Circumnavigation Sail

John Baker of nearby Gloucester and Joshu and Maryanne Gobrogge of Hancock MI joined up for an afternoon sailing lesson. Joshua has a small boat that he sails on a pond, while John is planning to circumnavigate the world.

“Well, first I have to circumnavigate the Chesapeake Bay. I’ve always wanted to go to sea, so I bought a 1977 boat that’s 38 feet long. In fact, first I’ll have to get the engine started, a 38 horsepower Yanmar.

Circumnavigation SailIt was a perfect day for teaching. They distinguished themselves on the helm in light winds that shifted and gusted, all of which are challenging for new sailors. Anyone can sail in a big wind, while no one can sail in the doldrums.

They learned that the Close Reach is the fastest angle of sail. The Beam Reach flattens out the boat, but reduces speed. The Broad Reach is used downwind, especially in light winds to fly the spinnaker. They learned how to “turn the sheets” of the jib quickly, and they got us heeling to 20 degrees on some of those gusts. All good.

I recommended they consider Sail Time in Virginia Beach for ASA training.

The next day, John followed up by email. “Thank you!  Was great to finally get out on the water after being couped up all winter! I appreciate your instruction!  I will definitely take advantage of your advice and links provided as I move forward in my journey to become proficient handling a larger boat. Your history lecture got my inner history buff revitalized.

circumnavigation sail“I studied the largest Cavalry battle of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of the Hook that apparently was not decided to very shortly AFTER Cornwallis surrendered. It was mainly a French vs. British battle. Then to confirm what I thought I knew I re-studied the Battle of Kings Mountain in the Carolinas where the Patriots routed the British, forcing their retreat back to Cornwallis, which forced his eventual retreat to Yorktown. Without our Victory at Kings Mountain the war may have turned out very differently.

“P.S. Thanks for the pix. It only confirms how fat I have become at my desk job. It’s past time to hit the gym. The only activity that I am aware of that rivals the thrill of sailing is snow skiing down a steep piste in the Colorado Rockies when I lived out there. Oh and windsurfing (which is sailing! ) I was going to take up adventure motorcycling to travel the world, but I decided at age 62 now sailing might be safer. LOL.”

Hurricane Sail

 Hurricane Sail

The next day, a couple from Rochester NY returned after sailing with us years ago. Marianne and Robert Durrant just wanted to enjoy the mild breeze under sunny skies, so we tacked down the York. As a Navy veteran, he recalled some harrowing moments at sea.

Hurricane Sail“I was stationed on a sub rescue ship, one of the most poorly conceived vessels in the Navy. The engine was rebuilt from another boat in World War II.

“We were stationed off Charleston during Hurricane Hugo. Forty-foot waves were crashing halfway up the smokestacks. Our ship chef got the bright idea of serving spaghetti that night. So then we had everyone vomiting spaghetti all night long, while seawater washed inside the ship.”

Yes, but did you ever rescue a sub? “No. If we ever had to rescue one, the boat was too slow to get there in time.”

 Navy Sailor

Navy SailorA couple from Rockville MD went sailing on the York with his father, John Naas. Gabriella Naas does epidemiology research for the National Institutes of Health, specializing in cancer. I asked if we’re having trouble with finding a cure for any particular one.

“Prostate cancer is tough,” she said. “It’s much worse if you get it early, at say age 40. You’ll need to have it removed. But not necessarily at age 80.”

Her father-in-law is on the cusp of 80 and in great shape. He served in the Navy, and I mentioned that once in a while I get a Navy vet who never went to sea.

“That’s me. During Vietnam, I spent a lot of time in Georgia training fighter pilots for the F-4. But the jet was wrong for that war because it couldn’t turn fast enough to avoid the MIGs, which were more agile and faster. We had a lot of losses…” he trailed off.

Navy SailorOn a lighter note, he said, “I used to fly a glider. It’s just like sailing. I go towed up and cut loose and glide all the way down. You can go 100 mph. I could fly from College Station PA to Raleigh or Port Royal and still land nicely.”

Wait. Aren’t you supposed to land where you took off? “Hopefully back where you took off. If not, maybe a nearby cornfield. But be sure to go back and compensate the farmer for his lost crop. After a while, I thought this is too expensive for me, so I quit.”

Gals’ Day Out

Two moms from Utah were visiting Williamsburg and decided to go sail the York River on a warm Spring afternoon. Jessica Montgomery said, “I just sent my youngest off to university, so I thought travel would be a nice next step.”

Gal's Day OutHer friend Katt Peterson owns a small catering company and makes house calls as well  for private parties. “I pack up my stuff and take it to their kitchen to do the dinner, and I clean up as well.”

Katt’s son is 19 and serves in the US Navy as a submariner. Jessica asked if they have anyone assigned to rescue a man overboard. “Yes,” Katt responded. “This stout guy wears very short shorts like you’d see on a teenage girl. But he wears a dress shirt with insignia. Very weird.” We talked about whether those on deck wear magnetized boots. “I’ll have to ask him.”

Gals' Day OUt

Hondurans Sail

Three sisters from Honduras booked a sail with their respective husbands on a brisk Spring afternoon. One of the sisters dropped out at the last minute since she was eight months pregnant. The rest of us sailed away.

One of the husbands was Arturo Castellano, who teaches at the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary. “I teach analytics of Big Data to undergraduates and graduate students,” he replied in response to specifics.

Hondurans SailI asked if he can discern Artificial Intelligence plagiarism. “Yes, but it’s very hard. I tell my students that they can’t use AI in class, or for homework, or for writing their papers.”

Do you use it. “Oh yes. I find it can reduce an hour’s worth of work to only 20 minutes, which allows me to do other work more efficiently. I use it for writing and coding.”

Later, I delved into Honduras and the Mexican border problem. Arturo has clearly been asked about this before.

“Honduras, El Salvador, all of Central America are suffering from government corruption. The cities are better off than the rural sections, where gangs predominate.

These gangs are intermediaries for drug trafficking from South America, and they are quite violent. That is why so many people are freeing to America, thinking the grass is greener. The previous president of Honduras was arrested for drug corruption. He was tried and convicted in New York and sits in jail today.”

Hondurans Sail

Women enjoy sailing today more than ever, and particularly a romantic cruise. Couples get to enjoy a romantic getaway as they sit up on the bow for privacy, and Let’s Go Sail provides professional photos for free. First-time or skilled mariners are welcome to sail a modern-32-foot sailboat in a unique setting of wildlife and Fall foliage or Spring bloom. It makes for an extraordinary anniversary idea.

Let’s Go Sail

Check rates and pick a day for a sailboat charter. Scroll down reviews on Trip Advisor. Go back to the home page of Williamsburg Charter Sails.   

The best Williamsburg boat tour offers safe “social distance sailing” daily for up to 6 people. It’s an extraordinary experience for couples. Leave your worries behind. Enjoy the thrill of moving with the wind without a care in the world. Put life back on an even keel with a romantic experience for a birthday or anniversary. 3-hour sailboat cruise as a semi-private yachting charter lets you exhale and relax as you enjoy comfort, stability and speed.

circumnavigation sail circumnavigation sail circumnavigation sail circumnavigation sail circumnavigation sail

More from the Captain...