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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

New pilot boat named Kawika

By (Ukjent person)
Advertiser staff writer

Lori Ikehara-Lyman, widow of the late Capt. David Lyman, breaks a bottle of beer on Kawika during a commissioning ceremony in Honolulu Harbor. David Lyman was a harbor pilot, waterfront historian and crew member on the first voyage of the Hokule'a.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Ed Enos, vice president of the Hawaii Pilots Association, and Lori Ikehara-Lyman, widow of the late Capt. David Lyman, wait for Kahu Kaleo Patterson of Ka Hana O Ke Akua Church in Wai'anae to begin a Hawaiian blessing of Kawika, a 31-foot aluminum-hulled pilot boat built by Reliance Engineering in Nelson, New Zealand, and named for Lyman, a beloved harbor pilot who died earlier this year.

BRUCE ASATO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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At Honolulu Harbor yesterday, friends and colleagues gave the highest honor imaginable to the late Capt. David "Kawika" Lyman: They named a boat after him. Nothing would have made him prouder, they said.

"You've got to be somebody to get a boat named after you," said longtime friend and fellow harbor pilot Kik Hugho. "He's probably sitting up there in heaven somewhere with a Budweiser in one hand and a cigarette in the other and smiling down on this ceremony."

Lyman, who died in a pilot boat accident on Kaua'i earlier this year, was a legendary harbor man, someone who knew from the earliest days of his life that he wanted to work around the water and ended up doing it with skill and verve. He was a consummate harbor pilot, waterfront historian, crew member on the first Hokule'a voyage, board member of the Hawai'i Maritime Museum and founder of the state Harbor Pilots Association nearly 30 years ago.

So when his wife, Lori Ikehara-Lyman, christened the Kawika yesterday, the association didn't just put his name on the boat; they wrote it in 22-carat gold paint, Hugho said.

"It's as if his spirit is still with us," said Kahu Kaleo Patterson, pastor of Ka Hano O Ke Akua Church. who gave the blessing yesterday. "The ship will be a good reminder of the great soul that he was here on Earth."

The new $300,000 pilot boat, which replaces one that Lyman helped purchase for $39,000 when he started the pilots association in 1979, is the group's eighth vessel serving all of Hawai'i's commercial deep-draft harbors and the latest in a fleet modernization program that began in 2002, said Capt. Tom Heberle, association president.

The pilots help captains of cargo vessels, oil tankers and other freight ships navigate safely in local harbors; the harbor boats are used to transport the pilots to the vessels.

Custom-designed in New Zealand, the Kawika is powered with twin 225-horsepower outboard motors capable of reaching speeds of up to 48 mph; its speed and easy maneuverability will allow pilots to board large ships they guide into and out of Hawai'i waters more safely and keep the busy harbors operating at peak efficiency, Heberle said.

Lyman often referred to the work as part of the "invisible makai side of Nimitz Highway," which commuters drive by daily without realizing how important the harbor work is, said his longtime friend, author Mac Simpson.

"Having the boat named after him is the highest tribute you can pay to a seafarer. Kawika would be ecstatic," Simpson said.

The new boat will serve as a backup to the pilots' main boat during times of peak harbor traffic, Heberle said.

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Ikaika will be retired and donated to Honolulu Community College's Marine Education & Training Center at Sand Island.

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