A month from today Hanneke and I will begin our flights out to Andy Smith Boatworks’ yard in the Philippines. A month later, on November 1st we will begin our Lapita Voyage, 3800Nm, south through the Moluccas, along the North coast of New Guinea, passing through the Solomon Islands and on to Tikopia and Anuta, where we will present the two boats to the islanders so they can restart their seafaring tradition.
The Lapita Voyage project has grown from a simple ‘donating two ships to the islanders’ to a major archaeological expedition. This voyage is providing a vehicle for various archaeologists/scientists with interests in the Polynesian migrations and Lapita culture to carry out studies impossible to do from a land based expedition. Five scientists will be sailing on different legs of the voyage. Others, who cannot leave their posts at their universities or archaeological digs, are participating from a distance. The expedition will be filmed for television.
Last week I realised a further dimension. Through an email from a teacher in Honiara, we discovered there are several colonies of Tikopians in the Solomon islands, in fact as many or more Tikopians live outside Tikopia as on the island (which can only support approx. 1200 inhabitants). There are a large number Tikopians in Honiara, who are keen to welcome the ships. These ships are a symbol of their island identity. We will try to visit the other Tikopian colonies along the route of the voyage. The two Tama Moanas will be the connection between all these scattered, but related people (called ‘wontoks’ in their culture).
As I get older I am beginning to realise what man my father was and his influence on me. Like many sons, in my youth I did not value his abilities and qualities, but as I look at myself now, I realise that unconsciously I absorbed many of his principles. One of his principles was ‘rely on yourself’, which is why I never sought sponsorship for my projects. Only now, with the Lapita Voyage project, I feel this advice does not apply to all situations.
This project would not be happening without the sponsorship that Klaus Hympendahl managed to obtain. He has been responsible for raising money and acquiring gifts of equipment, by going out and asking the German public and businesses for help. He set up a charitable association ‘Help Tikopia und Anuta e.V.” into which payments were made by people that in return get a chance to sail on the boats. This system has brought in all the money needed to build the two boats.
So, we are nearly there. The boats are paid for and will soon be finished, now there remains a need of some more funds for the voyage itself, all those little things that make a voyage successful. Klaus still has to buy the iridium telephone through which we can regularly update the website, so everyone can follow the voyage as it is taking place. Maybe someone has one to donate?
I feel it is not too late to appeal to the Wharram World and other multihull enthusiasts for sponsorship/donations, big ones are welcome, small ones in large numbers will also be of great help. We modern multihull sailors do owe something to the descendants of the Stone Age originators of our craft.
Donations should be made by bank transfer to:
Help Tikopia und Anuta e.V.
Dresdner Bank AG
IBAN: DE67 3008 0000 0363 6100 00
BIC: DRES DE FF 300
Euro cheques, made out to ‘Help Tikopia und Anuta e.V.’ should be sent to Klaus Hympendahl, Wildenbruch Stasse 75, 40545 Düsseldorf, Germany. Do not send cheques in other currencies, as these incur large bank charges.
Help Tikopia und Anuta e.V. is a charitable association and donations are therefore tax deductible. Please contact Klaus if you would like an official receipt.
- James Wharram