dough into crescents and dip them into boiling broth, much as local cooks had for the past 100-plus years. Whether or not Papa‘aina will ever reopen is unknown — right now, Wong is focusing on relief efforts for the thousands of displaced people.

Not long ago, at Kimo’s Maui , I had lunch with Paris-born artist Guy Buffet, who had immortalized the Front Street restaurant in a painting that captures the euphoria of dining there on the waterfront. When Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten opened Kimo’s in 1977, it was the beginning of their T S Restaurants empire, which now includes Dukes Waikīkī, Hula Grill, and Leilani’s on the Beach, among others. A trip to Maui was hardly complete without tackling a mammoth slice of Hula Pie at sunset while surfers caught the last ankle biters of the day at Breakwall. The owners have already pledged to rebuild their landmark restaurant.

Two doors down from Kimo’s, passersby could peek through a porthole into the Lahaina Yacht Club . Lahaina’s second-oldest restaurant was invite-only — but more in the piratical than prissy sense. Before transpacific sailor Floyd Christenson opened the beloved Mama’s Fish House in Kū‘au, he and a few other old salts founded the mariner’s club in 1965. They transformed a Front Street laundry into a clubhouse and contracted Hawaiian artist Sam Ka‘ai to design the club’s pennant, or burgee: a white whale on red backing. Colorful burgees from yacht clubs worldwide hung over the open-air dining room, where commodores traded navigational tips and tossed back shots of Old Lahaina Rum. If you rang the ship’s bell, you were buying the whole restaurant a round.

Across Honoapi‘ilani Highway, the Sly Mongoose boasted no view whatsoever — instead, Maui’s oldest dive bar advertised air-conditioning. Since 1977, “the Goose” had lured patrons indoors with its jukebox, goldfish crackers, and happy hour featuring $2 Jager Spice and “free beer tomorrow.”

These are only a fraction of the restaurants lost; entire chapters could be written about Lahaina Grill, Pacific’o, Feast at Lele, and Fleetwood’s on Front Street, where the Mad Bagpiper serenaded the setting sun on the rooftop every night. Restaurants weren’t the only places to find sustenance in Lahaina, either. There were food trucks, farmer’s markets, and even temples that served specialty snacks. During Chinese New Year, the Wo Hing museum offered crispy gau gee samples and moon cakes imported from Hong Kong. During the summer Obon festival, Lahaina Hongwanji and Jodo Mission hosted nighttime dances with chow fun booths. The outdoor kitchen at Jodo Mission overlooked the ‘Au‘au Channel and the steam from the boiling noodles wafted out to sea along with lanterns to remember the dead.

Lahaina old-timers will remember the little mango stand across from 505 Front Street. For years a local woman sold pickled mango there in little plastic sacks. Kids biked over after baseball games for bags of mango and sodas. In the summer, Lahaina’s mango trees were laden with the orbs of fruit. And before there were mangos, there were ‘ulu, or breadfruit, groves. Lahaina’s ancient name, Malu ‘Ulu O Lele, refers to the ‘ulu trees that once grew so thick you could walk for miles beneath their shade. Perhaps those trees will grow again.

As enormous as this disaster was, the community’s response was even greater. The day after the fire, Maui’s chefs sprang into action. The team of the grassroots project Chef Hui mobilized at the UHMC Culinary Arts campus to do what they do best: feed and nourish their community. In the first six days, they served over 50,000 hot meals to survivors of the fire. Despite losing her Maui restaurant, Wong has been at the campus every day plating up bentos, along with Isaac Bancaco, who lost both his home and his workplace at Pacific’o. Jojo Vasquez lost his home, too, and was forced to temporarily close Fond , his restaurant in Nāpili. That didn’t stop him from messaging his Chef Hui colleagues: “Tag me in coach, I stay ready.” Joey Macadangdang turned his restaurant, Joey’s Kitchen in Nāpili, into an emergency shelter the night of the fire and has been cooking for his displaced neighbors every day since.

Hawai‘i’s restaurant owners and workers are a tight-knit crew, battle-tested and resilient. Long before this fire stretched them thin, Maui’s restaurateurs, chefs, and servers were always at the island’s innumerable charity events with knives and generators ready. I had often wondered how they kept their doors open while donating food and staff to all these causes. Now is our chance to repay them for their decades of nourishment and for helping to knit together Lahaina’s fabric — layers of history laid down by Native Hawaiians, whalers, missionaries, plantation laborers, locals, transplants, and tourists to create the Lahaina in which we lived, loved, and dined.

Shannon Wianecki is a Hawai‘i-based writer and editor who specializes in natural history, culture, and travel.

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The history of the Lahaina Jackpot Fishing Tournament

By staff | oct 21, 2010.

lahaina yacht club news

LAHAINA — The first thoughts of the event evolved in the slightly beer-loosened minds of a couple of Lahaina’s charter captains. Bill Moffett and Phil Cole were contemplating get rich quick schemes and ruminating over the possibility of running a tournament for money.

Before anybody checked to find out if fishing for money prizes was a form of legal gambling, the newly formed Lahaina Fishing Club was dragged into the planning process.

Capt. Kenny Takashima was coerced into getting the ball rolling as part of his capacity as president of the fledgling fishing club. He grabbed his partner, Capt. Rick Rose, for his years of experience, and the tournament — which no one was real sure was even legal — began to take shape.

An opinion from the Maui County Prosecutor’s Office that equated fishing for money to riding brahma bulls for money — which had long been accepted practice at the Makawao Rodeo — was the final draw that made the system work.

It was not long before the Lahaina Yacht Club and Commodore Warren Hinton were called upon for assistance. Their history of fine service to boat-oriented people and their record of operating yachting events made them the natural choice as tournament cosponsor.

Pushing aside the usual below the belt, club house-style wisecracking, LYC Rear Commodore of Power Bob Carey felt this was long-overdue recognition for their contribution to the salty way of life: sport fishing.

Considering how long charter sport fishing had been going out of Lahaina Harbor, some wondered why this wasn’t thought of before. Anyhow, the board voted a sum of money to get the tournament on its feet after Bob Carey, Bill Moffett and Phil Cole convinced the members of the board that the tournament was a worthwhile project.

At first, it looked like Chairman Peter Fithian behind the famed Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, which took place annually over in Kona, was a bit disturbed over the idea of a fishing tournament for money (gambling) in Hawaii… one with such obvious potential.

The first tournament committee was made up of a cross section of LYC members, harbor fishermen and good friends: Co-Chairs Kenny Takashima and Rick Rose, “Moneybags” Sally Rose, Weighmaster Doug Shue, Bill Moffett, Phil Cole, Steve “Popsicle” Elkins, Denny Putnam, Rick Bodinus, R.K. Wooten, “Too Tall” Eddie Wilson, Jim Dampf, Harbor Agents Richard Dempsey and Mike Hatton, and Secretary Sue Danielson.

That first year, 76 boats, including some of Hawaii’s greatest sport fishing anglers and captains, sent in their $450 and then packed the tiny harbor in Lahaina on Friday, Oct. 28, 1977. Boats were tied abreast in the harbor six deep, and the inter-boat cooperation was something captains from Kona and Oahu had never seen before. Hot showers and cheap beers at the yacht club and general acceptance by yachting types — which prevailed throughout Lahaina — were immediately picked up by the assembled fishermen. The parties became legendary.

It all began on Saturday morning. By the end of the first day, Lahaina Charter Capt. Dave Rockett, aboard the Halcyon, weighed what turned out to be the tournament-winning fish: a 559.75-pound black marlin worth $15,200. This fish stands as the tenth largest marlin to win the Lahaina Jackpot, and the only black marlin to win the tournament.

The precedent-setting Lahaina Jackpot Tournament started a trend that literally exploded into a wave of new Jackpot tournaments across the State of Hawaii and the U.S.

It was a modest beginning and evolved into the largest fishing tournament in the state. The Lahaina Yacht Club, as sponsor, continues to show the special aloha and atmosphere that has greeted the men and women of the sea for 34 years.

Did you know that the Lahaina Jackpot Tournament has the distinction of the only tournament in the state to have had three “granders” (marlin weighing 1,000 pounds) brought to the scales? Also, no tournament in the state has ever had two “granders” win the event.

The 1993 tournament saw its first grander with a world record 1,201.8-pound blue marlin by Doug Jorgensen. He was fishing aboard the Cormorant with Capt. Bruce Matson from Oahu. This marlin is the largest to win the Jackpot Tournament, and this fish stands as the largest marlin ever weighed in Maui County.

The 1997 tournament again gained both state and international fame and recognition with double “granders.” Nowhere in the world had there been a pair of 1,100-pound marlin weighed on the same day. The tournament winner was a 1,106.0-pound blue by Rodney Kam. He was fishing aboard the Magic with Capt. Russell Tanaka. The second place marlin weighed 1,101.5 pounds and was angled by Andrew Mau. He was fishing with Capt. Rahn Yamashita aboard Shirley-Y.

The Shirley-Y would have won the tournament, but as they were bringing the marlin to the boat, it threw-up an estimated 20-pound spearfish, which would have given them the five pounds they needed to win. Upon inspecting the fish after weigh-in to see what it had been eating, it had a very fresh 20-pound mahi in its throat and another 20-pound spearfish in its stomach.

Only two wahine have won the Lahaina Jackpot Tournament. The first was Debbie Pezman in 2001. Her 237.2-pound marlin was captured aboard the Maggie Joe with Capt. Mike DeRego. It is the smallest marlin to ever win the tournament. Her team was also the first all-wahine team to win. The second was Renee Miklethum in 2004 with a 355.6-pound marlin aboard the Secnarf with Capt. David Young.

The first all-wahine team was in 1988 with the Laguna Nagel Billfish Club of Southern California. Team captain was Robin Weiner, and the crew was made up of Ellen Regan, Mary Graus and Sharon Handgis. They were fishing aboard the Ihu Nui with Capt. Freddie Rice. The “Largest Marlin by a Wahine Angler” trophy is the Robin Weiner Award.

Two boats have won the tournament three times. Capt. Kalei Luuwai aboard the Pualele won the Jackpot in 1998, 2002 and ’05. Capt. Mike Derego aboard the Maggie Joe won the Jackpot in 2001, ’07 and ’09.

Three other boats have won the tournament twice. Capt. Chris Rose aboard the Aerial took back-to-back wins in 1988 and ’89. Capt. Matt Kahapea aboard the Ah Tina picked up wins in 1984 and ’95. Capt. Bruce Matson aboard the Cormorant scored wins in 1982 and ’93 (world record).

Two anglers have won the tournament twice. Kalani Tom won the tournament in 2002 and ’05 fishing aboard the Pualele with Capt. Luuwai. Mitch Tanaka won the tournament in 2007 and ’09 aboard the Maggie Joe with Capt. DeRego.

Oahu teams have won the tournament 16 times, followed by Maui with 14 wins, Kona at two and Molokai with one win.

Over the past 33 years, the tournament has had a total of 3,179 boats, with a total Jackpot pay out of $1,599,210.

Registration for the 2010 Lahaina Jackpot will be held Oct. 25-28 from noon to 6 p.m. at Lahaina Yacht Club. Contact the club at 661-0191 or 667-6211, or visit .

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Sharing a Lahaina Christmas Story in July

Submitted by the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunset

On a balmy 80 degree day last December, a winter wonderland found its way to the Royal Lahaina Resort in Ka’anapali, which still housed hundreds of displaced families.

The shovels were out as snowflakes started to fall from what looked like giant bags of snow. Keiki and their ohana began to gather as more snow collected.

By the time the blizzard stopped, a line had formed with little ones eager to jump in, slippers and all, and maybe even throw their first snowball.

How was this possible?

The annual “Snow Zone” event was held at the iconic Lahaina Banyan Tree for many years and organized by the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. The Rotary District of Hawaii (D5000) recognized the positive impact for the Lahaina community and the need for this event to continue in 2023. As a result, they funded the Lahaina Restoration Foundation with $10,000 to make this event happen.

Additionally, at one of the Lahaina Club meetings, when a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Rockville, Indiana learned of the devastation, they also provided financial support for the “Snow Zone” .

With these generous donations, volunteers from the three Rotary Clubs in Lahaina were able to assist the Lahaina Restoration Foundation to bring this festive annual holiday experience back to the West Maui community!

Alas, no “Snow Zone” would be complete without a cookie decorating station, in which hundreds of sugar cookies were provided by volunteers from Lahainaluna High School. So much joy (and frosting) was in the air! Every once in a while, in the background, you could even hear a distinct “Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!” That’s right, Santa and Mrs Claus were there too!

With one last special touch, members of the Rotary Club of Lahaina Sunrise purchased Christmas trees and turned them into decorative holiday sprays that residents could hang on their doors, be it a home or hotel room. Many smiles were seen that day and even days after the event. Spirits were lifted and the aloha was felt.

When the new Rotary International President, Stephanie Urchick, chose “THE MAGIC OF ROTARY” as the annual theme, we couldn’t help but reflect on last December and realized that we can make magic happen. In this new Rotary year, we are looking forward to finding more ways to make magic and as our District Governor, Ted Faigle adds – “The Magic of Rotary with Aloha!”

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