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Giving other youth time out at sea

Student wants to restart tradition that connects sailors with at-risk youth who don’t have the same opportunities.

May 14, 2009|By Joseph Serna

Newport Harbor High School junior Randall Hause has been sailing since he was 9.

If he wasn’t doing homework, his parents could find him out on a boat somewhere, rigging, tacking, whatever.

Now, a 17-year-old looking forward to becoming a sailing instructor over the summer, Hause is trying to rekindle a tradition that vanished three years ago. He’s looking to resurrect the Williwaw Regatta, a partnership between young people in the Newport Beach sailing community and young counterparts who live in lower-income areas. Williwaw, a term that is loosely interpreted to mean shifting winds, is a fitting name for a sailing event that puts people in unfamiliar situations. The williwaw regatta lasted for about three years and gave at-risk youth, many of whom wouldn’t traditionally be found sailing out at sea, a chance to be on a boat for the first time.

Saturday, Hause and his friends will make the winds shift again, this time for about a dozen kids from some of the poorer neighborhoods in Costa Mesa.

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“I just kind of wanted to share something that I love with other people,” Hause said Thursday.

Hause and members of Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar high schools’ sailing teams, both nationally recognized for their success, will set sail with kids between 12 and 17. The participants are from Mika Community Development Corporation, an organization that aims to turn at-risk kids into young leaders who can improve their communities.

“This is an exceptional one time a year deal. Hopefully, we’re looking to make it annual,” said Caryn Kallal, Mika’s youth development director. “We’re excited about it.”

She said her kids’ reactions to the news they’d be heading out to sea ran the gamut, from some being rather casual as they’re already avid surfers, to others just outright nervous and wanting an adult to stay with them on the boats for their first time.

“I think it’s just exposure to something they really and truly would not have access to. There’s team building, learning new skills together as kids in their community,” Kallal said. “I think it’ll [also] be good for the kids from the yacht clubs to spend some time with people from the neighborhoods here.”

Hause and his friends organized the event, which cost upward of $1,000 and was funded by donations alone. They’ve managed to pack in to the day a breakfast, barbecue lunch and some sailing races where Mika kids will be crew members for their Newport Beach skippers.

The top three or four finishers will be awarded trophies, Hause said.

“I just wanted to share what I like with other people who can’t get the same chance. I just had an urge to let other people see what sailing is about and spread the support around,” he said.


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