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Boat races popular as summer season unfolds

Date Posted: 2004-07-01

Race teams are in the water virtually everywhere in Okinawa now, as summer brings festival season and haarii races.

The latest were in Onna Village, where Manza Beach Hotel’s Manza Haarii Festival occurred last weekend, along with Chinen Village’s Kui’ya Haarii Festival. The haarii festivals are a time when fishing village residents pray for peoples safety, knowing the fisherman’s life is a dangerous one.
They know the ocean is different every day, with high waves some days dominating the fishing boats and affecting catches, which determine the fishermen’s livelihood. Haarii goers say the fishermen have tempers like the water too…very fiery as are the ocean waves.

Another boating activity was the Sabami Yacht Race. A rowing boat, sabami boats have sails on top as well. The race between Naha City’s harbor and Zamami Island featured 42 sailing boats this year.

Thirty-six finished the race. The goal is to row hard, using the sails to assist and make things faster. The winning boat covered the 36 kilometers in three hours, 28 minutes.

One of Zamami Island’s teams was from a local junior high school, manned by 14and 15 year olds. They finished 11th.

Near Tokashiki Island the racers encountered waves that prevented their using sails. Instead, they found themselves rowing hard, using a lot of sheer power to bull their way through to the finish line.

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