500 Sails is grateful for the fingers and passionate work of our Director Emeritus, Mario “Sakman” Borja, who arrived in Saipan on the finish of April and spent virtually all of his time right here on the shipyard testing the 46-foot touring canoe, Che’ mon. . Saipan-born Sakman Mario has been dwelling in San Diego as a part of the Chamorro diaspora, however his coronary heart stays right here within the Marianas with Che’lu, the primary Sakman Chamorro to be recreated within the trendy century.
As a grasp carpenter, Sakman Mario had a few of the basic expertise that might be wanted to construct a canoe, nevertheless it was actually his eager curiosity in physics and arithmetic that fueled his ardour to know the distinctive traits of the Chamorro Sakman. Earlier than pursuing his ardour for constructing Chamorra canoes, Sakman Mario served within the US House Drive throughout the House Management squadron, the unit liable for monitoring and monitoring satellites in area so as to predict their motion. Mario can be descended from a household of fishermen and grew up having a really shut relationship with the ocean. In 1995, impressed by the story of Mau Piailug and the Hōkūle’a, he constructed a small canoe to welcome the Hōkūle’a to San Diego. At that time, he actually started to surprise why the Chamorros did not have larger canoes out on the water, and it lit a fireplace in his coronary heart. He grew as much as construct smaller canoes and with it grew his confidence to construct a full measurement sakman. Utilizing Anson’s 1742 drawing as a information, he enlisted the monetary help of 500 Sails co-founders Pete and Emma Perez and labored with a number of different builders to convey the Chamorro Sakman again to life.
Che’lu grew to become a part of the 500 Sails fleet in 2019. She arrived from Guam to Saipan to be positioned underneath the watchful eye of Grasp Navigator Cecilio Raiukiulipiy. Since then, Mario has been planning to take Che’lu out on the water for her sea trials, however his plans to return to Saipan had been postponed when the pandemic hit. Throughout his time right here, he labored to completely restore the Che’lu and put together her to sail to Pagan, some 200 miles north of Saipan. When this voyage takes place, she would be the first nice conventional vessel to board Pagan in centuries.
Since serving as a crew member on the circumnavigation of Saipan in mid-April, Mario says, “Constructing a canoe does not make you a sailor. Every canoe has its personal perspective and calls for a unique stage of consideration to its totally different options. It is vital to have a crew that understands all that.” Inside the subsequent 4 years, Sakman Mario aspires to journey in Che’lu via the neighboring islands of Micronesia, simply as our ancestors did.
Together with these large goals, Sakman Mario is happy about what the long run holds for the subsequent technology of aspiring sailors, shipbuilders, and sailors. Know-how has superior in such a manner that it opens up extra alternatives and avenues to discover when contemplating and integrating Anson’s drawing. His most up-to-date undertaking, “Mission Past Anson,” incorporates new know-how to create an isometric projection of the canoe. Know-how can provide a brand new dimension to the drawing that they could not apply once they first used the blueprint to construct Che’lu. “Folks used to suppose we had been loopy making an attempt to recreate this primarily based on an previous drawing,” he says, “however the extra questions we confronted, the extra worth we gained.” He believes that there must be extra Chamorros involved and invested in reviving the canoe tradition, as a result of “the canoe can outline us a lot better, as an vital determine in telling the historical past of the island.” Nonetheless, he’s hopeful and appears ahead to Che’lu’s future journey, all the way in which to Pagan and all through Micronesia. “I’m positive that our ancestors will likely be glad to accompany them on the journey.”
We’re very grateful to have Sakman Mario with us on this journey. His ardour, laborious work and dedication are one of many currents that lead us to new horizons of cultural revitalization of cruising. We sit up for his return to the CNMI.
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500 Sails is a 501(c)(three) and CNMI tax-exempt nonprofit group devoted to reviving, selling, and preserving the maritime cultural traditions of the Mariana Islands via neighborhood engagement in canoe cultural values and actions. The imaginative and prescient of 500 Sails is a wholesome and affluent native neighborhood that has efficiently built-in conventional cultural values into trendy life. Main supporting companions embrace the CNMI Bureau of Indian Affairs, IT&E, and Chamolinian Cultural Village Inc – Canoe Federation.
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