Here is the story of the historic anti-nuclear sailboat that just arrived in Hawaii Bay

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Exhausted but elated, the crew of the Golden Rule brought the historic anti-nuclear sailboat to San Francisco Bay this week after a difficult month-long trip across the Pacific.

The four-member crew set sail on the 34-foot ketch on May 4 from Honolulu, where another crew stopped in 2019 on a planned trip to the Marshall Islands – only to be interrupted by the pandemic of COVID-19.

They described a beautiful, but frightening, return trip that included strong winds, big waves and freezing temperatures.

Malinda Anderson, one of the two Golden Rule captains, said the crew bonded by sharing jokes, listening to podcasts and music while “freezing their asses” during their shifts four-hour shift.

“We just met,” Anderson said. “We had as much fun as we could in very difficult conditions. “

The Golden Rule, one of the first environmental and peace ships to sail the ocean to protest nuclear weapons and war, also encountered rough seas on its first historic trip in 1958. That year, a crew mostly made up of Quaker activists traveled to Hawaii aboard the ketch in an attempt to interfere with US atmospheric nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.

But this trip was also thwarted, first by bad weather and then by the arrest of its crew in Hawaii. But according to Veterans for Peace, owner and manager of the Golden Rule, it has inspired the future efforts of groups such as Greenpeace and Sea Shepherds.

The mission of the Golden Rule is to oppose nuclear weapons and war. More recently, its leaders applauded the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force in January.

Helen Jaccard, project manager of the Golden Rule project, said that during their recent stay in Hawaii, the team encountered many residents of the Marshall Islands who had to relocate or experienced serious health problems due to the nuclear tests. .

Jaccard and other members of the team made more than 100 presentations on the island to discuss the dangers of nuclear weapons and war. Jaccard said she plans to do the same in California before the Golden Rule embarks on another trip along the Gulf Coast with a new crew.

For the current trip, the crew members had to fill out an application and were then selected by Captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa based on the different skills required for a trip, such as engine management, cooking food and maintaining. of the boat in shape. The trip was funded by donations, according to Jaccard.

The team included Nolan Anderson, a Seattle filmmaker, and Michelle Kanoelehue Marsonette from Albany, Oregon, an independent business consultant and energy worker.

“There were times during the crossing itself that were terrifying,” said Anderson, describing how he must have climbed the mast as the boat rocked back and forth.

But the fear and the overall experience were worth it, said Anderson, who is working on a documentary about the sailboat.

“It’s not about you and your personal growth and development,” he said. “It’s about changing the world and having an impact.

Johnston-Kitazawa said he was proud of the perseverance of his crew.

“They just kept hooking up,” he said. “And I think that’s a good metaphor for the whole effort towards nuclear disarmament. It is often arduous and difficult and you don’t see any results in the short term, but by continuing to persevere, you eventually get a result.

For Kanoelehua Marsonette, the journey was personal. Her father’s family is Hawaiian, her brother is a retired Marine Corps and Army sergeant, and she has a friend, also a veteran, who she says has been affected by exposure to the commodities. chemicals while in service.

“A trip across the ocean from my father’s land to my mother’s land felt more like a peaceful ceremony than I could do to truly integrate all aspects of my life,” she said.

Jessica Flores is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: jessica.flores@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @jesssmflores



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