500 Sails executive director Pete Perez will share 500 Sail’s vision and plan to get traditional sailing proas back into regular use in the CNMI at a fundraising luncheon hosted by Soroptimist International of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The luncheon will be held in Giovani’s at the Hyatt Regency Saipan from 11:30am to 1:30pm on July 21. Tickets are $25 each and available from Soroptimist members or from Natural Nail Spa on Micro Beach Road in Garapan, and Paradise Dental Center, Middle Road, Gualo Rai.
500 Sails was established in 2014 to further the revival of traditional maritime practices in the Marianas by making large, ocean-going Chamorro and Carolinian proas accessible and affordable to the average person. It will do this by establishing a Guma Sakman (canoe house) where building and sailing proas will be taught and supported. Participants will be assisted by a skilled team to build their own proas. Additional programs, such as swimming, boating safety and navigation will support participants so that they can safely enjoy sailing and all the benefits that come with it. According to Perez, “Those benefits include access to open ocean fish, healthy and culturally relevant recreation and transportation.”
The proas will be in the 25- to 40-foot range, “following the proven Chamorro and Carolinian designs that were developed and perfected over thousands of years.”
500 Sails follows on the “Sakman Project” that began in Saipan a decade ago with research, planning, and fundraising by the Sakman Chamorro organization. These assets were passed on to the San Diego based Chelu organization that completed the project. The result is the 47-foot proa “Chelu” that was a featured exhibit in the 2016 Festival of Pacific Arts on Guam.
The public is invited to attend the fundraiser where full details about the 500 Sails project will be presented.
500 Sails is a CNMI non-profit corporation and federally recognized 501(c)(3) organization.