Bruce Clark's wind flower

Jordan High School students sailing on board Bruce Clark's Wind Flower in the annual "Panthers at Sea" day.

Living in Long Beach, many believe every child living here should be “water friendly” and be able to enjoy our local waters. One program that provides that is Panthers at Sea, where local boaters provide an on-the-water experience for Long Beach Jordan High students.

Saturday, May 11, the annual Panthers at Sea Day Sail took place with 75 Jordan students participating. Co-Chair James Townes II, Jordan High teachers Linda Bueno-Alahwal, Carlos Cooper along with 15 skippers, boats and crew all volunteered to make this a positive experience. The program is designed to reward students with a day sail to learn about sailing, boat handling and basic knowledge of boating.

Many of the students had not been on the water before.

Each year, the boats are provided for the day by boat owners from local yacht clubs, including Shoreline, Seal Beach, Alamitos Bay, Long Beach, The US Sailing Center and Long Beach Singles. Funds for supplies such as lunches, T-shirts, water, etc. are raised through donations. After the students returned from their day on the water and were on the buses back to Jordan, a burger bash was cooked for skippers and volunteers at the Seal Beach Yacht Club.

According to Dave Ferling, the program started in 1995 by David Braunstein, a teacher at Jordan High and member of Long Beach Singles Yacht Club, with the help of the Long Beach Marina Boat Owners Association.

ABYC

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club long has been a proponent of finding a way to get young people out on the water. Their Junior Program has been known as one of the best and club membership is not required.

The club hosts legendary regattas on holiday weekends and Memorial Day was no exception. The tradition continued last weekend with a great band, juicy burgers and stellar race management. The results were electronically posted and displayed on a big screen, and competitors received text message reminders regarding protests.

The different fleets let sailors of all skill levels compete — something especially attractive for young emerging sailors.

But what about the grown-ups?

The newly established Adult Sailing Program at the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) is a joint venture between the ABYC Tempest fleet and the club. Last year, ABYC started operation at the club by offering a high-quality program featuring private lessons provided by experienced, certified instructors.

An ABYC member since 1989, Dominic Meo III saw a gap in basic keelboat instruction for sailors who wanting to start racing and helped form the United States International Tempest Association as a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching high-performance keelboat racing.

The basic program offers 25 hours of instruction over four consecutive Saturdays. This includes about 11 hours of onshore instruction and about 14 hours of on-water instruction. Instruction is supervised by instructors who are certified by the American Sailing Association (ASA). Graduates receive a certificate from ASA for completing ASA-101 Basic Keelboat Sailing.

Students are on the helm starting day one, receiving private instruction on steering the boat and trimming the sails. After four on-water Saturday classes, and sailing the boat for about 10 hours, they are certified.

According to Meo, “Most sailing schools which offer a four-week program typically have three to four students in each boat. This means that by the end of the program, each student will have had about 3 hours or less steering the boat, the most important part of learning how to sail. We simply do not believe anyone can learn how to sail with 3 hours or less on the tiller, no matter how hard they try.”

The cost of instruction is $450 for ABYC members, $875 for non-members and more information can be found at https://usitalongbeach.org/.

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