More than 40 years after she was first launched, the Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokule’a has returned to Hawaii after her most ambitious journey yet. Departing in May 2014 and returning this past Saturday to Honolulu, the twin-hulled canoe sailed around 46,000 miles, visiting 23 countries as part of a "Malama Honua" journey to promote environmental conservation and stewardship for "our island earth." Returning to a hero’s welcome and an estimated crowd of 45,000 people, the 61-ft wa’a (voyaging canoe) was joined by wa’a from all over Hawaii and the rest of the Pacific, as well as an escort of more than 1,000 vessels including many canoes, stand-up paddle boards, power boats and sailboats.
In addition to promoting environmental conservation, the Malama Honua voyage served as a means to continue training more navigators in the ancient — and almost lost — art of using the traditional wayfinding methods of navigating with no instruments or tools, in complete harmony with nature. Named for the star Arcturus — one of the brightest stars in the sky, and one that lies directly over Hawaii and thus guides Hawaiians home — Hokule’a has now become the first-ever boat of its type to circumnavigate the earth.
Upon arriving in Honolulu’s Ala Wai Harbor on Saturday morning, Hokule’a and her crew were honored through a traditional Hawaiian ceremony that had not taken place in an incredible 200 years. At Sunday morning’s 4 a.m. low tide, the masts were lowered and the wa’a loaded with nearly 80 crew so that she would ride low enough in the water to clear a low-lying bridge and enter the Ala Wai Canal, where she was docked in front of the Hawaii Convention Center. For three days, from Sunday through Tuesday, Hokule’a was the main attraction at a free-to-the-public convention promoting stewardship for the environment. See www.hokulea.com.
Malama Honua is not just the name of a sailing voyage; in Hawaii it is a way of life. Recently, after the US withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord, Hawaii’s governor David Ige — inspired by Hokule’a — made formal arrangements for the state to individually adopt the major components of the accord, in an effort to Malama Honua, or "care for our island earth."
Hot, hot, hot inland weather makes for great wind over San Francisco Bay — a sailor’s delight if you have plenty of sails to raise. Racers saw plenty of wind at the June 17 Great Schooner Regatta, beginning with an Ayala Cove area start line area in the midst of its shifting ebb and flood cycle. On leg one, crews sailed westward to Yellow Bluff, then took a cross-Bay run to Blossom Rock before wrapping with a blustery dash back to the finish line.
With timed starts for all entrants, many of the boats were within hailing distance of one another by the time they reached the southern end of Alcatraz. The crew of four aboard Freda, the first boat to start, had tucked past and were on their way to the next mark as the competition was nearing the calmer waters in the region. While Brigadoon had raised her striped green-and-amber fisherman far earlier, Seaward and Iolani took advantage of the wind reprieve behind Alcatraz to add or change sails.
In the winner’s circle for the Classic division was Water Witch with a first, Iolani in second, Legacy in third and Freda fourth. The Gaff division awarded Jakatan a first and Brigadoon a second. In Marconi, Elizabeth Muir crossed ahead of Seaward.
The 10th annual Great San Francisco Schooner Regatta was hosted by San Francisco Yacht Club. Funds from the race are directed to supporting youth educational programs in the area.
You’ll have the chance to take a gander at some of the same boats, plus many others of their ilk, at the Master Mariners Wooden Boat Show this Sunday. Read on for details!
For our money, one of the best shows in town this month is the Master Mariners Benevolent Association’s Wooden Boat show, coming to the Corinthian Yacht Club on Summer Sailstice weekend, Sunday, June 25.
For $20 at the gate, you’ll be able to tour an assortment of classic yachts, from Birds to big yawls like Bounty. We recommend wearing your best socks as you’ll probably need to take off your shoes (we also recommend not wearing stiletto heels).
Don’t forget that proceeds from the Wooden Boat Show go toward the Master Mariners Benevolent Foundation, which provides scholarships for sail training, as well as workshops in building and restoring traditional craft.
There will be model boat building for kids, as well as music courtesy of the “San Francisco Feetwarmers” jazz band. The event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Who’s heading out for a summer solstice sail? Were you out there yesterday? Maybe you’re going out today?
The summer solstice is the official start of the summer sailing season, bringing more daylight hours than any other day of the year. Typically the solstice falls on June 21, though it can vary depending on where you live. This year the solstice is, in exact terms, June 21 at 0424 UTC. But in the Bay Area, that translates to 2124 last night, or June 20, local time.
Naturally everyone knows UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time, which starts the Earth’s day at the prime meridian in Greenwich, England, home of the original GMT. UTC is a compromise between English and French speakers since Coordinated Universal Time in English would be abbreviated CUT, and the French would have abbreviated Temps Universel Coordonné as TUC. To avoid confusion, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU . . . which seems about right) wanted one abbreviation for all languages, so they settled on UTC.
Regardless of what you want to call it, sunrise in the Bay Area today was at 0548 and sunset will be at 2035 (same as yesterday). If you head down to your boat at 13:11:23, the shadow from your mast will be at its shortest length of the entire year.
To take the ‘glass is half empty’ view, the days will start growing gradually shorter — by about two minutes and eight seconds each day — until bottoming out on Thursday, December 21, the winter solstice.
Like the other 364 days of the year in the Bay Area, it’s a great day to go sailing.