Kaneohe Bay Channel Information

Stone, Iwalani



 (Revised for 2014 Race)

The Finish Line for the Pacific Cup Yacht Race is outside of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, at a spot on the ocean described to you in your Sailing Instructions.  You must have, and should review, a Kaneohe Bay Chart No. 19359, 12th Ed. 07/07.

There will be an escort boat on scene as you finish.  The KYC Escort Committee is ready, willing, and able to assist you with getting through the channel of your choice (either Sampan or Main Ship) and the surrounding reefs and turning you over to the Mooring Committee at Kaneohe Yacht Club.  It is important to note that you are not required to accept the assistance of an escort vessel; it is your choice to follow them into Kaneohe Bay or not.

When you radio your 25-mile check, it is important to let KYC Base know the following:  1) Whether or not you want an escort boat, 2) Your yacht’s draft, and 3) Your choice of channel to enter the Bay, 4) Number of POB.  The Escort Committee will be aware of the tides when you finish the race so you will be able to discuss your choice of channel; however, if your draft is 7’ or less, you will come into the Bay via the Sampan Channel.  Remember that the Sampan Channel is nothing but sand…no coral or rocks…AND is a couple of hours closer to the cold mai tais!  Depending on the tide at your arrival time, you may be able to come thru the Sampan Channel drawing 8’ or more. 

Please remember that all escort committee members are trained volunteers who take their duty seriously, but you have the ultimate responsibility for your vessel and crew.  You’ve come a long way, but your job isn’t done until you are safely moored…and we want to help you do just that!

You must have someone on your vessel maintain radio contact with the escort vessel at all times.  The escort vessel will keep a constant watch on your yacht as you follow them, but they must be able to communicate with you at all times to adjust speeds, make turns, hand off to Mooring, etc.  We do need cooperation from you to get you and your yacht safely into Kaneohe Bay and to the ice-cold Mai Tais, beer, and Hawaiian hospitality.

Sampan Channel Entry:

After crossing the finish line, douse your spinnaker and continue sailing, veering slightly left toward R “2”, then down the Sampan Channel until entering the calmer waters inside Kaneohe Bay.  Your escort boat will be in the vicinity and will make radio contact with you immediately after you finish. Arriving at night and never having made the trip before, you may prefer to turn into the wind, drop sails, start your engine and follow the escort boat under power. You can discuss this with your escort vessel.  Don’t try to secure sails, etc. offshore…wait until you’re inside the calm of the Bay.

The escort vessel will stand by after you finish the race until you are ready to proceed. The range marks coming down the channel are very easy to see at night…not so easy to see during the daylight hours.  After passing R “2”, you will follow your escort to the junction of Sampan and Main Ship channels (just past GR C “S”), then bear left until passing Coconut Island on your starboard side.  Your escort vessel will contact the Mooring Committee for instructions.  Continuing on in the calm, open waters inside the Bay, your escort will let you know when to turn into the wind, take down your sails, and make your final preparations for mooring. 



Main Ship Channel Entry:

Drawing 8’ or more (and depending on the tide), you will probably come into Kaneohe Bay via the Main Ship Channel and it will take you approximately one to two additional hours to get to the Club.  After crossing the Finish Line you will turn right and continue sailing on a magnetic heading of approximately 320º to get to RW “K-Buoy” off the entrance to the channel.  Using the Main Ship Channel, your escort vessel will probably meet you at “K-Buoy”, rather than at the Finish Line off the Sampan Channel.  The escort vessel will, however, be in radio contact with you immediately after you finish the race.  Following in the wake of your escort, you will proceed down the range marks, then turn left at the lower range mark (sitting on a piling in the middle of the channel) and proceed to the junction of Main Ship and Sampan Channels, just past GR C “S”.  You will then continue following your escort into the calm, open area of the Bay where you can make final preparations for mooring.  Escort vessel will then contact Mooring for instructions.

In order to plan the channel you’ll transit and the place you will moor, it’s critical to know your yacht’s draft.  Although that information is required on your Entry Form, confirming that information at your 25-mile check is extremely helpful to both you and everyone involved in receiving you at Kaneohe Yacht Club.  Stay safe and have a FUN trip across the Pacific…we look forward to greeting and assisting you after you cross the finish line!


Iwalani C. Stone, Chair

Pacific Cup/KYC Escort Committee