On 17 June, as the last rays of the sun illuminated the scene, a doubled-hulled Polynesian voyaging canoe, the 61-foot Hokulea, passed through the reef outside Honolulu, Hawaii. Her escort vessel, the similar 72-foot Hikianalia, followed close behind. It was the beginning of what will be a 36-month, 47,000-mile circumnavigation of the world. A total of 86 ports in 26 countries will be visited. The first leg will end at Tahiti, 2,700 miles away.
Built in 1975, the Hokulea is a faithful replica of the Polynesian sailing vessels used by ancient seafarers who sailed great distances through Oceania (Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia). Her two hulls are constructed from contemporary materials, but the basic designs of hull form, sail rigs, and deck gear are hundreds of years old.
Essentially a catamaran, the Hokulea has no propulsion equipment on board. There are radios to maintain communications with the 16-person crew on board the Hikianalia. This link provides a means to transmit regular news reports to the world about the voyage’s progress.