Letter from Jim Haynes

December 1, 2019
Tags: history

This is a letter from Jim Haynes, the original owner of Hale Kai, found among the ship’s effects:

I and my wife, Kitty, were the original owners of Hale Kai. I ordered it built in late 1977. I told Terry Erskine that I had another year’s service in the US Air Force before I retired, so to take his time. The boat was shown in the London Boat Show in January 1979 by Terry. I retired and went to Plymouth, liked it because I could hand start it when the batteries were low. We sailed around the British Isles and across the English Channel several times to Europe in order to learn to compute and navigate the tidal currents, and then left England in August 1979 just in time to be caught 20 miles west of Ushant, France in the infamous Fastnet Storm. We secured for the approaching apparent storm winds and seas, and we sailed with a reefed storm staysail until the seas got too high, then finally removed storm staysail, lashed the tiller and laid ahull. We got knocked down several times with the mast tip hitting the water in 60+ ft. seas, but ended up with no damage other than a bent wind vane on the masthead. This tells one just how well designed and well built a Golden Hind 31 is for ocean sailing.

We crossed the Atlantic twice, circumnavigated the Mediterranean twice, and cruised North Africa, South America, Bahamas, and the East Coast of USA over the next 8 years, putting over 50,000 miles on Hale Kai. Because of severe illness in our parent’s, we reluctantly gave up sailing to take care of them and sold the boat to a retiring US Navy officer and his wife who wanted to cruise the Northern British Isles. I still have both my navigation and social logs of all our travels, ports, and rivers we cruised during those years. I was a fan of Joshua Slocum, so for navigation I used solely my sextant, American Practical Navigator, H.O.229, Nautical Almanac, stopwatch, depth sounder, a trailing log, and two digital watches. I had no other navigation equipment. Being an amateur radio operator, I used my HAM radio to get the exact time for my digital watches. I also used the HAM radio for checing into the maritime mobile channels, and the SSB frequencies of the HAM radio for weather reports. We took the mast off, lashed it to the bow railing and boom cradle, and cruised the major canals of France. We had no troubles during the 8 years after the Fastnet Storm, and we greatly missed her for a number of years after we sold her.

I am now 86 years old, and can no longer sail. Thank you again for the memories. If you wish any further history of Hale Kai (Polynesian for “Home on the Sea”, and pronounced: ’hahley cahee;), please let me know.

Jim Haynes
Richmond, TX