Staff Report

The tall ship Spirit of Dana Point will be docked in the Santa Barbara Harbor throughout October, providing a teaching platform where students can experience life at sea as it has been for hundreds of years.

Formerly the Pilgrim of Newport, the re-named Spirit of Dana Point is a 118-foot schooner that is used for living history maritime programs.

Free dockside tours will be offered to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. A public sail will follow from 3 to 5 p.m., with check-in at 2:30 p.m. The cost for the sailing trip is $50 for adults and $25 for children 12 and younger.

Advance reservations are encouraged by calling 805-456-8747.

The Spirit of Dana Point’s overnight education programis based on Richard Henry Dana’s book “Two Years Before the Mast.” Fourth-grade students studying California history sign aboard as “greenhands” for a two year “voyage” from Boston to Alta California in the 1830s.

While immersed in early California history and working with a variety of dynamic historical characters, students gain skills in cooperative learning, teamwork and communication as they hoist cargo, row long-boats, raise sails, stand night watch, swab the decks, and sing chanteys.

Accompanied by adult crewmembers playing the parts of the book’s characters, students experience Dana’s 1835 port call to Santa Barbara during an overnight stay aboard the tall ship Spirit of Dana Point.

The Spirit Program exemplifies the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s mission, providing a hands-on, living experience for students. Giving students the opportunity to row around the harbor looking for hides and tallow hidden by the crew, or cook a meal for their classmates in the galley, or stand night watch on the water at two in the morning, creates experiences they will never forget, a museum spokesman noted.

The next time they read a history book, they will use this experience to imagine themselves in that story. They will also become personally invested in the knowledge and care of the Santa Barbara coastline, the spokesman added.

Last year the Maritime Museum completed its 18th year of hosting the Spirit Program and served 460 students from 20 classrooms, 14 of which were from Santa Barbara County Title I schools. Students that participated in the program were from Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Ynez, Los Alamos, Orcutt, and Santa Maria.

Costs of the program, including full scholarships for students from the Title I schools, are covered by grants and donations made to the Maritime Museum.

This year’s Spirit Program will run Mondays through Fridays through Oct. 25.