To name her after Chamorro chief
The 500 Sails organization will launch the newest addition to its canoe family during the Lunar New Year celebration.
500 Sails acquired the Roberta L vessel around October 2017 and has since been refurbishing it. The organization is almost completely done and plans to officially sail the vessel during the Lunar New Year Festival on Feb. 16 and give the vessel its Chamorro name.
According to 500 Sails board president Pete Perez, the canoe will be given the name Ladahao during the festival and will be taking passengers all throughout the night, free of charge.
The name Ladahao was suggested to Perez by Indigenous Affairs Office resident executive Crispin Ogo to commemorate a prominent ancient Chamorro chief.
“In historic record, he is a prominent Saipan chief…It’s good to honor a chief of Saipan because this is going to be Saipan’s canoe. Everyone knows the chiefs of Guam and they know about Chief Taga but not too many people know any Saipan chief names,” he said.
Perez said the canoe was built based off of the same Chamorro canoe drawing that was used to build Neni a few years earlier, so the vessel deserves a Chamorro name.
“Now that it is here, we want all our canoes to be named after people who have passed. We don’t know who Roberta L…but we want to honor our ancestors by naming all the 500 Sails canoes after someone who has passed… everyone of them after Neni,” he said.
The canoe will be placed in the ocean a day or two before the festival so that it can be sailed into the Lunar New Year festival where she will have an official unveiling and name blessing ceremony.
The Roberta L is a 40-foot, 57-year-old Chamorro-inspired canoe that was built in the ’60s by a couple of steel workers.
The first canoe of 500 Sails was called Neni, followed by the Richard Seman.