NEWPORT BEACH, CA – Three high school students from Southern California and one from South Dakota have been chosen for the first sail training trip aboard Lynx, the 1812 privateer schooner currently visiting the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum in Newport Beach. Scheduled to leave California on Saturday, July 6 for Hawaii, the four young privateer students will train under conditions similar to sailors from the early 19th century and will be taught maritime traditions of young America. Once in Hawaii, they will visit historic and ecologically important areas of the islands for three weeks before returning home.
The four students are:
Joel Buffa of Huntington Beach, CA
Alexandra Williams of Huntington Beach, CA
Eric Loss of Laguna Beach, CA
Jessica Jones of Rapid City, SD
Jessica and Alexandra are recipients of the Lynx Education Scholarship.
“The cruise to Hawaii aboard Lynx will be our first with students. We look forward to bringing to them the experience of a deep ocean passage, learning the arts of the sailor, navigation, weather and the early maritime history of America,” said Woodson K. Woods, executive director of Woods Maritime, owner and operator of Lynx. “Upon arrival in Hawaii, we are fortunate to have the able assistance of Howard Hall (mathematician, computer scientist, retired Dean of the Hawaii Preparatory Academy and sailor), Pete Hendricks (educator, Maritime History of Hawaii, and sailor), and Terry Wallace (Hawaiiana Researcher, author, retired Green Beret, and teacher of Hawaiian Studies and Survival Skills) to teach our students about the early Polynesian migration, the early explorers and traders, and the development of the Hawaiian Islands. We will also explore the Big Island, seeing the volcanic activity in Kilauea and the Puna district and tour the exciting summit of Mauna Kea, which at more than 13,780 feet, is the location of a wide array of celestial observatories.”
“We are so excited for these four students to be able to experience life at sea first hand. We know it will be a life-changing experience,” continued Alison M. Woods, director of education for Woods Maritime. “Sailing and early American history are at the core of our program. Our hope for these students is that the Lynx experience will challenge their minds and bodies and enhance their future path in life.”
Joel Buffa, a 14-year-old freshman at Servite High School in Anaheim, is a fifth generation sailor of California waters, having sailed sabots out of Long Beach and Newport Beach since age four. The youngest skipper in the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, he has qualified for Sabot Nationals three times, last was in Silver. For Joel, the voyage to Hawaii aboard Lynx is the realization of a special dream. “My great-great grandfather and my great grandfather sailed in the 1928 Transpac Race aboard a schooner and my grandfather has made 10 Transpacs and my mother did one at my age,” said Joel, the son of Cindy and Jack Buffa. “This opportunity is extremely exciting and important to me and my family.”
For Alexandra Williams, taking part in the Lynx Sail Training Program is also a dream come true. The 16-year-old daughter of Beverly Williams and Dr. Daniel L. Williams, both from Huntington Beach, Alexandra is active in sports and plays club soccer at Edison High School. In addition, she tutors middle school students in Spanish and works part-time in a retail clothing shop. Recommended by her teacher to take AP World History next school year, Alexandra said of her chance to sail aboard Lynx, “The opportunity to experience living history first hand is an experience I do not want to miss.”
Eric Loss, a 16-year-old who attends Sage Hill School in Newport Beach, CA, is an experienced tall ship sailor, having sailed Argus, The Spirit of Massachusetts and, while she was transiting the Caribbean and Panama Canal this past March, Lynx. The son of Katie and Jim Loss of Laguna Beach, Eric welcomes the chance to further his education and sailing experience.
“I couldn’t believe how much I loved being on Lynx and I can’t wait to do it again. The trip to Hawaii will be awesome.”
The fourth student to participate is the only non-Californian and is a high school senior. Seventeen-year-old Jessica Jones attends Stevens High School in Rapid City, South Dakota; this trip will be her first time at sea. The daughter of Becky and the late David Jones, Jessica is a born leader, representing her state at the National Youth Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. this year. A member of the National Honor Society and an accomplished musician, Jessica said, “I am so excited to be given this opportunity to learn all about sailing aboard Lynx. Although I have sailed before, I confess I do not know much about sailing basics. I look forward to experiencing life at sea and learning about the history of Lynx and early America.”
Echoing those sentiments is Lynx Captain Douglas Leasure. “Tall ships and the sea have been teaching mankind for centuries. In an age of wireless communication and the information highway, it is easy to lose sight of the fundamentals of learning and self-discovery. These students will take part in a hands on, experiential education program with Lynx as their main instructor.”
After leaving Hawaii, Lynx will sail to San Francisco and is scheduled to arrive there on August 27th to join the American Sail Training Association’s 2002 Challenge Race Series III. On September 11th, Lynx will be the lead vessel of 20 tall ships taking part in the Southern California Regional Observance of the First Anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attacks to be held off Newport Beach. She then participates in the Festival of Sail in San Diego from September 12th to 16th and the Dana Point Tall Ships Festival September 21st to 22nd before returning to Newport Beach for an extended visit at the Boy Scout Sea Base.