• Registration Opens January 1st For The 2018 Shaka Challenge. SH & DH Race To Hawaii

    We had a chat with Jerome Sammarcelli, owner of Southern California based Sailutions and the mastermind behind the just announced
    new single and double handed race from Marina Del Rey to Honolulu, that is scheduled to have it's inaugural race beginning July 1st. As opposed to the SSS Singlehanded Transpac,
    The Shaka Challenge will sail directly from SoCal and end up in Hawaii's main port, saving SoCal shorthanded sailors the hassle and expense of sailing up to SF, and sailing from Kauai to Honolulu at end of race to load boats for shipping...

    Shaka Challenge NOR

    PD: A new single handed race from So Cal to Oahu, How long have you been mulling this over?

    Jerome Sammarcelli:

    To be very honest with you, it's been a while. I participated to the SHTP in 2012 and although I had a team with me to help (Open Sailing at the time), it was definitely difficult. I remember that I actually couldn't participate to the 2012 Long Beach Race Week event because I had to tow the boat to SF and get it ready. Missing LBRW wasn't the end of the world, but it is the best buoy event in so. cal., plus it's a lot of fun. Believe me, I wish I had spent my weekend sailing with friends than driving up the 5 freeway...

    Then in 2013, a race was organized, from Marina Del Rey to Oahu for the Mini Transat 6.50s. We had quite a few people signed up, but at the end, only one boat successfully made it across (a different story). At the time, I remember other boats asking if they could participate...but we wanted to keep it for "Minis only"...
    Three years later, with a new boat (new to me), I entered the 2016 SHTP, hoping I could participate again. It was a busy year, and I was working on a couple of boats from So. Cal. who were participating as well. Simply, I didn't have the time nor the financial ressources to participate myself and had to withdraw from the race. I was extremely disappointed because two other Mini Transat 6.50s were also participating.

    It is only recently (early October 2017) that I took the plunge and decided to put something together. Honestly, I didn't realize there was going to be so much positive interest. At this point, it is still difficult to say how many will cross the starting line, but I wouldn't be surprised to see 15 + boats.

    PD:What type of vessels will fit into the parameters of the Shaka Challenge?

    Jerome Sammarcelli:

    The race is open to monohulls and multihulls from 20 to 60 feet long. For this first edition, the smallest boat is 21 feet (they could actually be 6 Mini Transat 6.50, but I will be happy if there are only 3 ;-), and the largest boat should be an Open 60.

    PD: There was some consternation from the folks running the SSS Singlehanded Transpac originally, bu that seems to have toned down, can you explain?

    Jerome Sammarcelli:

    Except for post via social media, we haven't made a lot of noise about the race. We did talk about the event via the singlehanded sailing community of Southern California, and the word went out. I honestly didn't feel any animosity towards the event from those in northern California but they had some good questions, which were answered. For those who initially didn't understand the meaning of this new race, I believe it helped and made sense.

    We have to look at the big picture: The Shaka Challenge aims to allow more sailors to race to Hawaii, in a short handed format (single and double handed). I can assure you that participating to the SHTP or Pac Cup, for someone located in Southern California adds a lot of time and money into the race. In the past 5 SHTP (roughly 100 participants), only a handful were from Southern California. I think it says it all.
    If the Shaka Challenge can send 15 sailors to Hawaii in one race, that is worth 15 SHTP editions, or 30 years...Numbers don't mean much, but I think you get the point.

    Recently, there was a "merger" between The Border Run race and the N2E...maybe we could look into something similar where races could start from SF and MdR and both finish in Hawaii?

    PD: Will there be a host club/reception in Honolulu or will all that with awards be in MDR in September?

    Jerome Sammarcelli:

    We are working with a friend in Hawaii and we hope to get help from WYC and HYC. The goal is to have "small welcome party" for each finisher (something very simple), then a dinner with all participants once everyone has finished.

    Having the awards ceremony in September will allow the participants to invite friends and family who couldn't necessarily fly to Hawaii (time and expenses). Racers would have had time to gather their thoughts, and will hopefully present videos and stories about their race to Hawaii.

    In 2012, I simply couldn't stay after the race: I had to get the boat back to Oahu, ready to be shipped back, and myself back to work. In 2012, due to time constraints and finances, I had to get back to Mainland and missed the awards ceremony in Hawaii. I would like all participants to the Shaka Challenge to experience this differently, hence the main party in September, back where we started, Marina Del Rey, CA.

    PD:The Southern Cal are has a pretty good singlehanded offshore program, but it doesn't get a lot of media love, can you give our readers a bit of info on the Shorthanded scene in So Cal?

    Jerome Sammarcelli:

    I can't agree more: PSSA (Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association) has a great offshore program for single and double handed sailors. PSSA runs some difficult events, yet make sure that racers are ready to face the elements. PSSA benefits from very experienced members and also organizes monthly event with outstanding guest speakers. By participating to the PSSA Dan Byrne Series alone, from January to May, one could already sail well over 700nm.

    PSSA is an outstanding organization, but is not necessarily seeking for media interest. To quote one of PSSA members whose article was actually published in Sail magazine, "Welcome to the Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association, where some very good sailors on the West Coast are quietly doing their thing."

    This being said, I do agree that PSSA should do a better job promoting its events which are unique on the west coast. It is on-going as PSSA's website got a new face lift last year, and a facebook page ;-). News are posted on a regular basis and the website is up-to-date. The membership is growing, and the Shaka Challenge is definitely a great add-on to all the other races that PSSA offers.

    Sailing in general is not getting a lot of media attention in the USA, so short handed sailing, in Southern California could definitely been seen by the media like a drop in the water ;-). Recently, a press editor wrote me back that he wasn't interested in covering this new story...So at the end, I also believe that the the reason behind the lack of "media love" can be shared with the fact that the "media" filters out what doesn't necessarily sells...

    PD: Participants can begin registering on Dec 1st and have til Jan 31st to complete registration, any clue on what shipping boats back will run?

    Jerome Sammarcelli:

    We actually changed the registration date from January 1st to March 1st. As you may know, the Shaka Challenge will be organized by PSSA which has been using Jibeset's service since 2016. It makes it easier to open registration as the same date than PSSA membership registration as well. Entrants to the 2018 Shaka Challenge automatically become PSSA members in 2018.
    For shipping, Pasha confirmed that the rates will be the same than any other racers sailing to Hawaii this summer - well, for those racing to Kauai, I believe the barge will still be an add-on to the trip from Ohau back to the main land. We don't have a price per square foot yet.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: Registration Opens January 1st For The 2018 Shaka Challenge. SH & DH Race To Hawaii started by Photoboy View original post