The design of Makahiki was evolved in the Santa Cruz Islands, an isolated
group of small islands in the far Western Pacific. Thousands of these
boats were built and sailed for fishing and interisland trading, from well
before the earliest historical records until the 1960's. Trips of
several hundred miles of open ocean were frequently made, and skills of
navigation were highly developed.
The ancient design has been reproduced in modern materials with a minimum
of changes, and this boat is a functional equivalent of the ancient design.
We are now at the stage of fitting the boat out and refining the details
of rigging and equipment. The culmination of the project will be in
learning to sail Makahiki to her full potential, training crew members,
and using and displaying her to further PICA's goals.
Makahiki will be a source of pride to people who trace their ancestry
to the islands of her origin, and her beauty and sailing performance will
open the eyes of others to the remarkable achievements of a culture which
may have been dismissed as primitive. PICA will use this boat as a
trainer and a floating classroom, where many people can be exposed to Polynesian
arts, cultural values and traditions, as well as salt spray and exciting
sailing. We will learn important lessons of seamanship, teamwork, and history
as we rediscover and preserve the skills we need to bring this ship of our
ancestors to life.