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April 2 - Still Sailing Fast and Far in Ancient Polynesian Proas - Minutes Attached

posted Mar 10, 2019, 5:58 PM by Mark Olsoe   [ updated Apr 13, 2019, 3:52 PM ]

Mimi George from Hawaii will show video, diagrams, and slides of construction and sailing of the TePuke and TeAlo designs of outrigged voyaging canoes, and the explanations and demonstrations of the builders and sailors of these vessels.  These designs are the ancient heritage of the Polynesian community of Taumako, in the SE Solomon Islands. They are the only Pacific islanders still building, sailing, and navigating using only ancient designs, materials, methods, and tools.  But the vessels do not require money or high tech equipment to build or maintain, and they out-perform modern vessels in many ways.  Mimi will show the jobs of crew members and the method of shunting (end to end tacking) will be demonstrated. Mimi will point out hydrodynamic and aerodynamic advantages in the performance of the hull, the outrigger, and the sail, and discuss whether this design can be built using modern materials.  Plan on a lively Q and A discussion!

Marianne “Mimi" George is one of the worlds leading researchers of this ancient polynesian proa technology. Her paper on this topic is listed in our Items of Interest column.

Meeting Minutes & Notes


Wow I don’t think I’ve seen so many people at one of our meetings in my short 5 year membership, or at least in a long time.  Must have been over 40 folks.   Thanks for coming.  We had a great potluck with all who came.  Lots of catching up to do with friends and new faces which was much enjoyed.  We usually have close to an hour for this if you come at 630, or a bit before, and we used every bit of that to chat and eat.


Commodore Jeff couldn’t make it so Vice Commodore Diane ran the short meeting.  To get our attention Bill Q’s ~10 year old son started it off with an energetic ringing of the ships bell.   Diane mentioned the club is a sponsor of the Sloop Tavern Blakely Rock race, one of the largest races in the region.  We have our burgee proudly stenciled on all the tee shirts sold for the event.  She reminded us that our participation greatly increased the donation to the chosen beneficiary charity for the event; the local MySail youth multihull sailing organization,  She encourage us to sign up and race this mostly well regarded event.  For the benefit of the new faces she explained the perks of membership; discount at Fisheries Supply, Tools and equipment loaning library (boat scale, huge storage rack/boat tent frame, boat stands, etc.), discount at Ballard Sails, free sail measuring for new PHRF racers, free boat show tickets, and new to me was that Amelia Yacht Charters will give us a 15% discount on day/sunset charters of their nearly new 38’ Seawind catamaran.  See website at  I believe the boat was bought new just a year or so ago thru member Rob Wright’s brokerage, he’s the local Seawind and Corsair multihull dealer.  Treasurer Mark noted that we have $8080 in the club account which should carry us through the sailing season’s activities.

It was mentioned that the May Rally first weekend in May is conflicting with the Race to the Straights.  This decision was made to avoid a conflict with the 2nd weekend which is Mothers Day and has been the date the last few years.  Hopefully more can get off the hook and spend the entire weekend with us on this date.   Another discussion was to have the June meeting on the same weekend as the R2AK festivities in Port Townsend.  This has been on the back burner for a while.  The thought was it would be nice for those on the peninsula to not have to take the ferry for once, and the R2AK will be a very strong draw as well.  A straw poll showed:


June 1 in Port Townsend got several hands


June 4 in Seattle got a few hands


June 11 in Seattle got 0 hands


So its looking like we will have the meeting in PT, probably in the evening of June 1.  Confirmation and details to be posted on the website ASAP.


Our tradition is to go around the room and tell a bit about our sailing life.  Since there were so many people VC Diane instead told a bit of the club’s 50 year history and then had just the first timers introduce themselves.  Some of the new folks that came for the program that I recall were Ken all the way from Portland. Will & Susanne with a boat I believe named Selche, Trooper Tom a friend of Commodore Jeff, visiting from Kansas, Martin P,  and Matt J and Scott V who both did the R2AK if I got my facts right.  There were others but I didn’t manage to get all of their names.  There were several people new to multihulls and some were interested in crewing.  You can contact the Secretary, Eric Lindahl 206 525-8472 if you are looking for crew.  The secretary has archived the emails received at the meeting on a companion copy of these minutes, for “internal use only”.  We also had a rare visit from Joe and Sue fresh off their Panama Canal transit to west coast Mexico on their 48 Chris White Catamaran.


The program that drew so many people was the fascinating Vaka Taumako Project.  It was presented by Mimi George.  Basically this is an effort to retain the ancient proa building and open ocean navigation skills of a remote Island in the Solomons.  Mimi George and David Lewis sailed to the remote Taumako in 1993.  The inhabitants may be the only South Pacific Islanders who still use and retain the ancient watercraft and navigation techniques in an unbroken continuum.  The aging chief asked them to help him engage and pass on this knowledge to the next generation before it is lost.  Mimi’s presentation and the resulting Q&A was fascinating in many ways but for me it was the similarities to modern aero and hydro dynamics.  For instance the purposely made rough scallop marks left by the adz fashioned ~30’ dug out main hull acts much the same as the dimples in a golf ball.  It was interesting to get Paul Bieker’s take on that aspect as he is a well known naval architect working with and designing high performance multihulls including Americas Cup 33, 34, & 35 and the 53’ Fujin.  There were also interesting aspects of the woven pandanus strip sail that cause efficiencies from its vertical and horizontal vortexes.  Mimi had a good video that explained some of this but it’s not finished and I wished we had a sail maker in the audience or Tom S there to help explain some of the technical stuff.  We saw other clips of the video but it is still being edited so its not all put together yet.  However, the pics of the material gathering, build process and sailing of the first traditional proa to be lashed together since 1980 was very interesting with archival pictures of the boats from the early 1900’s to the recent first open ocean voyage to another island by the Vaka that was built in 1996.  Ok, enough gushing.  If you missed the meeting I highly recommend trying to get to see Mimi’s presentation at the PT Wooden Boat Festival sometime during the Sept 6-8 weekend.  The video should be finished by then.  You will not be disappointed.  Here is good reading and pictures on the website:   You can also 501.c3 donate to this good cause there.


Next month, May 7, we will hear about Wright Yachts R2AK effort last year on a brand new Corsair 970 trimaran.  They are working hard to put together a great slide show.

Secretary Eric