Sailing to Experience
Three discrete groups enjoyed a mild day sailing to experience without the distractions of work. They enjoyed some family bonding, a surprise birthday sail, and a farewell adventure tour while deploying the big spinnaker sail.
Robert Stevens brought his 14-year-old grandson Chris Metz from Fort Worth, Texas. Robert used to sail 40- and 44-foot sailboats in the Caribbean while cruising in the Virgin Islands, so he had no trouble taking the helm of a 32-footer on the York River.
“We sailed from island to island, so you could see your destination. I knew something about it from sailing dinghies and wind surfing when I was younger. I won’t be doing that again. When the charter company set us up, they required I sail two hours with a captain to certify me for the charter. I asked for all day, and they did that.”
Robert is retired from the Professional Air Traffic Controller Organization, so I asked him if he went out on strike in 1981. That was the famous incident when President Reagan fired them all. “No, I was in management. I had to help cover for the strikers.” He’s worked all over the country at nearly a dozen airports.
I asked him about the stress of working in a control tower. “Stress is an individual think. It’s what you make of it. Some people handle it better than others. On a practical level, engineers make the worst controllers. Engineers are trained to look for the best solution when what we need is a quick solution.” I had to ponder that a while, for it applies to other situations as well.
USCG to NYPD to US Navy
Emily Cellini took her boyfriend John Boylan on a surprise birthday cruise. They spent some romantic time up on the bow, away from it all. As we sailed past the Yorktown Coast Guard Training Center, he pointed out the highlights.
“I was here in A School, which is basic training. I came back for C School to become a gunners mate. While stationed in Baltimore, we would join the Harbor Patrol for rescue missions and other requests they made.” At one point while on the helm, I casually mentioned a course correction. “Hey, I’m a gunners mate, not a boatswains mate,” he laughed.
John left the Coast Guard to go to the New York Police Department. “I wasn’t in love with the job. The department is focused too much on the revenue stream. They want you writing tickets all the time for parking violations, disorderly conduct and like that. I found it demeaning to the citizens as well as to the police.” He left the NYPD after three years and is now off to join the Navy. “They accepted my Coast Guard time and have backdated my age from 33 to 29.” We should all be so lucky.
Mary and David Furrow drove an hour or so from Fort Lee, where he works in missile defense. They are about to be posted to Fort Carson in Colorado and enjoyed their first sail with many questions and astute observations. He helped the young Chris Metz learn and “twin” the lines of the spinnaker sheets without any prior experience. The military teaches you to adapt, that’s for sure.
Let’s Go Sail
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