My name is Mario Borja, aka Sakman Mario. I am a Chamorro from the Mariana Island of Saipan. I am the lead carver on the building of the ancient “flying proa” of the Marianas right here in El Cajon, CA. With a crew of eight (average age 68 years old) we took the George Anson drawing of 1742 to use as pattern for our 47-ft single hull, single outrigger sailing canoe. We purchased redwood from the Sequoia Forest in Mendocino in Jan 2009, had it delivered in Jul 2009, conducted our blessing ceremony on 18 Aug 2009, and started construction on 26 March 2010 after allowing drying time and resource preparation. We used ancient adzes to begin construction so we could understand the rigors our ancestors endured centuries ago. We used hand-held powered tools to facilitate construction. We hollowed out the 33-ft log for our keel, build up the sides using planks following the asymmetric design, and then build up the bows. We used no metal, strictly dowels, pins, and lashings to hold the canoe together. The hull measures 3-ft wide and 5-ft tall at the beam, with 8-ft height at the bow ends. Our mast measures 30-ft tall; the sail yard is 35-ft long and the sail boom is 37-ft. to hold up a sail covering 454 square feet. The outrigger itself is hollowed redwood weighing 526 pounds at 24-ft in length. It sits 11 feet from the gunwales on the windward side. The entire canoe weighs 5600 pounds loaded with training gear. We completed construction on 25 Mar 2011, a year after we started our first cuts. Since then we have sailed in the San Diego Bay and in Mission Bay. We have already hit 15 knots in the bay with optimism for 20 knots plus as we ready for beyond the point sailing. For this we are in training now. This canoe is one of the larger canoes once built by our Chamorro ancestors which they called the “SAKMAN” class. I am including a picture of our project. This is the largest canoe built to date east of the Guam.

Design Specs

Design or Class: 
Sakman class
Home Port: 
San Diego
Chamorros of Islas Marianas per George Anson circa 1742
Boat Type: 
Gross Displacement: 
5600 lbs
Sail Area: 
454 sq ft
Builder Name: 
Mario R. Borja (lead carver)
Location Built: 
El Cajon, CA
Year Built: 
Owner Name: 
Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHE'LU) of San Diego
Owner Country: 
Posted on:
Thu, 02/27/2014 - 10:23am
Last modified on:
Wed, 04/09/2014 - 3:32pm