New 500 Sails Lalayak sailing class opens July 30 | Way of life


(Press release) – 500 Sails has opened registration for its latest Lalayak class. Lalayak is 500 Sails’ introductory program dedicated to teaching islanders how to navigate Chamorro canoes. All training sessions are free and take place at 500 Sails Guma Sakman at the Civic Center in Susupe. Youth 12 and older must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Free training sessions are held at 500 Sails Guma Sakman at the Civic Center in Susupe.

The Lalayak program consists of four consecutive training sessions scheduled as follows:

Terrestrial sessions

Saturday July 30, 2022: 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Sunday July 31, 2022: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Ocean Sessions

Saturday August 6, 2022: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sunday August 7, 2022: 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Shore sessions teach historical background, canoe design, sailing vocabulary, knots, gaits, true and apparent wind, sail trim, steering, rules of the road, safety, traditions and protocol, journal entries, navigational hazards, and more, in a classroom setting.

Ocean sessions are done on the beach and in the lagoon. Training includes canoe rigging, launching, sailing practice, man overboard practice, capsize and recovery practice, as well as post-sailing clean-up and storage canoes. Students team up and sail together on 26-foot canoes, under the guidance of experienced sailors.

Prerequisites and registration

Registrants must pass two swim tests to qualify for the Lalayak program. The first swim test is an untimed, non-stop 300 meter swim from Guma Sakman to the first lagoon reservoir and back. Students can use any movement they are comfortable with during the test, as long as they keep moving and do not hit bottom. The second test requires students to stand still for 60 minutes (as a group). The tests are scheduled for July 26 at 5 p.m. or July 28 at 5 p.m. at Guma Sakman.

Don’t let the on-site water test scare you away! 99% of students pass. Many have mastered overseating during the test. Trainers and lifeguards will be there to help you.

Students who pass the swim tests are automatically registered.

For more information, contact Andrew Roberto, Director of Community Programs, at (670) 323-7245 (SAIL), [email protected], or message via Facebook or Instagram.

About 500 Sails

500 Sails is a 501(c)(3) and CNMI tax-exempt nonprofit organization dedicated to reviving, promoting, and preserving the maritime cultural traditions of the Mariana Islands through community engagement in the values and canoeing cultural activities. The vision of 500 Sails is a healthy and thriving Aboriginal community that has successfully integrated traditional cultural values ​​into modern life. Major supporting partners include the CNMI Office of Indigenous Affairs, IT&E and the Chamolinian Cultural Village Inc – Canoe Federation.


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