Saturday, March 14, 2015 Amazing Grace

Woke up:               Tenacatita, Mexico

Went to sleep:      Tenacatita, Mexico

Amazing Grace

This morning we motored the dinghy over to a 43’ Leopard Catamaran anchored 30-feet off our stern.  Our neighbors, Steve and Janny Denton, had invited us and our friends Alex and Krista for coffee.

We visited for over two hours.  We learned about them while they learned about us.  Everyone’s story is remarkably varied and profoundly interesting.  Meeting new people and getting to know them is one of the highlights of our lives out here.

Maritime Leadership – Leaders Building Leaders

In 2005, Steve and Janny met a young man with an idea.  He knew they were keen sailors, mentors to young people and had set up a non profit called Maritime Leadership a few years before.  Always open to new ideas, Steve and Janny gave a listen.  “I found a very beautiful schooner for sale that I think you should buy”.  Neither the idea nor the funds were on their radar, but they asked their friend “Why???!!!”   He told them “In your hands this vessel could be used in extraordinary ways”.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace


Amazing Grace is a topsail schooner with 60 working lines and 8 sails.  She sets a square topsail on the foremast and seven fore and aft sails:  gaff main, gaff topsail, main and fore staysails, fisherman staysail and flying and inner jibs, for a total of 2,010 square feet of sail area.  She has an overall length of 83-feet and a waterline length of 60-feet.  With a displacement of 60,000 pounds she draws 6’9” and provides a 16-foot beam.

In 2008 while Amazing Grace was anchored in San Diego harbor an eleven year old named Wesley met Steve on the beach and asked if he could take a look at the 83 foot topsail schooner.  Steve said “no …. but would you like to join us for a sail this evening?”  Wesley had challenges to overcome as a young man as his guardian parents had rescued him from his biological parents’ meth lab when he was nine months old.   Under Steve and Janny’s leadership, Wesley advanced to fore mast captain when he was thirteen and trained Andrew who joined the crew at the age of fourteen.  Now at sixteen and seventeen these young men have both advanced to first mates, fully capable and confident of leading crew much older than themselves.   But most importantly, these young men have grown in character and have learned what it means to be a leader.

Over the past ten years, with Steve at the helm, Amazing Grace has had the privilege to mentor thousands of young adults, ages 8 – 45, as they come aboard, often for their first sail.  From learning to hold on tight, to actually stepping up to take the helm, Steve, Janny and their volunteer crew of sailors have lead others to become leaders in their own right.

Amazing Grace has hosted volunteers from juvenile detention facilities and women’s community support homes.  She has been honored to inspire Vietnam and Iraq veterans, Wounded Warriors, and benefactors of The Make a Wish Foundation.  Guests are encouraged to participate as little or as much as they like, while fostering a strong appreciation for comradery, communication, companionship, respect, and teamwork.

To learn more about Amazing Grace and opportunities to participate or contribute go to

About Susan M. Gierga

Everyone already knows everything there is to know about me. I wear my heart on my sleeve. To learn current details. Visit my blog, CruisingwithCaptainPeterandtheAdmiral.
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