SAN DIEGO — Kauai sailor Connie Burton made history on Wednesday aboard a 34-foot sailing boat named Golden Rule bound for Hilo.
It’s the original peace ship that attempted to sail from San Pedro, Calif.,to the Marshall Islands with a group of activists in 1958 to put a halt to the United States and Soviet Union’s atmospheric nuclear testing programs.
Golden Rule never made it to the Marshall Islands. Instead, it was detained in Honolulu.
The crew was arrested and jailed and sparked a worldwide movement of activists and mariners taking a stand for nuclear abolition. Eventually it led to the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
It was found, destroyed, in Humbolt Bay, Calif., in 2011 and was restored by nonprofit Veterans for Peace along with local volunteers.
On May 1, Golden Rule sailed again, fully refurbished, on a 15-month voyage from California to Japan. The first stop on the journey is Hilo, Hawaii. Golden Rule is set to arrive on Hawaii Island May 23.
Burton, who hails from Anahola, has been sailing since 2002 and has been involved with the Hokulea of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and has crewed on the Hawaiian Chieftain historic sailboat.
Burton has also been an activist for nuclear peace since the 1980s, when she walked the length of Florida with a group in protest of nuclear weapons.
The Golden Rule voyage combines her two passions.
“Trying to inform people about the dangers of the nuclear weapons race is as important is it comes,” she said.
Burton learned to sail from Captain Dan Lappala of Hilo, who is captaining Golden Rule from California to Hawaii on the first leg of the journey.
Crewmembers include First Mate Tom Rogers of Keyport, Wash., a retired U.S. Navy captain who has experience commanding nuclear submarines; Jamie Skinner from La Center, Wash., who was a pilot in the U.S. Navy; Chris Mayer from Berkeley, Calif.
All of them are passionate about putting an end to nuclear testing and the impacts it has on Earth.
“Our kids deserve to grow up in a world without nuclear weapons. It is a failure of our generation that they must live in fear of nuclear annihilation and bear the cost of a massive modernization of our nuclear weapons complex,” Rogers said.
Golden Rule will be in Hawaii waters for the next few months. She’ll be around Hawaii Island through the month of June and will spend July around Maui. Sailing from Maui on Aug. 7, Golden Rule will then visit Lanai and Molokai before sailing to Oahu, where she will be through October. She’ll sail to Kauai for the month of November.
In each of the islands, crewmembers will be speaking in schools and to civic groups about the continuing dangers of nuclear weapons to the safety of the planet, according to a press release about the voyage.
After the Hawaii tour, the plan is to visit Marshall Islands in December 2019. After stopping in Guam, Saipan and Okinawa, Golden Rule will go to Hiroshima, Japan to attend the August 6, 2020 commemoration the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of that city and of Nagasaki.
You can follow the Golden Rule’s voyage on a map bit.ly/2H5sm7u
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org