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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.