March 2014
Published quarterly, The TopSail Sheet is chock-full of news about Los Angeles Maritime Institute, TopSail Youth Program and community happenings - we hope you enjoy our new format!

Letter from the Executive Director
Welcome to my first opportunity to reach out to you in our first 2014 newsletter.  It is so hard to believe that we are already well into the third month of the year and what a year it is shaping up to be.  Thanks to so many generous people, with their time and talents, we are reinventing ourselves while remaining true to our founding principles.

Science at Sea If I had to pick a word that best describes our progress over the last few months, I would have to say it would be collaboration.  We've seen excellent results from our efforts to jointly deliver a newly developed program, Science at Sea, with Beyond the Bell - LAUSD's Office of Outdoor and Environmental Education.  This program combines the very best elements of the Point Fermin outdoor education facility, Team LAMI and our two gorgeous twin brigantines.

We saw the return of the City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks.  Specifically, the City Parks Department is now regularly bringing students from Title I schools for sails.  Thank you to the crew (staff and volunteers) for allowing us to book these programs on Sundays, which usually are days off for the crews and vessels. 

Also, thank you to the volunteers and Youth Crew for giving us the flexibility to prioritize program sails ahead of Youth Crew sails and volunteer training days.  We will find new and exciting ways to make it up to both of these groups by doing things like we did at the end of February.  We turned what would normally be a volunteer sail training day sail, into an overnight, with an anchor out behind Island White.  What better way to get hooked on becoming a tall ship sailor!  It is possible that we will be able to bring back a volunteer sail to Catalina Island over the Thanksgiving Holiday; stay tuned.

I believe we have charted a course for Team LAMI that is extremely exciting and will get us to a point where we are exceeding everyone's expectations and serving so many more of our area youth.  The latter is the reason we were founded in 1992 and it remains the wind in our sails today.  We can't do this without you and we are deeply grateful.

Bruce Heyman
[email protected]

Reflections from our Marketing Director
5th graders learn how to work with the ship's lines. On March 8th, LAMI kicked off its Science at Sea collaboration with LAUSD's Beyond the Bell Office of Outdoor and Environmental Education Program aboard LA's Official Tall Ships, the Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson. What a beautiful day to launch this STEM-focused program on our vessels with 6th graders from South Central's LA Academy. Thanks to financial support from the Port of LA, foundations and individual donors, the magic of sail training continues to transform the lives of kids, many of whom have never seen the ocean let alone stepped aboard a brigantine.

Students on dockThese kids were super excited, eyes wide open, some grasping a friend's hand to steady their legs as they walked down our dock to make their way to the landing. Standing next to the Irving, a group of kids started firing questions. "What's that chain?" (Referring to the ship's anchor) "How deep is the water?" "Can this ship sink?" "How does it float?" "What's that ship over there?" (Pointing to the Battleship IOWA) "Does that ship still work?" "What kind of bird is that?" "What's inside the ship?" "Can we stay overnight?"

Once aboard, students received a safety lesson followed by some basic nautical terms, then their first hands-on lesson on how to pull lines to hoist the lifeboat... as a team! The kids were intently focused, paying close attention to a deckhand's instructions, moving back and forth in rhythm to the commands, until they achieved their goal. The look on their faces said it all: I did it... WE did it. They were ready for more challenges and I couldn't help but smile because I knew what was coming next: they will not be disappointed by their experiences at sea.
Irving at sea
I watched our majestic ships sail away to bring these new adventurers into the largest unexplored wilderness on our planet... The Ocean.  As our vessels disappeared into the LA Harbor, I could hear the faint sound of a dolphin call. I'm pretty sure these kids already know what every sailor knows:
there's magic out here.

Sail on LAMI... We're transporting young lives to
hopeful shores.

Joleen D'Rage
[email protected]
Volunteer News
LAMI's 2014 is off and running.  Exy is sailing again.  Live-aboard crew is arriving.  When you come aboard, you'll see new hands Ben Tribby and "Flash" Johnson, and returning alumni Neil Thompson, Dan McKenzie, Matt Francis, and a healthy Rob Laymon!  A fun bunch of new volunteers is augmenting our ranks.  We had a successful and enjoyable overnight crew training, to get the "newbies" up to speed on aspects of voyaging such as meal preparation and clean up, and standing anchor watch.

Deckhand Flash Johnson

More shore-side training is in the works.  Jos� Hernandez graciously has agreed to revive his popular rigging class in April.  Watch your email and LAMI's Facebook page for details.  This August brings the Tall Ships Challenge back to LA.  We'll need lots of help with it, so tell your friends and relatives!  Orientation meetings are as usual - the third Saturday of the month at 10 AM.  Our STEM collaboration with Beyond The Bell is offering many opportunities for weekend sailing, but it's requiring us to move crew training around, so check the calendar for dates.

Maintenance is ongoing.  If the boats are out, there is still opportunity:  the containers near the fishing channel need sorting and reorganizing, and volunteer Celso Morrison is heading the same effort at the shed on the dock.  Call the office at (310) 833-6055 for specifics and jump in!  

As always, thank you for your support and dedication.  We could not do the work we do or make a difference in the lives we touch without your efforts.

Marann Fengler
[email protected]
Other Important News
Bruce Heyman at Swift restoration site
Swift of Ipswich
If it seems like the old girl has been out of the water for ever it is probably because she has been out for so very long.  The fantastic news is that as of this writing all of the technical challenges have been solved and steps are being taken to begin making significant progress at finishing her off.  The brand new 235 HP Tier III John Deere engine will soon be craned into the vessel.  Workers have now completed the bulk of the construction of her interior sole beams and sole and the materials are being ordered for her hollow spars (masts, booms, gaff's and yards).  If you would like to follow her progress, you can do one of two things: 1) Become a part of the team and volunteer some time to work on her (call Bruce Heyman at 310-833-6055) or 2) Follow the excellent photo record of her reconstruction being created by Jerry Soto. You can also donate to the Swift to support her restoration.

Tall Ships Festival LA 2014
Tall Ships Festival LA 2014
Not since 2008 have a large number of tall ships descended on Los Angeles.  Please mark August 20-24 on your calendars and Join the event on Facebook to get festival updates.  This event will be a LAMI "all hands" event with lots of exciting and innovative elements.  We are working behind the scenes to develop a very cool program that we can hopefully repeat year after year and will involve FUN for the whole community.  Hopefully in a week or so, we will be able to announce and launch the event we're planning during the festival.

Volunteer Nancy Richardson Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
On Sunday, March 16th, we recognized our very own Nancy Richardson at an "Open Ship" reception aboard the Irving Johnson.  Nancy's friends, colleagues and co-volunteers came out in the heat of the day to congratulate her.  This award could not have been granted to a more deserving individual who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to youth education and the sail training industry.  Check our Facebook page for photos from the event as they become available.  Thanks to volunteer Ed Steiner for coordinating this event.

Save the Dates!
We have some exciting public sails planned and our annual fundraiser.  Mark your calendars and reserve your spot EARLY!

(Parents welcomed!)
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
11:00am - 4:00pm
$50 per youth participant
(includes coupon to bring parent or guardian over 18 at no charge)

This is a hands-on learning adventure at sea!

Children must be accompanied by a guardian at least 18 years of age.

Saturday, April 19, 2014
3:00pm - 7:00pm
$30 per person
$25 per person for groups of 5 or more

We're hiding plastic eggs full of surprises on the ship - kids will have a blast searching for the eggs and learning about the ship at the same time!  Great for the entire family and your out-of-town guests.

*PORT PASSAGES  Sponsored by the Port of Los Angeles
Saturday, May 3, 2014
5:00pm - 8:00pm
Sunday, May 4, 2014
All day
$10 suggested donation

These are 45-minute educational tours in the LA Harbor that will introduce you to: 
  • Maritime history and tradition;
  • International trade and the Port's role in supporting the economy;
  • The fishing fleet, then and now;
  • Vessel traffic and identification;
  • The diversity of employment from pilots to line handlers;
  • Natural resources, marine habitats, and how litter and plastic impacts our Port and ocean.


Saturday, May 17, 2014
5:00pm - 8:00pm
$50 per adult
$25 per child

Watch the sunset from the deck of a tall ship and sail the Los Angeles Harbor.  You can sit back and relax or get hands-on with our amazing crew - your choice!

All sails depart Berth 78 at Ports O'Call Village.
Wear soft-sold shoes; layered clothing recommended.
Food and beverages allowed on board the ship.


Sunday, September 14, 2014
3:00pm - 6:00pm
@ Banning's Landing, Wilmington

More details to follow!

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Los Angeles Maritime Institute, Berth 73, Suite 2, San Pedro, CA � 310.833.6055

The Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of Los Angeles