Nine Orange Coast College students will board the Alaska Eagle Saturday morning, embarking on the first leg of an eight-month trip from Newport Beach to South America.
The 65-foot sloop will make its first stop at Easter Island, and then a new crew of sailors will come aboard for the next leg, to Puerto Montt, Chile. From there the trip will continue to Cape Horn, Argentina, South Georgia Island, Uruguay and Brazil.
The Alaska Eagle was obtained by the college in 1982 and has notched more than 500,000 miles with OCC's School of Sailing and Seamanship. The voyages are all funded by the students themselves and the costs average about $300 a day.
The captain, Karen Prioleau, is no rookie when it comes to circumnavigating the globe by sea. The 73-year-old skipper did her first ocean crossing as a captain for OCC in 1996. Ever since, she's been doing at least one open ocean voyage a year. However, this trip will be her longest.