D Day Sail

The day before the 80th anniversary of D Day, retired School Superintendent Carol Beers took three old college chums sailing on the York. Another couple joined us. We got to talking about the sacrifice that so many men had made in World War II, and that women nurses were never recognized for their valiant service.

D Day SailCarol suddenly said, “Suzy, tell your story about D Day.”

Suzy Walker piped up, “They just found evidence of my grandfather, whose plane went down in France near D Day. The DPAA is a government agency that worked to find remains of POWs and MIAs, of whom there are 66,000 spanning all our wars. Lately they’ve been focusing on World War II because the children of those soldiers and sailors are dying off.

“They took DNA from me and traced it back to his remains,” she continued. “And now I have his dog tags. A big factor is local observation. People are still alive who saw a plane go down. In Vietnam, people remember where an Army helicopter went down. Observation is very important.”

D Day SailWe were stunned into silence. Eventually, Natalie Garcia at the helm said quietly, “My grandfather landed at Normandy the day after D Day. He never talked about it.”

We sailed quietly in a gentle breeze under sunny skies, grateful to be free.

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.

D Day Sail

Police Sail

Police SailThe Essig family of Patchogue NY vacationed in Williamsburg, and Shannon Essig took their young sons sailing on the York. Frank Sr. said, “I’m a cop — retired actually — my son is a cop, my brothers, cousins. We’re all with the New York City Police.”

Frank turned out to be a very good helmsman, finding a fluky wind and enduring a gust or two that took us to 20 degrees heeling. I asked about cops vs. firemen. “They’re the heroes, we’re the bad guys,” he said. “There’s a bar called suspenders where we hang out. The firemen and police got into a big brawl, and they took everyone in to the precinct. The Fire Department chiefs said it was just a fight and to let their guys off. So the paper the next day read, ’15 Police Arrested in Bar Brawl’ with no mention of the firemen.”

Police SailHe was at the base of the South Tower on Sept. 1. “We were coming around the corner when a tall FBI guy down the street shouted, ‘Go back! Go Back! Go Back.’ Good thing, or we’d all be dead.”

Back to firemen. “In the early days, they took the building debris from the Towers to Staten Island. There they had to sift everything on a conveyor belt to look for any body parts. Here comes a fireman’s boot with his foot still in it. When they removed the boot, they found a bunch of Rolex watches that he had stolen off people in the building. Never made the papers, but it would have had it been a cop. People love their heroes.”

Teacher Sail

Teacher SailLillian Pearsall of Raleigh NC joined a couple for a light breeze out of the southwest than shifted until settling down into a steady wind. She’s a retired teacher. “But I still substitute teach K through 8. I don’t like that time of year after final exams when the kids run wild. One year, the 8th graders were fiddling with the microwave in the back of the classroom every time I had my back to them. One of them put a piece of aluminum foil inside and started the oven. It burst into flames and scared everyone to death. I won’t do that again.” She held her close reach quite well despite the shifting winds.

Teacher SailLarry and Janet Wente were visiting Williamsburg from Texas. “We used to live in Denver, Iowa,” he said proudly after I mentioned that my daughter lives in Denver CO. “The place was so safe that you could leave your golf clubs out on the lawn, and they would still be there the next day,” Janet added. He said, “It used to be named Jefferson City, but since that’s also the capital of nearby Missouri, a lot of mail got diverted erroneously. We call our Denver the ‘mile-wide’ city as opposed to the ‘mile-high’ city.” Everyone laughed.

Sailing CorrectionSailing Correction

A lovely family of six took their dad sailing in brisk Sunday winds. I was giving my spiel about the Chesapeake Bay, describing it as the largest estuary system in America when a woman interrupted me. “In the world, actually.” Liz Smith added, “I’m with Lynnhaven Dive Center, and we work a lot with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. I dive off of Chesapeake Light,” some 16 miles off the coast. “In fact, my parents were married at Chesapeake Light — underwater.” All of us gasped.

Sailing Correction

Hazard to SailingHazard to Sailing

This PVC pipe was installed in the middle of Sarah Creek off the York River, near the entrance at R-2. The Virginia Marine Police said it looked like one of four corners demarcating a proposed oyster field. But aren’t they supposed to be outside the channel?

History Sail

Kalmar Nyckel, the Tall Ship of Delaware, is docked at Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown through Saturday, June 15. It’s offering 2.5-hour day sails and deck tours. Climb aboard this square-rigged replica of the Swedish war ship that brought settlers to North America in 1638.

History Tour

Go Fish

I explained to a family from Ohio why we don’t do fishing on Let’s Go Sail: The hook inevitably gets caught in the mainsail, or the line gets wrapped around the prop. Kelly and Dan Cramer are avid bass fishermen and enjoy the sparkly candy-apple finishes of bass boats. “The sparkly paint attracts the fish,” Kelly joked.

Go FIshDan said, “They make a GPS called Spot Lock that precludes you from having to keep the trolling motor on. It hones in and keeps the boat within one foot of the spot. The stern still swings around, but the bow is fixed.” But can you catch bass with it, I asked. “Not in Ohio, but in Florida yes.” We all laughed.

In other gadgets, the Cramers are 4-H counselors who have had experience in Africa on medical missions. “The breakthrough is the Foldscope, a paper version of a microscope that can travel lightly and is easy to set up,” Dan said.

The couple were the guests of their daughter Allison, who is a local dental assistant. Dan and Kelly work for the Columbus city government, he in Utilities and she in Administration. “We have 57,000 poles in Columbus, and at least one gets hit every night,” Dan said. Whichever utility whose wires are at the top are the owners, so they have to replace the pole. The other utilities switch their lines to the new pole.” Kelly looked surprised, “I didn’t know that.”

Let’s Go Sail

Check Couples and Family 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.

D Day Sail D Day Sail D Day Sail D Day Sail

More from the Captain...