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‘Sailing a canoe is for everybody’

ANDREA Carr, who was recruited by 500 Sails to learn traditional navigation, is encouraging everyone to keep the skills alive.

Sailing a canoe, she said, is for everybody. “Sailing is not just for the physically strong. It is about our history so we should take pride in it. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman as long as you love the ocean and are not afraid of it.”

A former police officer, Carr loves to swim, dive, sail and wind surf, but she had never before been out on the ocean for a long period of time.

“Emma [Perez] invited me, so I joined 500 Sails. From then on, it was kind of a ball rolling.”

Carr, Devin Noisom and John M. Sablan flew to New Zealand on July 31 to help build the Okeanos Marianas canoe and take sailing lessons.

“Two days after our arrival, we were brought to a boat yard in Auckland, New Zealand,” she said. “We worked on the canoe’s lashings, fixing the net, sanding and varnishing the woodwork.”

She added, “The idea was to create a strong connection with the canoe and learn how it was put together. You take ownership of it. It becomes part of you and you have pride in it and take pride in building it. It was very helpful because afterward you know if it doesn’t look right because you helped built it.”

For their sailing lessons, they used the Okeanos Aotearoa. “The captain was Gram Candle. We trained under him for about two weeks,” she said.

“In the beginning, the paddle was so heavy. That part was hard for me. I found out you were dealing with weight and you were trying to compensate for the weight. Sometimes, you were overcompensating. Gradually, you learned what you were supposed to be feeling, through the paddle, the ocean; you were supposed to feel the wind, the boat, and everything else. Eventually you are able to handle paddling without much effort. It doesn’t need a lot of strength; you just need to know how to deal with it.”

The Okeanos Marianas arrived on Saipan Oct. 30 with navigators Peia Petai, Steven Tawake, Maurai Villa, India Tabellini, John Sablan, Devin Noisom, Andrea Carr and Deidre Golani.

The vessel is a 50-foot double hull Polynesian canoe. It is based on a traditional design but built with modern materials, according to Emma Perez, general manager for Okeanos Sustainable Sea Transport Ltd. or OSST, a Saipan corporation.

Perez said the Okeanos Marianas will serve the CNMI community by providing affordable transportation for passengers and cargo between Saipan and the Northern Islands, Tinian and Rota.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/100358-sailing-a-canoe-is-for-everybody

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