Hikianalia Crew Blog | Bob Perkins: Matthew Turner

By Bob Perkins

As we slipped our lines from the dock at Hyde Street Pier, and looked out over San Francisco Bay toward Alcatraz Island and further north toward Hikianalia’s next port at Sausalito, the crew was excited to experience sailing “on the Bay”. In a stiffening breeze of 18 to 20 knots, Hikianalia showed her to stern to San Francisco galloping across the water at 8-9 knots, leaving Alcatraz Island and the buildings of the infamous Federal prison located “on the rock” to starboard.

9/19/18: Hikianalia: The Alahula Kai o Maleka California Voyage: San Francisco Bay to Sausalito, CA. All Rights Reserved. Image created by Chris M. Leung 2018 for the Polynesian Voyaging Society

In what seemed like a matter of a few minutes, we found ourselves entering Richardson’s Bay in a falling wind. Under drifter, main and mizzen sails we worked our way down the channel until the towering masts of our next destination became visible. Dropping and furling the sails we motored the last quarter mile to side tie to the brigantine schooner, The Matthew Turner. Matthew Turner was a California shipbuilder who constructed several hundred lumber schooners during the mid 1800’s. His granddaughter actually christened the Matthew Turner when she was launched.

Alan Olson, our contact with the Call of the Sea, the organization responsible for the construction of the ship, had invited us to side tie to the Matthew Turner during part of our Sausalito visit. Hikianalia seemed like a fairly large waʻa until tied up to the Matthew Turner!

Alan Olson and Mark Ellis looking through Polynesian Seafaring by Edward Dodd

To give you an idea of Matthew Turner’s size, her length overall is 132 feet, with a length on deck of 100 feet. Beam is 25 feet and her main mast height of 100 feet dwarfs Hikianalia! Matthew Turner needs 10 feet of water to float, weighs 175 tons and spreads 7,200 square feet of sail. In comparison, Hikianalia is 72 feet long, weighs 15 tons and needs about 4 feet of water to float. What is absolutely mind-boggling is that most of all labor for Matthew Turner’s construction was done by volunteers. Over 110,000 hours!

The interior appointments are now being fabricated in order to accommodate 38 crew and guests. Interestingly, the Matthew Turner has electric motors as her main propulsion, much like Hikianalia, only much bigger. It is hoped that the vessel will be sailing by 2020. Discussions took place about having some of our navigators sail on the Matthew Turner, a possibility I’m sure many of us would be excited about.

“Call of the Sea” volunteers play bluegrass for the Hikianalia crew over lunch

We were invited to lunch by the workers of Matthew Turner and enjoyed some banjo and fiddle bluegrass music inside their boat shop. They prepared a vegetarian chili that was delicious and could be prepared on wa’a. The taste was so ono we asked for the recipe, in order to duplicate it on voyages. The decision was made to name it Sausalito Chili. The crew is hoping the relationship between our two groups will be the beginning of a long and beneficial relationship between differing cultures striving for the same future—one of voyaging in order to demonstrate ocean stewardship and sustainability.

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