Maui News

Rain Delays Launch of Maui’s Voyaging Canoe to May

February 12, 2014, 8:18 AM HST
* Updated February 12, 8:23 AM
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Sanding Masts for Mo'okiha. Photo courtesy Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

Ulalena cast members and Old Lahaina Lū’au staff sand masts for Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani, Maui’s own voyaging canoe. Photo by Matt Lane, courtesy Hui o Waʻa Kaulua.

By Maui Now Staff

The long-awaited launch of Maui’s voyaging canoe, the Moʻokiha o Piʻilani will be delayed to mid-May, according to an announcement this week from Hui o Waʻa Kaulua, Maui’s Voyaging Society.

The 62-foot double-hulled traditional sailing vessel was scheduled to launch during the winter solstice two months ago, but rainy conditions and remediation of Mala Wharf prompted a delay in plans.

“The next full moon high tide for launch is in mid-May,” said Captain Timi Gilliom, canoe builder and Kapena of Mo’okiha o Pi’ilani’s crew.  “Until then, The State of Hawaiʻi will be rebuilding Mala. It will be great to launch from the new wharf,” he said in a press release.

The canoe has been under construction for the past 17 years at Kamehameha Iki Park in West Maui, but work to build the vessel actually began in the mid 1990s.


Organization leaders say varnishing masts and spars requires dry weather to assure that the 14 coats of epoxy and three coats of lacquer bind properly.


Failure of the finish would prematurely drive the canoe back to dry dock for repairs, according to the announcement.

Final curing of the finish precedes lashing the masts to the canoe and rigging to the masts.

Volunteers are invited to the dry dock location next to Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina any day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist in finishing touches on the canoe.

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