SAKMAN CHAMORRO FACT SHEET
THE SAKMAN: The Chamorros owned and built the sakmans, also known as the “flying proa”. It was their largest sailing canoe. It was deeply admired for its speed and agility. Its special asymmetric design attributed to its performance. It is a remarkable pure-blooded Chamorro invention for which they were proud of.
TYPES OF CHAMORRO CANOES:
—The SAKMAN: the largest sailing single outrigger type canoe. 40 ft long with sail; 30 in wide; and stood 6 ft tall. The outrigger was 20 ft long.
— The GALAIDE: the smallest fishing dugout canoe measuring 10-12 ft long. Used primarily for in-reef fishing. No sail. Single outrigger. Used the paddle (poksai) and maneuvering pole (tulus).
DISCOVERY: When Magellan discovered the Marianas, he named the islands, “Islas de las Velas “ for the many sailing canoes that greeted him. He was fascinated by their agility and speed.
DESTRUCTION & END: Since the Spanish colonization, Chamorros were forbidden to build sailing canoes. All available canoes were destroyed. Chamorro canoe building era ended.
LAST SAKMAN: In 1742, British Commander George Anson captured the last available sakman off the Island of Tinian from which he produced a technical drawing complete with dimensional details. This is the only known technical description of the “flying proa” which we have today.
RESURRECTION OF CANOE BUILDING: Guam and Saipan are re-learning and re-tooling with the commitment of re-building the SAKMAN – our Chamorro Flying Proa. TASI - (Traditions About Seafaring Islands) and Sakman Chamorro, Inc., Saipan are collaborating with CHE’LU, Inc. to build and sail the “flying proa”.
Chamorro Fact Sheet by Mario Borja. Log blessing ceremony was held Aug. 15, 2009. Kudos to Mario & crew who painstakingly handcrafted the Sakman with pride and passion...and dankulu na Si Yu'us Ma'ase to everyone for your support.