Richards students live on sailboat for eight days
Fall classes have started, and if Allison Lively, Angeles Ochoa-Raya and Dan Schwarz long for the summer everyone would understand.
The three U.S. Navy JROTC students from Richards High School lived for eight days aboard a 50-foot sailboat in the British Virgin Islands this summer.
With the Caribbean Sea as their classroom, Lively, Ochoa-Raya and Schwarz earned certification as senior crewmen. They were among a handful of JROTC students from around the United States to complete the course, titled LeaderSail.
Students also participated in safety drills. The course concluded with a capstone written test and a four-hour race with the crews of other LeaderSail boats.
The U.S. Naval Sailing Association sponsors LeaderSail as a leadership development program built around sail training and marine exploration.
“It was a different kind of leadership and teamwork experience,” said Ochoa-Raya, the student commander of the JROTC program (Bulldog Company) this year. “I learned how to organize a prep pod for sailing, including how to operate the engine, check the oil, and work the main (sail) and jib.”
“I truly enjoyed the family-like atmosphere and all the fun we had aboard the Bella Christine. I learned how to trust people I had never met before,” Lively said.
Students learned all the basic elements of sailing, they snorkeled the coral reefs, they cooked the meals and took turns standing watch for four-hour shifts at night.
“I went from not knowing anything to racing a huge sailboat on the last day,” Schwarz said.
The three said they would definitely recommend the experience to others.
“It was worth every penny. I can’t wait to go next year,” Schwarz said. “I want to help new cadets that don’t know anything about sailing, just like how I was in the beginning.”
“It was an amazing trip. Though it was a learning experience it was also relaxing. It was a great balance of going on vacation and learning something new,” said Ochoa-Raya.
Lively placed LeaderSail atop anything else she’s ever done. “It was the best experience of my life so far,” she said.