Sailing from New England
People ask, “Are there extremes in boats on the York River?” We saw it on this day. Two couples who had never met enjoyed a warm, sunny breeze on the York River as part of their Williamsburg vacation adventure. Shirley Patrick of Washington DC brought her beau James Artis after having ridden a horse for the first time at a stables in Toano. “I enjoyed it,” she said. “The horse was gentle and the trail was lovely. It was just us.” Another attraction comes to town.
Susan and Bill Mathon came from Raymond, Maine, north of Portland. He’s a painter who works new housing and the occasional flip job. Once out on the water, Susan harked back to her childhood when she saw an oyster man dredging in the river.
“I used to catch lobsters with my dad as a child. We’d go out every day if we could. We’d drop 250 traps on a single run and come back later to pick up all 250 traps. These were long lines since we were out in the Atlantic. Sometimes we’d trap off Deer Isle where the water was shallower. You have to throw back the females, that’s the law.”
The consensus among all four was that restaurants everywhere tend to overcook lobster. Susan said, “I haven’t had such good lobster since I was a kid, but I didn’t know any better back then.”
Susan and Bill were reluctant to go up on the bow, although he stayed there a while when he cast us off from the dock. Later she and Shirley sat up there together. Bill recalled his hesitancy. “We had friends in Maine who took us out on their cigarette boat, and we made the mistake of sitting up on the bow. We were going so fast that we almost got thrown off. Had to hang on for dear life.” James joked, “Were you smuggling cigarettes?” Bill rejoined, “No. We were smuggling sodas across the lake.”
Bill and Susan are perfectly comfortable in Maine despite the harsh winters. “Our family is there, our work is there, and our friends as well. We’re here on our spring break because there’s a lull between jobs. Many of the big highways are posted ‘Closed’ this week as the spring thaw makes them vulnerable to getting torn up by big trucks. So we came to Williamsburg instead.”
A mile off to the southwest, I spotted a cruise ship departing Yorktown after an overnight stay. I radioed the captain of my intentions crossing the York and he appreciated that. What looked like a collision course was in fact a deviation for me to take his stern, and I reiterated that message over marine radio. He thanked me and picked up speed.
By sheer coincidence, Bill and James came from Jehovah’s Witness families. But that’s another story.
Let’s Go Sail without Boat Extremes
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