• Friday , 14 December 2018

Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i christened in New Orleans

Sponsor Lynne Parrott christens the Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i in New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2018.
Sponsor Lynne Parrott christens the Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i in New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2018.

Sponsor Lynne Parrott: ‘(Captain) Alapai…was loved by all who knew him.’

By Hilary Reeves

The Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i – the second of four new ocean-going tugs slated to begin neighbor island service for Young Brothers – was christened on October 12 in New Orleans. The christening follows that of the Kāpena Jack Young in June.

Designed by Damen USA and built by Louisiana-based Conrad Shipyard, the tugs precede the Kāpena George Panui Sr. and Jr. and the Kāpena Bob Purdy into service. All four tugs bear the names of original Young Brothers captains. Kāpena means “captain” in the Hawaiian language, and the name for the class of ships celebrates the skill and innovation of Young Brothers’ Hawaiian navigators. They will be home-ported in Kaunakakai, Molokai, where the Jack Young was given a Hawaiian blessing on October 21.

Kāpena Tug Specs:

  • 6,000 horsepower
  • 123 feet by 36.5 feet
  • Powered by General Electric 8L250MDC engines
  • EPA Tier IV emissions compliant
  • Recirculate exhaust gas

WATCH Conrad Shipyard celebrate the christening of the Kāpena Jack Young.

Lynne Parrott was named sponsor of the Raymond Alapa‘i and traveled with her husband, Foss President John Parrott, to the tug’s christening in Louisiana.

“It’s surprisingly emotional,” she said. “The first christening I ever went to was in San Diego. John was invited to go down to check out the yard. The ship – I remember it was the Cesar Chávez – had nothing to do with TOTE, where John was working at the time; I had no relationship with the ship at all. When they broke the champagne, streamers came down all around and a band started playing. I started crying immediately.”

Christenings, according to Parrott, represent a gateway. A birth.

“Having lived with a merchant seaman, I know that a ship is its own being,” she continued. “People call it a ‘her’ for a reason. All ships have an individual identity.”

Parrot grew up sailing – one of her first dates with John was a sort of sailing test for the both of them. Her father was a Naval nuclear engineer and officer.

“The whole relationship to water, boats, ships, etc. was already there for me before I met John,” she said. “We recently sold our sailboat, but we’ve taken our kids on a sailing trip every summer for all but one year of their lives.”

Ship sponsorship, Parrott explained, is akin to being a “godmother.” She self-deprecatingly refers to her sponsorship of the Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i as a “nod to John,” but takes the honor seriously.

“When John joined Foss, Glenn (Hong) pushed and pushed and pushed for new tugs – and John knew he was right,” she said of her husband. “John’s is a pretty unusual story. He started on the ships, so he knows what it sounds like when he’s talking to the guys below him. For me, it was about learning to have a husband who was gone for 10 weeks at a time.”

Parrot christened the tug by breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow and reciting the traditional words: “I christen thee the Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i.” Her small gift to the crew, “just something little that the sponsor provides to make their onboard life better,” will come later. She, John, and Glenn Hong, former president of Young Brothers and now with Saltchuk, dressed up in their cowboy best – cowboy boots and Hawaiian shirts.

“Captain Alapa‘i nickname was ‘Cowboy,’” she explained.

Hong stood at the christening and relayed stories of Alapa‘i’s skill – even in the worst of conditions. In her speech, Parrott spoke of his humble pride.

Lynne Parrott in New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2018.
Lynne Parrott in New Orleans on Oct. 12, 2018.

“Kāpena Alapa’i was an incredibly humble man who took great pride in his work, and he was loved by all who knew him. He joined Young Brothers in 1962 and retired in 2005 after 43 years of service…” she read from the podium. “It is this remarkable character that will set the course for this tug as she serves the people of Hawaii over decades to come…With the spirit of Kāpena Raymond Alapa‘i guiding her, I know that her crew will be always safe and always ready, and I wish for them to always have fair winds and following seas.”

A Different Pineapple Express: the History of Young Brothers

In 1900, Herb and William Young boarded a San Francisco schooner bound for Honolulu. Hailing from San Diego, they were more than comfortable on the ocean, and within a year set up a business ferrying passengers and small freight around Honolulu Harbor. A third brother, Jack Young, soon joined them.

After 13 years, the brothers incorporated as Young Brothers, Limited, providing ocean towing, rescue services, and barge transportation between islands. The company’s entry into the inter-island shipping business came when growers on Moloka’i found they needed a way to transport pineapples from the more remote island to Honolulu for canning. Young Brothers landed the contract.

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