Kuhela

Kuhela is a Hawaiian word meaning, “To rise up and move along as the swell of the ocean; to be one with the sea”.


Kuhela is a cutter rigged Downeaster 38 built in 1979. Designed by Henry Morschladt and Bob Poole and built in Santa Ana, California. According to United States Coast Guard records, the company was founded on August 5, 1974, and went out of business on July 12, 1983. The company was founded by Bob Poole, who had previously worked for Columbia Yachts. They began production in 1974 and, after the death of the founder on April 29, 1978, his molds were sold to Newport Offshore Yachts.

The heart of a sailboat company is the design of its boats. Down East Yachts started with a single boat, the Downeaster 38 which was designed by Henry Morschladt, a California Naval Architect who specialized in cruising sailboats. The design was traditional, with a wineglass stern, full keel, and bowsprit. As additional boats were added to the line, they were modifications of this original design.

Kuhela has a rich and long history of travel and has had 60,000 Nautical miles pass beneath her hull. Her previous owners, Phil and Mary Stephenson and their family have spent twenty five years cruising the globe with her and have had some amazing adventures aboard. You can have a look at where she has been before at www.stephensonphil.com and read some of their stories of travels around the globe.

The fact that she has this great tradition and has certainly proven herself on the ocean as well as Phil’s meticulous care and maintenance make me more sure each day that I have found the right boat. Below is a map of where she has been before and I look forward to continuing on the journey.

For  those who read earlier versions of this post I had originally said that i would name the yacht after my grandmother, Violet, but on finding Kuhela, and with her name meaning so much as to what I feel like I am trying to do with my life i have asked my grandmother’s permission to keep the name. I will have a special plaque made up with “Violet” so she can have a special place on board and will always be part of the journey with me.