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October 1 - “We, the Voyagers: Our Moana" w/ Minutes

posted Sep 5, 2019, 6:07 PM by Mark Olsoe   [ updated Oct 14, 2019, 7:43 PM ]

This is part 2 of a presentation on Polynesian sailing by Mimi George, Captain Luke Vaikawi, and Meph Wyeth from vaka.org.  It emphasizes setting the sails,finding our way in the open ocean by interacting with patterns of winds, waves, stars, and other signs that our ancestors show us when we meet with adversity. We arrive at islands and learn what happened to family members since the last voyage some generations earlier. We reconcile, reaffirm our love for each other, and look to our future together. There will be a Q and A session after the film.

Captain Luke Vaikawi, born and raised on Taumako, Duffs Group, SE Solomon Islands, is Executive Director of the Vaka Valo Group (VVA). VVA runs the Lata Voyaging School programs, training youth to build their proa voyaging canoes and navigate using only ancient designs, materials, and methods. Luke just retired from 25 years leading patrol boats and international safety programs for the Solomon Islands Maritime Police.

Mimi George has worked in support of communities who perpetuate the ancient voyaging practices, and who have requested help with documentation of the ancient knowledge and practices. Her sailing projects include a winter-over in the Antarctic, co-originating the Vaka Taumako Project of Pacific Traditions Society ( www.vaka.org and vakataumako on Facebook), and 26 years working to carry out the voyaging education plan of Te Aiki Kaveia of Taumako and his descendants..

H. Meph Wyeth, raised in a sailing family, is a Director of a Hawaiian cultural institute and of Pacific Traditions Society. Meph correlates themes and performances of European and Polynesian stories.

Northwest Multihull Association, potluck starts at 6:30 pm, club meeting and presentation 7:30 at Puget Sound Yacht Club on Lake Union, 2321 N. Northlake Way, Seattle. Non-Members are always welcome. For more information: www.nwmultihull.org (206)795-2111

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Our gathering started with a potluck dinner as always and we had plenty of tasty food for all while we chatted with friends old and new.  There are always a few new faces and its fun to get to know them and their sailing aspirations.  It seems like there were about 25 of us attending.

 

Commodore Jeff rang the bell at 7 to signal a short meeting.  He mentioned that we will be electing new officers next month and called for candidates for the Commodore and Vice Commodore.  Other officers have agreed to re-up.  Also this is renewal time for the membership and he asked everyone to sign up on the website.  It took me just a few minutes to do that, it used Paypal.   If this luddite can do it, you can too!  Financial benefits of the club were mentioned; discount at Fisheries Supply, our tool 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, Amelia Yacht Charters 15% discount on day/sunset charters of their nearly new 38’ Seawind catamaran.   Plus the extensive knowledge that our members are willing to share about building, repair, sailing and racing multihulls.  We may even lend a hand now and then.

 

Treasurer Mark reported the bank balance at $7840 which is in the same range as years past.

 

After the meeting we went around the room to introduce ourselves and what we were up to.  We are happy to welcome our visitors and hear of their interests.  A few tidbits I recall:  Joel & Patty S will be moving the 3 hulls of their Marples 35’ tri to Napa California next month for final assembly and finishing.   They would like to sell their trailerable Windrider trimaran, anyone interested?    Sean H is looking for the right F31 trimaran.  New members Andrew and Connie just got a Seawind 24 cat and will moor it at Des Moines.  Long time members Dana and Lindsey would like to sell their 45’ Horstman Trimaran.  Brothers Ty and Chance bought a Sea Wings 24 trimaran and will be refurbishing it this winter.  They are our speakers next month.   Lots more but that's all I could get down in my notes.

 

Our speakers were introduced;  Dr. Mimi George and Captain Luke Vaikawi.  They are deeply involved with the vaka.org project.  This is an effort to capture knowledge of traditional Polynesian navigation and sailing craft and culture.  In this case, proas from the Solomon Islands.   Mimi is based in Hawaii and Luke is from Taumako, a small island in the Solomons with about 500 inhabitants.  It has no harbor so cruisers are rare and it gets only a few supply ships a year.  Last April ( http://www.nwmultihull.org/announcements/april2-stillsailingfastandfarinancientpolynesianproas) Mimi had presented to us about her organization and about building a traditional proa, with a peek at a video that was still being edited.  This evening the video was done and she and Luke told us about the proa’s first voyage to an outer island using traditional navigation.  Mimi had sailed there in 1993, befriended the inhabitants and became interested in the culture.  She met Te Aliki Kruso Kaveiawho who was the last elder alive who had actually helped build, sail and navigate in the traditional way.  He asked for help in getting the next generation interested in preserving this culture and knowledge.  He passed away in 2009 at the age of 98.  You could see how enthused and knowledgeable Luke was to carry on and participate in the traditions and help the project along.  Their program started with the completed ~55 minute video, showing enactments of legends of the island’s voyaging traditions (Lata), then the search for clues from living elders as to how to actually obtain, prepare and fashion raw materials and for constructing the craft, then videos of the actual build.  It continued with crew selection and their specific chores for sailing, navigating, shunting, etc.  It ended with footage of the the first overnight voyage to an outer island in a traditional proa in many decades.   Most interesting to me was a very good explanation of the traditional navigation techniques using stars, waves, clouds, weather and current patterns and bird and sea life observations.  There were excellent graphic representations of this, including how wave trains from various seasonal wind directions interacted, could be read and, importantly, how they bounced off islands to show the way to the various islands in the widespread Solomon archipelago.  There was video of an elder drawing a complicated compass rose in the sand of all of this as well as a modern diagram with notes and explanations depicting this rose.  It was not possible for me to take it all in so quickly but it was fascinating.  This alone was worth the viewing. The film also had bits of some of the technical aspects of the sails and hulls and how, by centuries of experience, there came to be many advanced technical aspects of the vessel.  It was just really cool seeing it all, as well as how they actually sailed the proa.  After the video Mimi gave more details and insights about the project.  Then there was a Q&A session that lasted as long as you wanted, with several of us hanging around for over an hour.  Luke stole the show with his first hand account of the whole process and about life on the island.  Mimi, Luke and their associate Meph Wyeth, who was also present, are touring N. America giving this presentation and hopefully collecting a few donations to help the effort.  I didn’t see a calendar on the webpage above but if you email Mimi there I’m sure she will respond.  We thanked them, gave an applause and wished them well.

 

Next month, Nov 5, brothers Ty and Chance Campbell tell about their new Seawing 24 trimaran.  Here’s the announcement:

  

Restoration project: SeaWing 24’ 10” trimaran, fixer-upper. Need to build interior, fix soft spots on hull, reset deck hardware, chip/sand and repaint vaka. Purchased summer 2019.

 

They’ll show photos of current condition of boat, will discuss repair plans, and would like YOUR ADVICE!   Plan on a lively Q and A discussion!

 

Chance graduated UW ME '19, and then sailed from Ketchikan to Seattle to help return Team Narwhal’s R2AK trimaran home. Ty is a commercial diver out of Bellingham. Both brothers grew up doing extensive motor boating and sailing in the PNW.

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Eric Lindahl

206 525-8472

9562 Lakeshore Bvd. NE

Seattle, Washington 98115


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