Repairs will further delay Hokule‘a
Workers replaced a cracked steering piece yesterday on one of two canoes
Repair work continued yesterday on a crack in a steering piece that brought both the Hokule'a and the Alingano Maisu back to Kealakekau Bay on the Big Island.
Voyage leaders declined to say which canoe the cracked steering sweep came from, saying both canoes are part of the voyage.
"We're two canoes but we're one voyage. We're two crews but we're one family," said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. "If one canoe is damaged, then in many ways we have to fix it for both canoes."
Woodworkers spent the day yesterday replacing the cracked section of the handle of the steering sweep, a large paddle used for steering the canoe, with a new piece and were expected to finish last night. A half-day would be needed for curing, and then the sweep would be lashed onto the canoe for a test.
"We hope to be under way, if everything goes well, within the next two days," Thompson said.
The crews are sailing to Micronesia to deliver the Alingano Maisu to the man who taught modern Hawaiians how to sail without modern tools.
After several days of delay because of foul weather, the crack has set the Hokule'a about a week behind schedule.
Thompson acknowledged that time is an issue. Crews want to deliver the Alingano Maisu to their voyaging teacher as soon as possible and are sailing during the winter months, when there are fewer typhoons. But the delay will not jeopardize the trip, Thompson said.
Instead, he is optimistic, saying the setback has strengthened the camaraderie among crew members.
"The issue in many ways has strengthened us and brought us together even more," he said. "We have to and will work together and stay together through this whole process. It's just part of the journey."
Thompson said the sweep's crack is a serious issue because the piece is used when sailing downwind.
"The voyage will be in the Central Pacific in the most solid of the tradewind belt, and sailing downwind. You have to use the sweeps. Any kind of crack becomes a serious issue and needs (to be) repaired," he said.
In the 1970s, Mau Piailug taught Hawaiians the ancient art of Polynesian sailing, which had been lost in the islands for centuries.
Big Island group Na Kalai Wa'a Moku* built the canoe to thank Piailug and will deliver it to him in the island of Satawal in the state of Yap under the leadership of Piailug's former students, Thompson and Maisu's captain Shorty Bertelmann.
The crews expect to travel about 100 miles a day in the canoes, spending about three weeks in the open sea, to make the more than 2,000-mile voyage to Majuro in the Marshall Islands, Thompson said.
The motor-sailer Kama Hele is escorting the two canoes.
The canoes will navigate using the stars, winds, angle of the moon, and setting and rising of the sun. The Hokule'a will continue to Japan after the trip.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
» The voyaging canoe Alingano Maisu was built as a gift to Micronesian navigator Mau Piailug by Big Island group Na Kalai Wa'a Moku. A story on Page A3 yesterday incorrectly said it was built by the Polynesian Voyaging Society.