Last Saturday, I spent the day introducing some people to sailing — it was a great day with some local teens!
Panthers at Sea is a non-profit group that works with the Long Beach Unified School District, the Long Beach Marine Bureau, and local yacht clubs to provide high school students with a sailing experience they won’t soon forget. Originating at Jordan High School in 1998, the program features safety seminars and has been credited by the faculty of Jordan High School. Panthers at Sea has been growing and this year 86 students from Jordan and Reid High Schools were welcomed aboard more than 20 private sailboats for a day at sea.
Aboard Imagine Too, the crew went through the obligatory safety brief, like what the throw cushions are for and what to do if someone falls overboard. The new crew was then tasked with casting off, raising and trimming sails, helm duty, and a bit of navigation and radio communication. There was also the obligatory explanation of sailing jargon — like “jibe,” which means “duck” (you’re about to be hit in the head by the “boom”… which by the way, is called that because of the sound it makes as it knocks you overboard when you don’t duck during a “jibe”). Which brings us back to safety rule #1: don’t fall off the boat.
After a lunch donated by a local grocery store there was some basic knot tying. And as we weaved our way through large container and tanker ships anchored outside the breakwater we even had the chance to talk about economic indicators — lots of empty ships means a slow economy, no empty ships to be seen means a thriving economy. We missed a pod of dolphins feeding near the Carnival Cruise terminal, but we were serenaded by one of the teacher chaperones.
All in all, I hope everyone enjoyed the day as much as I did. Here’s to Panthers at Sea! I look forward to doing this again year. Until then, I wish them fair winds and following seas.