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Golden Rule docks at Maalaea to spread anti-nuclear message

Sailboat brought attention to H-bomb testing in 1958

Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project Manager Helen Jaccard reads a proclamation from Maui Country Mayor Michael Victorino while standing at the bow of the Golden Rule sailboat during Wednesday evening’s welcoming ceremony at Maalaea Small Boat Harbor. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

MAALAEA — Spectators gathered by slip No. 20 at Maalaea Small Boat Harbor to welcome the 36-foot sailboat the Golden Rule, which is sailing the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific to spread the message that nuclear disarmament is possible.

The boat left Hilo early Tuesday and docked at Maalaea around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, with its big red sails and a six-sailor complement.

“It went great, a little stressful but not as long timewise as I thought,” said Helen Jaccard, crew member and the project manager for the Veterans for Peace Golden Rule Project. “We saw some dolphins along the way. . . .

“The sailing club that I brought with me, they did a great job, and all I had to do was point things out about this boat and some techniques, so it was teaching each other.”

A ceremony was held Wednesday night, organized by the Marshallese Ministry of Maui and with Maui Peace Action and Veterans for Peace participating. The ministry performed a traditional “jinlap” welcome, which involved singing and giving lei to the crew.

James Akau of Hilo shares a laugh with Youlida Yoruw at Maalaea Small Boat Harbor The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“It was wonderful, people have worked really hard to put this event together, and it was well worth it to be able to break bread with everybody that’s here,” Jaccard said with a smile. “It’s nice to be here and be on dry land. It was not the easiest voyage in the world.”

The Golden Rule sailed to Hawaii from California in 1958 on a peace voyage, protesting the U.S. atmospheric nuclear testing of the hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands. The crew was stopped and arrested in Honolulu, but the voyage gained publicity worldwide.

Since being refurbished in 2015 by Veterans for Peace, the Golden Rule has sailed the West Coast, continuing to carry the anti-nuclear banner.

On the first leg of its current voyage, the Golden Rule arrived in Hilo Harbor on July 31 after a 25-day sail from San Diego. From Maui, the sailboat is to travel to Lanai, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai.

The voyage also will take the sailboat to the Marshall Islands, Guam and Okinawa. The ultimate goal is to reach Hiroshima by August 2020 for the 75th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing, she said.

Crew member Joe Scarola of Hilo shakes hands with members Maui’s Marshallese and Kosrae community Wednesday. The Golden Rule sailed to Hawaii in 1958 on a peace voyage, protesting America’s atmospheric nuclear testing of the hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands. The sailboat was refurbished in 2015 and sailed to Hawaii on the first stop of its Pacific voyage. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

“I want people to think about what militarism has done to these islands and what it’s done to the Marshall Islands and to the people of the Marshall Islands, because that’s what the message is that we’re trying to get across . . . that it’s not OK,” she said.

“I strongly believe in that, and it’s a part of my practice and philosophy,” crew member James Akau said of the peace voyage.

Sailors Akau, Joe Scarola, Alex Franceschini, Keith Oney and Aaron Blackman are members of the Na Hoa Holomoku of Hawaii Yacht Club. They joined Jaccard on the first leg of the voyage.

The Golden Rule left Hilo early Tuesday, sailing to the most northern point of Hawaii island before cutting across toward Maalaea, crew member Scarola said.

Conditions were “beautiful and perfect for sailing until about 4 a.m.,” he said, when strong winds temporarily sped up the boat and made it challenging to steer.

The crew made it safe and sound to Maui.

On Wednesday night, Jaccard read a proclamation from the bow of the boat to an audience of 20. The proclamation, signed by Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino, made Tuesday the official “Golden Rule Day” across the county.

The proclamation says that the Golden Rule reflects the “Law of Aloha” and encourages “all people to recognize the efforts that have been made in regard to peaceful resolutions to conflicts.”

Jaccard hopes to sail next to Molokai or Lanai, depending on if there’s a place to dock and if she has a crew.

“I’m going to have to get some crew members if I’m ever going to get this boat out,” she said. “I’m going to have to recruit. Maybe there are some sailors here who will take us on the next part of the voyage.”

Jaccard does not have a set crew; she finds volunteers in ports of call.

The Golden Rule will be docked in Maui waters during September, and Jaccard plans to host free public presentations to spread her message of peace.

Her first gathering is set for 2 p.m. Saturday in the Garden Room at Kalama Heights at 101 Kanani St., Kihei. Jaccard will show the documentary film “Making Waves: Rebirth of the Golden Rule,” and lead a public discussion about how communities can reduce the possibility of a nuclear war. The event is free.

Jaccard will join the “Bill & Bobbie Best” show on KAKU radio 88.5 FM from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday. A repeat broadcast is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 19.

For more information, call Mele Stokesberry at 205-4067 or visit mauipeace.org and vfpgoldenruleproject.org.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.