We got closer to the Kalmar Nickyl for the first of several educational sailing cruises. It’s the state ship of Delaware, heading out to sea after an extended stay at Yorktown. They gave tours to educate the public on how volunteers replicated the entire boat, based on a Swedish design. You wouldn’t want to go up to the yardarm in a storm to drop the sails.
A couple from Charlotte NC brought their extraordinary children out for a sail. Mom Toni Tarbutton home-schools them, to great effect. They asked wonderful questions with genuine enthusiasm.
Their father Josh Tarbutton is a mechanical engineer by training. “I taught college for 12 years,” he said with some melancholy. “We aren’t teaching well in American colleges because lectures don’t do the job. Students need rea-world experience. Even a plumber gets to do field training before he gets certified. We’re missing a wellspring of teaching from every upperclassman who should be helping lowerclassmen learn their subject. I wrote a paper on this for the National Science foundation, but it got rejected.” I asked if he had written other academic papers.
Toni summed up their approach to home-schooling. “It can be reduced to four C’s. Parents are the caretakers for newly borns. They become cops when the kids are toddler because you’re cautioning them against this danger or that. As they become teens, parents become coaches. Then finally in adulthood parents become consultants.
Afterward, Toni wrote a review on Trip Advisor that tops the previous 650:
“Thank you, Captain Bill for our first sailing experience! Our teenage daughter enjoyed your jokes and claimed that sailing the boat with you was her favorite memory ever of being in Williamsburg. My husband appreciated your gentle and peaceful presence, which he believed helped us to be in the moment. As an engineer, he resonated with your knowledge of the physics of sailing. Our upcoming sophomore in college loved hearing about your life experiences, and she was amused by the interaction between you and another captain while troubleshooting his radio problems. Our teenaged son respected how intuitive and clever you were in conversation. The other teenage son liked your stories and your instructional bits on the mechanics and finesse of sailing. It was a joy for our family to spend that time with you on your sailboat! Thank you again for the lovely pictures!”
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.
Ship Sails In
Next day, we saw the US Jason Dunham rumble up the York enroute to the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. I advised the ship by marine radio that we were standing off on the north side of the river for plenty of leeway as it traversed the bridge. The Navy responded that I should stay on the Yorktown side. “No, I’m already on the north side and don’t want to cross your bow,” I responded. “Oh, I see you now. Stay the course.” As the ship made its way through the bridge, the tugboat Wendy Moran drew up on the starboard side to discharge the pilot to take the Dunham into port. They were doing 11 knots simultaneously, so he had only one shot at it. You can see him in the close-up under the American Flag, wearing a blue T-shirt and looking as calm as can be.
Meanwhile, the tourist ship Alliance II radioed the bridge to ask for a sighting. “This boat is new to the operation and has a rated height of 71 feet. I know the bridge is rated at 60 feet. If I follow the Navy ship in to the opening, can you estimate from up there if I can make it under the bridge?” It seemed like an audacious plan, and the bridge operator reluctantly agreed. Once the Alliance got close, he couldn’t see the top of the mast. But I could. I radioed Capt. Tyler of the Alliance, “If you attempt to go under the bridge, that will give me one less competitor out here. You’ve still got 2 more feet than the clearance mark.” He responded briefly, “Copy that.”
Educational Military Sailing
A breezy morning greeted us with sunny skies and rising seas. Joining us were Sandy Poplaski and Cathy Rouse, childhood friends who now travel together as seniors.
We got to talking about the military. “My brother served in Vietnam,” Cathy said quietly. He died. He was an Army medic who was treating a wounded VC child when one of our snipers shot him.” After the shock of that settled, I asked if the sniper knew what he had done. “I have no idea.”
Sandy said, “I took her to the Vietnam Memorial years later and found his name inscribed on the Wall. She got to make a paper rubbing of his name. It was very emotional.”
Sandy’s dad “was in the Air Force,” she added. “He like to tell the story of how when he enlisted, he got to choose his first station base. He chose England first and Los Angeles second,” like any of us would too. “They stationed him at England Air Force Base in Louisiana.” Everyone laughed.
The couple sailing with had their own military connection. Sam Look said, “I served in the Air Force. M grandfather was in the US Army Air Forces during World War II. My dad and my mom also were in the Air Force.”
Educational Young Sailing
We had a honeymoon couple enjoying light breezes. Brittney Leone teaches first grade in Northern Virginia, having taught other grades as well. She talked briefly about helicopter moms, disengaged parents, poor people who struggle with their kids in school, and so on. Reverting to the moment at hand, she suddenly remarked on the sun reflecting on the water as we sailed along. “This is just beautiful.”
Then we had a couple from Langley Air Force base learning to sail. Fortunately, the winds picked up to 15, which gave them the ride of their lives as we heeled to 20 degrees.
We got to run the spinnaker for the first time in three weeks, waiting for winds of 5-10 mph that are ideal. Earlier, it was too windy or too flat. Finally, a professional photographer named John Bunyea sent me his portfolio from a cruise with his wife. It shows a range of subjects seen along one cruise, including baby Osprey. I encouraged John to climb up on top of the deck of the boat to shoot at a more even plane as we passed the Osprey nest. He said later he could have used his extension pole, but you can clearly see the baby =’s head.
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.
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