The Samoa Voyaging Socety (SVS) works to promote positive Samoan cultural values, respect for the ocean and nature, individual and social responsibility, discipline and integrity.
The SVS considers that the reintroduction of traditional sailing in Samoa will provide opportunities for youth development (sports, leadership), environmental awareness, cultural development and, potentially, tourism opportunities such as whale watching and adventure tours.
SVS is developing hands-on educational and training programmes in traditional sailing and navigation. The programmes will target young Samoan youth including school children, school leavers and other interested groups. The task of learning traditional sailing and navigation skills also develops leadership and discipline among the youth, leading to well-rounded young people capable of contributing positively to the growth of this nation.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Blog entry: Thursday 16th Feb 2012.
With her crew it’s always a case of seeing who blinks first. If we make a first little slip with the gennaker (we switched during the night) we’ll be all over them like a rash. Same for us though, with the rest of the fleet that is within sight just behind us.
Since switching to the Bermuda rig (as opposed to the traditional rig) at Cabo for this long reach of 1700 miles to Cocos, we seem to have evened the playing field: evened the sailing abilities of each watch on our va’a, as well as, between all the 6 sisters travelling as one.
Now the game is seeing who can hold a truer course and run with it for the longest time by sailing as close to the limit of the gennaker as possible. Sometimes though we've only got a 20 degree of arc to work with before she starts luffing and if we don’t bring her right real fast we might just find ourselves dead in the water as she collapses. Or worse, if the va’a gybes, making it an interesting time, until we swing the canoe around and get the sail to take a deep breath, hold it and pick up our speed again.
That’s easy enough during the day, but come night and dancing with wind becomes that little bit trickier. As now we’re trying out your celestial navigational skills as well: sliding stars around the va’a trying to hold as steady a course as possible.
Sure, we got a compass and GPS to keep us in line in case we drift too far of our ideal heading. But channeling the spirit of the ancestors on their epic voyages of old is way more fun.
The way I figure it is, sometimes you've got to listen to the canoe. She’ll tell you what she wants to do. She always wants to lead the dance with the wind. Sometimes you let her, then you coax her ever so gently back. It beats fighting, trying to dominate her and force your will on her all the time.
Sacrifice your heading just a bit for a short time to head up wind and pick up some speed then see if you can pinch it back downwind a little at a time before you over cook it and then do it all over again.
From my understanding, navigating traditionally was more like wayfinding in a general direction than trying to hold true to a strict course. Understanding a concept though doesn’t mean you can necessarily expect to be put in practice…the gods must still be in your favour.