About 10 or 12 years ago, the city of Los Angeles allowed a private foundation to use a city-owned parking lot on San Pedro's main waterfront street to build two, 90-foot wooden schooners. A chain-link fence provided public safety while encouraging public viewing of the construction process.
A construction crew of professional shipwrights and amateur volunteers worked more than two years to complete the Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson. Both ships are now sailing in the foundation's youth programs.
About 30 years before that, 24-year-old Dennis Holland began building a 90-foot wooden schooner in his Costa Mesa front yard, all by himself! For 12 years, he cut, shaped and assembled tons of wood, installed tons of metal ballast, painted thousands of square feet of surfaces — with only occasional help from friends — and finally launched the Pilgrim. Now renamed Spirit of Dana Point, she is also serving youth thorough the Dana Point Ocean Institute.