Pohnpei Sailing Club

About five to six months ago Dr. Kiyoshi Umezu of South Park Hotel here on Pohnpei teamed up with Chief Andrew Lucky and Penta-Ocean Construction to reach out to the Kapingan and Nukuoran children of Porakied (Pohn Rakied) and bring them the opportunity to learn to sail.

Two young women from Porakied rig a Topper sailboat unassisted
Two young women from Porakied, CS and JM, rig a Topper sailboat unassisted

Kapingans and Nukuorans are ethnically and linguistically Polynesian. Their home islands are atolls to the south of Pohnpei. The children of Porakied are children of a seafaring people who were brought to Pohnpei in the wake of a typhoon over a hundred years ago. The children have no real opportunity to learn to sail, Dr. Umezu had the vision and desire to bring these children that opportunity.

CS drops the centerboard keel into place after leaving the dock
CS drops the centerboard keel into place after leaving the dock

Dr. Umezu purchased and imported five Topper sailboats, Penta-Ocean built the storage racks, and Chief Lucky provided the place for the boats to be stored and classes to be held.

CS heads her Topper out into the lagoon
CS heads her Topper out into the lagoon where she will teach JPE how to sail

Japan International Cooperation Agency volunteer Dr. Kazuo Ishikawa was brought on board to teach the classes with the assistance of John Schroer of MAHI International.

Third class student FD teaches first class student MLL
Third class student FD teaches first class student MLL

At present some of the students have advanced sufficiently to teach new students the basics of sailing in the lagoon. The students are include both young men and women.

Toppers on the lagoon, all under the command of young Micronesians
Toppers on the lagoon, all under the command of young Micronesians

Dr. Umezu and Dr. Ishikawa would like to see this project continue on and they envisioned the forming of the Pohnpei Sailing Club as an entity which could carry the project forward.

Sokehs lagoon
Sokehs lagoon

The nascent sailing organization held its first meeting at South Park Hotel on Saturday 14 April 2012 at 5:00 in the evening. Dr. Ishikawa spoke of the desire to see the project continue on and grow into sailing federation that reached out to youth. The project would need to be housed within a supporting organization that would continue on beyond the work of individual members. He also spoke of the dream that one day young Micronesians might compete in sailing events, maybe even the Olympics in some distant future year.

Topper sailboats on the water
Topper sailboats on the water

Although the harbor in which the young sailors are learning to sail has a few larger sailboats  at anchor, for the most part these boats belong to foreign visitors to the island of Pohnpei. The importing of the small Topper sailboats is the first effort in recent times to bring into Pohnpei a class of craft on which youngsters can easily learn to sail.

CS setting up her rigging
CS setting up her rigging

The sailing lessons for the children are free and the plan is for them to remain free. These young sailors do not have the financial capabilities to afford sailing.

CS bringing the boat back in
CS bringing the boat back in

The first meeting of the Pohnpei Sailing Club began to lay the foundation for an organization with a worthy mission of reconnecting young Micronesians with the sea through sailing.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s