LONG BEACH — Local high school students enjoyed a day sailing during the annual Panthers at Sea Day on Sail on May 9.
A total of 72 select students from Long Beach Jordan High School, and 16 students from Long Beach Reid High School participated in the day sail that brings community members and city officials together to get kids on the water.
Each year, boats are provided for the day by boat owners from local yacht clubs, including Shoreline, Seal Beach, Alamitos Bay, Long Beach yacht clubs and Long Beach Singles. This year’s volunteers included 23 skippers, boats and crew, Long Beach Marina Department and Shoreline Marina staff, along with teachers from both participating high schools.
Under the direction of James Townes, the program is designed to reward students with a day sail to learn about sailing, boat handling and basic knowledge of boating. Panthers at Sea provide inner city students — many who have never been on the water before — an opportunity to experience sailing
This was the first year the two schools instituted sailing clubs and provided school credit for participation in special sailing and boating classes, according to a press release.
The program was first created 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. With the exception of a five-year hiatus from lack of funds and retirement of the founder, the program has run diligently each year since revitalizing in 2004 by Carl Kirnbauer. James Townes II took over as the director in 2014.