On the Navigating table

Cal Maritime senior Flora van de Schoot on the Golden Bear Bridge plotting a course.

Got some adventuresome summer boating plans?

What about racing TransPac on an Andrews 77? Being on the San Francisco Bay tugboat’s helm guiding a massive ship? Mastering the use of a sextant?

Three Long Beach youth sailors will be learning by doing thanks to Cal Maritime robust at sea curriculum.

Wilson High grad Ryan Schack’s summer internship experiences with Bay Delta Tugs “seem incredible thus far,” as his mom Stacey puts it. A former sailing instructor at ABYC, Ryan grew up sailing with SailGP sailor Riley Gibbs, and was able to witness the foiling catamaran up close in May.

Last summer, Schack was on board the 500-foot Golden Bear, Cal Maritime’s training ship. Two Long Beach sailors are on board this year’s two-month voyage — Wilson High grad Hailey Thompson and Cal Maritime senior Flora van der Schoot.

During the Training Ship Golden Bear’s arrival in Barbados Tuesday, while the ship was under pilot control, the ship’s mast struck a shoreside gantry crane.

No one on board or on shore was injured and after repairs are made the cruise will resume.

 Hailey’s mom Mary Thompson wrote on her Facebook page in early May, “Hailey left on her 2-month training cruise aboard the Golden Bear this morning. She called to tell us she got to drive the ship through the San Francisco Bay.

First stop Long Beach. Bad ass chick!”

Mom’s right. There are photos of Hailey, on Cal Maritime’s website, working on the hull while suspended-rock climber style on the side of the ship.

After repairs are made the ship is going transatlantic to Lisbon, Portugal. Following that, there are stops in the Azores, in Ponta Delgada on the island of Sao Miguel.

In April, the Offshore Sailing Team competed in its first ever Newport to Cabo Race aboard the recently donated Andrews 77, appropriately renamed Cal Maritime. Due to light wind conditions, the team retired from the race after sailing 400 miles down the Mexican coast in order to ensure the cadets returned to school on time for important mid-term testing.

Currently the team is working to prepare for the 2019 TransPac race, and chances are good that I’ll see Hailey and Ryan in Hawaii as they sail across the finish line. Thanks to Hawaiian Air flying out of Long Beach, I’ll be taking an easier route.

Flora will be missing TransPac, to serve in the second year of her at sea internship with Chevron.

On the Golden Bear, she is the second officer. It’s a big deal. In addition to her academic studies and her varsity sports involvement, during his speech to visitors in Long Beach, Captain Sam Pecota shared how Flora navigated the entire cruise.

It is a challenging assignment, that included a grueling selection process, with major responsibilities while at sea, van der Schoot spent four months learning about the tools and equipment on the navigational bridge in preparation. Flora tells me much of her self-discipline and desire to attend Cal Maritime was inspired by ABYC and LBYC member sailor Alex Cross, who she started sailing with at age 11. She is also practicing her navigating by the stars.

Cal Maritime Deck alumni want to encourage Cadets to do more celestial navigation than the minimum required by the Coast Guard during their First-Class training cruise. Alums like Long Beach YC Staff Commodore John Strong contributed to the prize money in a competition that strives for Cal Maritime to graduate the best professional mariners in the U.S.

LAYC Staff Commodore Jim Morgan said, “20 ‘old time' Cal Maritime grads put this Navigation Challenge together. We want to keep the art of celestial navigation alive in this digital world. We figured offering $4K to the students may get them interested.”

Morgan continued, “I had a meeting with all the Cal Maritime cadet leaders. Flora stood out from all of them. That's why I gave her my sextant.”

According to the deed of gift, “The prize money is to be used for something of mutual benefit to the team and the individual with the highest Celestial point total will receive the William H. Aguilar/Fred B. Newton Navigation Award.”

That trophy sure will look good on the van der Schoot mantle.

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