Race Archives

2009 Honolulu

Watkins Morford and Their Transpac Wedding

Honolulu, HI (July 17, 2009) – After the photos were taken on the bow of Medicine Man, Minister Al Bento handed his cell phone to Jared Morford. The caller on the other in end of the line was his good friend, Mike Elias. Morford held his ear to the receiver and hesitated as he replied, “Well, I’m married now. How are you?”

At the crew dinner that followed Medicine Man’s Hawaiian landfall during the 45th running of the Transpacific Yacht Race, Sharon Watkins asked her sister, Laura, to announce to the crew, their spouses and guests that they were invited to Watkins’ and Morford’s wedding on the bow of Medicine Man on Friday afternoon at 1:00. 

“My jaw dropped,” said Laura, who was more than happy to be the maid of honor for her sister.

The Medicine Man crew was ecstatic. They had ribbed Jared throughout the Transpac Race. “Oh yeah,” said Morford. “We had gotten engaged in Hawaii during the last Transpac, in 2007, and they wouldn’t stop asking me when I was finally going to get married. They couldn’t stop talking about it during this race.”

Naturally, once Medicine Man landed at Hawaii Yacht Club, Morford and Watkins spoke about the eventual nuptials and decided that because all of Laura’s three daughters were also in Hawaii, it was the perfect time to have a simple ceremony with family and friends already assembled.

“We got here so quickly that we needed something else to do,” joked Morford. 

Laura’s husband, Keith was the best man. It was only natural since Morford was the best man at Laura and Keith’s wedding. Jared and Keith had sailed three Transpacs together on Medicine Man. Most of the men wearing the sky blue and pastel Hawaiian shirts and drinking Mai Tais after the ceremony had sailed multiple Transpacs on Medicine Man and the group of spouses and friends were very familiar with one another.

Al Bento, four-time staff commodore of Hawaii Yacht Club and a host of five Aloha welcome parties this year, starting with Medicine Man’s, was the minister. The friend that Bento had called after he had administered the vows, was Mike Elias, a long time Medicine Man crew member who had to stay home at the last minute. Elias is Bento's fishing buddy and has introduced the Medicine Man crew to Bento over the past 25 years.

As Sharon waited for Jared to sign the wedding license for the Transpac 09 wedding, she said, “This was a great way to finish off a perfect week.”

Sharon Watkins Morford, Minister Al Bento and Jared Morford after the wedding vows. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick

Sharon Watkins Morford signs the marriage certificate as her husband and minister watch. Photo by Lynn Fitzpatrick