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A monohull and a trimaran were let loose from Capistrano Beach on Thursday afternoon. One came ashore in San Clemente hours later. It is undergoing repairs for possible relaunch today or this weekend. The other is at sea and being tracked via its onboard GPS.

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Looking like a shark ready to strike, the WikiWiki is prepared for launch Thursday afternoon from Capistrano Beach. The WikiWiki is one of two boats made by a Capistrano-Laguna Beach ROP class at San Clemente High School. The students hope the boats will sail as far as Hawaii.
DAVID BRO, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

By DAVID BRO / SPECIAL TO THE REGISTER

CAPISTRANO BEACH -(CA)- An ROP model-making class at San Clemente High School was at it again Thursday afternoon, trying for the second year to launch handmade watercraft from Capistrano Beach on a course students hope will take the boats as far as Hawaii.

About 50 students in instructor Malcolm Wilson’s 3-D model-making class in the Capistrano-Laguna Beach Regional Occupational Program gathered to launch two of their latest projects, the monohull WikiWiki and the trimaran NeNe.

SEE A SLIDESHOW HERE.

They think improvements they made in the design of these boats will give them better results than different students in the class got with a single boat last year – it washed up in Laguna Beach.

The boat building is meant to teach the design process from start to finish. The students, divided into two teams, worked all semester to complete the boats.

“The students get hands-on knowledge in completing a project and learn that hard work pays off,” said Dave Giertych, director of the Capistrano-Laguna Beach ROP.

Team leaders Dallas Krick, 18, a San Clemente High School senior, and Maurice Bollhorn, 16, a Tesoro High School sophomore, said they’re excited to be able to follow the boats’ progress via the onboard GPS the students installed. A tracking device on each boat reports its location every two hours. That information is posted on the class Facebook page.

At the launch Thursday, the breakers sent the WikiWiki back to shore with minor damage on the first try. After some quick repairs, the boat was relaunched with volunteer Michael Tracy swimming alongside and pushing the craft through the higher-than-normal surf.

There were tense moments as the NeNe was tossed almost completely out of the water by a high breaker. But soon both boats were out to sea.

Wilson reported that the NeNe washed ashore in San Clemente late Thursday. The WikiWiki came back to within 200 yards of shore and then turned around, making it as far as 18 miles offshore Thursday night, Wilson said. On Friday afternoon, the WikiWiki was about 22 miles off San Onofre State Beach, according to its GPS tracker.

The NeNe was back in port for repairs and is to be relaunched Friday or over the weekend.

“Who knows where they’ll end up?” Wilson said.

The students used mostly donated supplies and funds from area businesses such as Rainbow Sandals, Basham’s Surfboard Factory, Interlux Yacht Paint, AirFlow Systems, CalebWorks, Glas Werk Inc. and The Surfer’s Journal. They even used old sails from the 82-foot schooner Curlew, a charter boat out of Dana Point Harbor.

“I liked shaping the boat and putting on the fiberglass,” Krick said.

Bollhorn said that the class sparked his interest in 3-D computer design. “I liked managing the whole process and going out to test the boats at Dana Point Harbor,” he said.

Sarah Smith worked on the NeNe, preparing the boat for paint and putting on its bright red color. “It was hard but fun,” Smith said. “The best part was watching it go out.”

She and Krick said they intend to take the class again next semester.

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Maddie James///Photo Courtesy of the James Family

DANA POINT, (CA)– Maddie James loves to draw – usually something with fish, dolphins, sea lions and beach scenes. So now, as the Capistrano Beach 5-year-old nears the end of her young life, her family wants to give her a lasting legacy – a place where other children can learn to love the ocean as she does.

Maddie has an inoperable brain tumor that has left her with weeks, maybe days, to live. Her mother, Kajsa James, 38, says that though it’s been a challenge to explain Maddie’s condition to her, they have plenty of happy memories to reflect on, especially last year’s Ocean Institute summer camp for kids.

It’s why the James family has started the Maddie James Foundation to help raise the remaining $1.3 million needed for the institute’s $4 million Seaside Learning Center, which the family hopes will carry Maddie’s name. The project is expected to break ground this summer or fall at Dana Point Harbor, according to Dan Stetson, Ocean Institute president and chief executive.

Kajsa and Collie James with a drawing by their daughter, Maddie James.

According to the foundation website, a donation of $1 million would be necessary to have the project named the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.

“We realize this is a huge number and have no idea if we can get anywhere near it,” the family says on the website. “There are other naming opportunities in a lower donation range, but we have decided to reach for the stars (or maybe sea stars in this case) and try and raise as much money as possible. We will do whatever we can with the funds raised to make sure Maddie’s name lives on in perpetuity at the center.”

Stetson said in a statement that the institute has been “deeply touched and inspired by the courage of this very special little girl. We would be honored to have our Seaside Learning Center commemorate Maddie’s life by creating a place where everyone who loves Maddie can go and remember her, as well as a place where other children and their families can visit, share memories and learn about the ocean and its preservation.”

Maddie can no longer attend her kindergarten class at St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, so her classmates plan to march with a banner in support of her foundation in the opening parade for Dana Point’s 40th Festival of Whales on Saturday.

All of this has happened quickly. Kajsa James said she noticed on a Friday afternoon in mid-January that her daughter was not her usual self. By Sunday morning, she and her husband, Collie James, 40, got news no parent wants to hear.

Maddie has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, a cancerous growth that affects about 200 American children each year and offers no chance of long-term survival.

Now, Kajsa and Collie, after being separated for a year and a half, have come together to live in the same house and work side by side in the care of their daughter.

“They showed us the X-rays and the results of a CT scan and an MRI, and so I just asked the doctor point blank, ‘Is our daughter going to die?’ and he said, ‘Yes, she is,'” Collie said. “We just needed the truth.”

Dr. Michael Muhonen, Maddie’s attending neurosurgeon at CHOC Children’s hospital in Orange, suggested they get in touch immediately with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and go away somewhere to create some positive memories with their daughter. Within days the family was in Maui accompanied by several of Maddie’s friends, playing on the beach and swimming in the ocean, her favorite activity.

Even now, as Maddie’s condition deteriorates and she is able to do less and less, the family still visits a community pool where she can get in the water for a couple of hours each day.

“In the water she is free of her physical limitations and what she is experiencing from the medication … she gets to be herself,” Collie said.

Since Maddie has been unable to go to school, she has been at home under hospice care, with the adults in the house under a “no cry” rule. Her teacher visits with the latest class assignments every few days.

In mid-December, before the news of Maddie’s illness, the family, on a whim, celebrated her 5½-year birthday. Now they’re glad they did, and they’ve decided to celebrate her 5¾ birthday a little early, this Sunday. The family plans a surprise party with her friends at Maddie’s best friend’s house, complete with a big Scooby-Doo cake and a ride in the Mystery Machine, the green van from the Scooby-Doo TV show and movies.

Her mother is trying to fit parts of all the good things an entire lifetime might have had in store for Maddie into her final days.

“Maddie loves to draw, so we drew out what she wants her wedding cake to look like,” Kajsa said. “There’s even a phone app where you can make your own birthday cake. You can blow out your candles, so we started with 6 and then 7, 8 and 9.”

The Jameses say the support from Maddie’s school, relatives and friends has gotten them through it all so far.

“It’s hard not to be overwhelmed, but we have a lot of living to do,” Collie said. “Staying in the day gets me through it. I’ll have a lifetime to deal with this.”

The Orange County Register story:

http://www.ocregister.com/news/maddie-290015-family-james.html

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