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Tall ship with crew of students is a hit

July 04, 2006|By Alicia Robinson

The Newport Beach-based tall ship Lynx will be at the center of the Fourth of July celebration in Hilo Harbor, Hawaii, today.

The 122-foot, square topsail schooner, a reproduction of early-1800s privateers, reached Hawaii on Monday with a crew that included five 14- to 16-year-old students. The ship set sail June 17 from Newport Harbor, and on the way students learned about navigation, weather, astronomy and how to operate an old-fashioned tall ship.

The arrival in Hilo Harbor "was spectacular," Jeffrey Woods, director of operations for the Lynx Educational Foundation, said by phone from Hawaii. "They came in with all her sails flying, their cannon was loaded, there were several loud blasts and there were salutes to her."

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Woods flew to Hawaii to meet the ship and will be on board for today's festivities. He said the students were greeted with leis, and the mayor of Hilo sent them a book on the island state.

The students ? four from California and one from Idaho ? helped get the ship there on what Lynx crew members call a "cruize [an archaic variation of 'cruise'] of opportunity."

During the War of 1812, the young nation of the United States didn't have a navy, so privateers would get a license to arm their ships to defend the nation, Woods said. Then they'd take a "cruize" in the hope of making some money.

"Your 'opportunity' was to capture an enemy vessel," Woods said. "What you would try and do is threaten and intimidate the other ship and get them to give up."

If the other ship surrendered, privateers would board it, take it to port and sell it.

In the Lynx's case, the opportunity is to teach students about sailing in a hands-on situation. Students had daily lessons, completed chores and kept watch on the ship just as full-fledged crew members would.

Today in Hawaii, the Lynx will be the honored vessel, firing canons to kick off the city's Fourth of July celebration. Because the ship is period-accurate for 1812, Woods said, it flies an American flag with 15 stars and stripes.

The students will fly back to Orange County Wednesday. The Lynx will remain in Hawaii to make a goodwill tour of the islands, then it will head to Washington for a wooden boat festival and proceed south along the coast, making public appearances and educational trips before returning to Newport Harbor in October.dpt.04-lynx-CPhotoInfoB11SJSL420060704j1uv9qncCourtesy of Karyn Newbill(LA)The Lynx of Newport Beach sets sail for Hilo, Hawaii.

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