Closing the Triangle: The Way Home

Polynesian Voyaging Society

Sailing Strategy / Leg 4. Rapa Nui to Tahiti (Nov.-Dec. 1999; Updated Nov. 9, 1999)

Hokule'a will sail from Rapa Nui to a point at 9° S (the mid-latitude of the Marquesas) and 200 miles E of Fatu Hiva; from there the navigators will turn west to intersect the islands on its long north-south axis, between 8° S and 10.5° S. After sighting one of the Marquesas islands, the canoe will head for Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago, then on to Tahiti. The strategy is designed to avoid the dangerous reefs and atolls of the Tuamotu by staying north of them. Navigator: Bruce Blankenfeld; Captain: Wally Froiseth.


Rapa Nui: 27° 09' S, 109° 27' W

The Marquesas is a chain of islands, stretching from Eiao (8° 00' S, 140° 41' W) in the Northwest to Fatu Hiva (10° 28' S; 138° 50'W) in the Southeast. 148 miles North to South; 110 miles East to West. Other major islands are Nukuhiva (08° 56' S, 140° 05' W), Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata.and Hiva Oa (09° 49' S, 139° 02' W).

Avatoru, Rangiroa: 14° 56' S, 147° 43' W

Pape'ete and Tautira, Tahiti: 17° 44' S, 149° 10' W


Except for an area around Rapa Nui where winds and current, may be weak and variable, Leg 4 will take place within Southeast Tradewind Belt.


Segment 1-Find the Marquesas Islands

Hokule'a will target the Marquesas Islands. After reaching the Marquesas, the crew will continue to sail, without stopping, to Rangiroa and Tahiti.

Average Canoe Performance: 5.5 knots (current aided) 132 miles per day

Heading: Noio/Manu Ho'olua (NW by W/NW)

Distance to be Traveled: 2050 miles; Sailing Days: 15.5 days.


Segment 2- Marquesas to Rangiroa

Heading: Noio Kona (SW by W)

Distance to be Traveled: 575 miles; Sailing Days: 5 days.


Segment 3- Rangiroa to Tahiti

Heading: Nalani Kona (SW by S)

Total Distance to be Traveled: 175 miles; Total Sailing Days: 1.5 days.


Totals for the Leg 4

Total Distance along the Course Line: 2800

Total Sailing Days along the Course Line: 22 days