The Amatasi Project - South Pacific





A project linking remote communities in the South Pacific with Australian community groups through the construction and donation of an ecologically and economically sustainable fishing vessel.

Where it all started

Sailing Catamarans in the South Pacific pre-date nearly all other civilizations by millennia. Their migratory voyages are legendary. Sail boat design and maritime tradition forms the basis of our modern world, pre-dating the coalbased economy and overland transport.

Additionally, sail powered vessels and the fishing tradition link the modern worlds of Europe and America with traditional cultures such as Australia’s first people and Pacific Island cultures. These links seep down through generations.

The Project

Linking communities in Australia to the remote South Pacific Islands

Sea Mercy’s Amatasi project links community groups in Australia (and around the world) with remote communities in Fiji and other Pacific island nations. Community groups such as schools or local charities undertake construction of a simple to build catamaran, the Amatasi 27, designed by award winning catamaran designer James Wharram.

Background

  • Fuel needs for island-based nations have been quoted at up to 18% of GDP and this is unsustainable.
  • These island nations were the first to sign up to the Paris Agreement to limit global warming and we need to support them wherever we can.
  • The staple form of transport throughout the island communities of the South Pacific is the longboat with a big outboard. They are used for general cargo, fishing, school bus, etc. Whilst great multi-use vessels, they are very expensive to run and fuel is often difficult to get.
  • We don’t aim to replace the workhorse of the South Pacific, just add an economic alternative. There is currently a big movement towards wind-powered transport as demonstrated by the Uto ni Yalo

Sea Mercy's Mission

To empower local communities to be self-sufficient in a sustainable manner and to support Uto ni Yalo goals to educate local populations in the lost art of transport using the wind. The Amatasi project brings together these aims.

Philosophy

  • Assisting remote communities
  • Economic sustainability
  • Reduce dependence on fossil fuels
  • Increase profit from fishing
  • Free up village funds for other needs
  • Encourage return to traditional practices
  • Empower these communities culturally
  • Provide training for sailing and boat maintenance

Benefits

  • Australian & International participants benefit as much as the Fijian partners. To build a boat requires planning, cooperation, and a practical skill set.
  • Young people will benefit from learning new skills and the satisfaction of creating a beautiful and practical gift that will make tremendous difference to the lives of the people who receive it.
  • Tapping into the traditional skills of carpentry and maritime practices connect young construction partners with their history and that of others, encouraging compassion and a sense of the wider world. It also becomes a study in traditional practices of non-western cultures in the Pacific region.

Australian Construction Partners

  • Learning
  • Project skills: planning and execution
  • Practical skills: plan-reading, carpentry, boating basics
  • Emotional skills: compassion, generosity, charity
  • The rich reward of building something with one’s hands
  • An introduction to the boating tradition and sailing basics
  • An understanding of Fijian island living
  • A connection with people living a different life to ours
  • An understanding of alternatives to fossil fuel

Media Opportunities

  • Naming of the boat
  • Launching and local sea trials in Australia
  • Possibility of educational trip to see the boat in use
  • Good potential coverage with national TV and press

Fijian Partner Communities

  • A durable and versatile multi-use vessel
  • Sustainable and affordable
  • Making use of the constant trade winds
  • Easily maintained
  • Educational for all ages

The Designer

Wharram catamarans are based on the best of low-tech traditional catamaran design but incorporate modern features such as fiberglass coating for durability and modern sailing rigs for ease of management.

Wharram catamarans can be found in ports all over the world and sailing oceans and seas everywhere. His design philosophy has stood the test of the harshest judges; the oceans and elements.

The Amatasi 27’ was Wharram’s winning entry in Traditional Boat’s competition for an eco fishing boat. A double canoe design with bridge deck, it is low cost and requires few man-hours to build. It can be built from affordable and readily available materials. It requires only moderate carpentry skills and can be done with two teams building each hull simultaneously. This design, mimicking as it does the traditional boats of South Pacific, is perfect to present to our Fijian partner communities. There is latent hereditary knowledge waiting to be revived.

The Traditional Fishing Vessel

Project Partners

Construction Partners (Schools, Rotary, Churches, Tackers/Sea Scouts)

  • Fund raise for the project
  • Provide premises, labour and skills to build the boat.
  • Launch and sea trial in Australia (or your location).
  • Ship to Fiji.

Budget and Resources Cost: circa $14,000=$16,000 AUD

  • Workshop space ideally
  • Materials (as per plan) - Approximate man hours: 650
  • Skilled labour required: Minimal
  • Basic woodworking hand and power tools
  • Basic fiberglass skills
  • Relevant safety equipment

Sea Mercy Australia

Provides access to discounted construction plans, material suppliers, help in organizing shipping, links to communities, Coordination, ongoing support to Australian construction partners including media opportunities. Regular reporting back to the donors how the boat is being used and the difference it is making. An established charity operating in South Pacific since 2012 with a proven track record of delivering humanitarian, medical and educational assistance via volunteer private yachts.

Uto ni Yalo

The Fijian voyaging society goal is to promote trade and travel by sail. Oversees the assembly of the boat once landed. Provides Fijian based how-to-sail training in local languages, an established Fijian trust dedicated to promoting traditional sail

Sea Mercy Fiji

  • Providing duty free importation
  • Local transportation
  • Local backup as needed
  • Coordination of feedback

Project Contacts

If you would like to discuss how you or your organization can sponsor or support the project or a unique vessel, please contact us at:

    Australia Inquiries

    Patrick Whetter of Sea Mercy Australia
    +64 (0)499 042 370
    Email Patrick

    Other International Inquiries

    Richard Hackett
    +01-541-935-5846
    Email Richard

Donate Today!

To financially support the Amatasi Project, please use the below secure online button.





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