Guam – The San Diego, California-based Sakman Chamorro Project has a mission and in August, the determined group reached a milestone.
Their purpose was to rebuild the Sakman Chamorro, a 47-foot single outrigger sailing canoe based on the 1742 drawings by Sir George Anson.
On August 26, 2011, the Sakman Chamorro Che’lu (which means “brother or sister”) sailed for the first time, proving seaworthy as she traveled through the San Diego Bay.
Construction of the boat began in July 2009 with funding from friends, family, and donors, including San Diego-based Che’lu, Inc. It is planned to have an 8-12 member crew sail back to the Mariana Islands from where the Sakman tradition originated, with the Che’lu serving as a Chamorro ambassador for the islands.
[The 47-foot Sakman Chamorro Che’lu outrigger canoe docked in San Diego, California. Construction of the sailing vessel is based on drawings by Sir George Anson in 1742.]
Led by master carver Mario Reyes Borja, a dozen or so Chamorro supporters have worked to raise awareness about Chamorro history and culture — from the flying proas they once engineered and were for centuries the fastest sailing vessels in the world to reviving interest in the Chamorro language among youth. The group hopes this single vessel will help them make the journey to connect with their ancestral legacy.
“The Sakman Chamorro Project is nothing short of inspiring. What has taken place in San Diego demonstrates the true spirit of our culture, as well as the skills and determination of our craftsmen,” said Joann Camacho, GVB General Manager.