HŌKŪLE‘A RETURNS TO THE WATER: Preparing for Worldwide Voyage departure

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(Mokauea, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i).  The Polynesian canoe Hōkūle‘a will return to the water this Saturday, February 23, at the Marine Education and Training Center at Sand Island, beginning final sea trials for the upcoming Worldwide Voyage.

Hōkūle‘a  was taken out of the water on September 5, 2012 for some cleaning and tightening.  One of the first tasks was to clean and prepare the hulls for a final painting.  Her solar panels have been repositioned, deck boxes have been refined, rigging has be re-lashed, below deck shelving and bunk boards have been rebuilt, and she’s been repainted.  More than 3,000 feet of rope, safety netting and more than 20 gallons of paint have gone into this tune-up. In addition, more than 2,200 volunteer hours, professional services and labor, have been put in at dry dock since September.


“We spent these past few months taking care of a few fine adjustments,” explained Captain Bruce Blankenfeld.  Hōkūle‘a, originally launched in 1975, was completely overhauled recently, splashing back into the water on March 8, 2012.  “During that time Hōkūle‘a was taken apart completely, cleaned and rebuilt piece by piece, making her stronger, lighter and faster—ready to sail for another 37 years.”

Hōkūle‘a will join with the Society’s new canoe, Hikianalia, in the water for the first time.  Together they will undergo sea trials—testing the vessels and training crewmembers—in preparation for the monumental Worldwide Voyage (WWV), which is being planned to depart in June 2013.

“We are looking forward to sailing together, Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia – sister stars, sister canoes,” says PVS president Nainoa Thompson.

Planning to depart in early June of this year, WWV will spend the first year in the Pacific.  Over three years, WWV will visit more than 60 ports in more than 20 countries.

Thompson looks to the future, “We are ready to embark on a voyage that will share ancestral wisdom, messages of peace, and hope for our children.  The canoe is like planet Earth.  As we care for the wa‘a and each other, we will carry those values that inspire us all to care for planet Earth and all her resources.”

The community is welcome to support the re-launch of Hōkūle‘a this weekend at the Marine Education & Training Center, Sand Island Parkway:

  • Friday, February 22, evening
    • Hōkūle‘a  will be prepped and loaded onto dollies
  • Saturday, February 23, 5:00 AM
    • Gathering and blessings
    • Hōkūle‘a splashdown

“Hōkūle‘a has always been Hawai‘is canoe,” asserts Blankenfeld.  “She belongs to Hawai‘i.  We encourage everyone to come out and see her.”


The Polynesian Voyaging Society was founded in 1975 on a legacy of Pacific Ocean exploration, seeking to perpetuate the art and science of traditional Polynesian voyaging and the spirit of exploration through experiential educational programs that inspire students and their communities to respect and care for themselves, one other, and their natural and cultural environments.






  1. Beautiful boat! I'm sure it's a great experience to go sailing on something like that. Maybe one day I'll get to find out.

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