Hōkūleʻa Update | 10 Days in Cape Town

Bruce_BlankenfeldWritten by Bruce Blankenfeld

Day 1: November 23, 2015

Today we towed Hōkūle’a by dinghy from the quay at the V&A Marina to Granger Bay.  We passed a couple seals on the way that were playing in the water; it was pretty cool to see.  When we got to Granger Bay, the sled was waiting for us, and we were able to get Hōkūle’a up on to it directly.  After the dry dock folks secured us, we were hauled right up – it was pretty amazing.

We took an early lunch while an employee of the Granger Bay dry dock facility powerwashed the bottom of the canoe for us.  We have been able to shop for food in the leftover provisions from Leg 15, and are planning to cook our breakfast, lunch and dinners at the Granger.  Most of the gang is staying in the rooms right at this dry dock facility, so we can walk upstairs to the rooms to get anything we need.

We got back to work at noon, cleared the deck, got all the sticks and paddles on the ground, and everyone dove right in.  The weather here is perfect…not a cloud in the sky.  That also means it is really hot, and we have to be careful of potential dehydration. 

Our plan is to get right through dry dock quickly and efficiently, working 9 hours a day to get Hōkūleʻa ready to go on her next long series of legs.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 2: November 24, 2015


The team is focused! A lot of sanding and fiberglass work going on today:

  • Bob fixed the bottom of the mizzen mast where the fiberglass was cracked
  • Kimo replaced the broken cleat on the aft mizzen mast
  • Bill is sanding the paddles and booms
  • Bob and John are redoing the fiberglass patch on starboard manu
  • Nakua, Naia, and Kealoha sanded on deck in the sun all day in the brutal heat  
  • Irish is working on the RO system for the watermaker and checking electrical systems
  • Steve and Bruce went to sailmaker to finalize canvas

It was a good long day of work, everyone is wiped out from the heat, and looking forward to starting again tomorrow.

Day 3: November 25, 2015

Today was a tough day. It was sunny and hot again with a little breeze, a tiny bit cooler than yesterday.  It was a long 9 hours for everyone; the entire crew is wiped out but it was a good productive day.

In terms of our prep work:

  • Deck = 50% complete
  • Bottom of canoe = 90% complete
  • Starboard manu = 90% complete
  • Steering paddles = 70% complete
  • Mast, Spars, Boom = 60% complete
  • Cat walks = 70% complete

Looking forward to completion.

Day 4: November 26, 2015


Today was windy; it kept us cool and we got a lot done.  Everyone is doing well, and working really hard.

  • the prep for the deck is 99% complete
  • the cleats on deck that were sanded now have one coat of varnish
  • palekai is sanded with one coat of varnish
  • the paddles are sanded and have one coat of varnish
  • the mast, spars, and boom are sanded with one coat of varnish
  • work on ʻiako outside hull and safety rail are complete and ready to refinish, and
  • aft mast is repaired and ready to refinish.

Our paint got delivered today, so tomorrow we will start painting and continue varnishing.

Wishing everyone at home and elsewhere a Happy Thanksgiving!

Day 5: November 27, 2015


Aloha from South Africa!  Today was another nice day, a little on the hot side.  Behind the vessels here there were a couple birds and 2 penguins who were fishing; we enjoyed watching them.  

As of today:

  • the prep work for the deck is complete, and we will start painting tomorrow
  • the prep work on the bottom of the canoe is 90% complete; the first coat of paint is going on tomorrow
  • paddles and sticks as well as cleats got their second coat of varnish
  • the port catwalk repairs are 70% complete
  • the starboard manu repair is complete
  • Bob started the repair for the port manu
  • we are now beginning the finish work on the canoe parts.  

Everyone is healthy and working really hard; we are close to having all the nasty work done.  This is a good time to be doing this work, as Hōkūle’a could use some TLC – she has done a lot of sailing.  We are working to get her good to go for the next year.  

Day 6 and 7: November 28 and 29, 2015


Everyone is doing well and working hard.  Irish is our cook, and everyone is enjoying the home-cooked meals.

Yesterday we:

  • painted the two front manu.  
  • put a coat of paint on the hull, over the brown part.
  • got the first coat of primer on deck.  
  • put a third coat of varnish on paddles and sticks.  
  • did all prep work to finish the repair for the catwalk.  
  • oiled the large cleat on front and ohia on nav platform.

Today we plan to:

  • put on first coat of bottom paint, and first coat of paint and non-skid on the deck and the catwalk
  • finish repairs on catwalk
  • put fourth coat of varnish on sticks and paddles.

We are looking at splashing back in on Tuesday, and moving back to the quay at the V&A Marina.  

Day 8: November 30, 2015


Aloha kākou – Waʻa coming along really well…she looks good!

Today we:

  • put first coat of paint on the deck and scattered sand for non-skid
  • finished caulking seams between deck and gunnels
  • completed the repairs on the port catwalk
  • put a fourth coat of varnish on the paddles and sticks.  
  • put first coat of bottom paint on the canoe
  • put last coat of paint on both manu, so they are completed

The crew looks really good; the guys are having fun today doing all the work.  Everyone is in good spirits, and it’s been a great day.

Day 9: December 1, 2015


Today was another great day!  We got a lot done – lots of painting and lashing.  She is looking really good, and the crew is doing well.

Today we:

  • got a second coat of bottom paint on
  • finished painting the deck
  • finished painting ʻiako on outboard under catwalk
  • finished varnishing ʻiako underneath the deck
  • got fifth coat of varnish on paddles and sticks
  • put the first coat of paint and non-skid on catwalks
  • put the first coat of paint on the safety rail
  • put on the new cleats on the spar and lashed it
  • lashed the RO system (watermaker) on port 7.  

Tomorrow will be the last day of work on Hōkūleʻa; she will splash on Wednesday December 2nd at 10am.  After Hōkūle’a splashes, Gershon II will haul out for her drydock.

Day 10: December 2, 2015

Much appreciation and mahalo to all those who contributed to this successful dry dock.  

E mālama pono,
Bruce and the Dry Dock Crew

Bruce Blankenfeld
Bob Perkins
Kimo Lyman
Kealoha Hoe
Mike Cunningham
John Kruse
Naia Blankenfeld
William Blankenfeld
Nakua Konohia-Lind

Please help keep us sailing for future generations. All contributions make a difference for our voyage. Mahalo nui loa!

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