Johnson for his courageo us, some might say incredible,
film documentati on of rounding the Horn in the square rigger Peking,
it is his contribution to sail training that first intrigued and then inspired Captain Jim Gladson,
founder of the Los Angeles Maritime Institute’s TopSail Yo uth Program.
A career educator and Pacific Coast sailor, Gladson has nurtured the TopSail Youth Program since its launch in 1992.
Operating under the mantra “we do not train youth for lives at sea, but use the sea to educate youth for life, ” the program has met with enormous success.
The success of the TopSail Yo uth Program had sustained the lives of two former East Coast vessels of some renown.
The 1938 square topsail schooner Swift of Ipswich, designed by Howard Chapelle,
was purchased by the Institute in 1994,
and the 1971 topsail schooner Bi! Lof Rights, designed by McCurdy,
Rhodes & Bates, was acquired on loan and added to the fleet in 1997.
California’s most agreeable weather keeps both boats working practically nonstop.
With increased demand for the program, the rime had come to enlarge the fleer.
Though Swift and Bi!L were adequate, the programs were confined to the individual limitations of each.
Now a boat could be designed to conform to the specific needs of the programs!
To do this Gladson engaged naval architect W. I. B. Crealock to develop drawings from those of a brigantine that was designed by Henry Gruber in 1933 but never built.
Gladson was adamant that in addition to meeting US Coast Guard safety standards, the brigantine be a state-of-the-art sail training vessel,
pleasing to the eye and, while they were at it, it might be prudent to build two. Ir was at this point I received his call.
With the vessels’ mission clearly defined, I set about to construct a soundly built smart sailer, times two. truct a soundly built smart sailer, times two.
Construction has been underway since February 2000, at which rime two 65-foor purpleheart keels were laid end to end on the LAMaritime Museum parking lot, our working shipyard.
It is a bit of a tight fit-challenging, in fact, but it provides some very up-close and personal vantage points for the sidewalk supervisor.
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