My friend Tom Byrd was vacationing in Corolla NC when he spotted this 40-ish sailboat grounded off the NC coast. Unlike Nags Head farther south where the riptides rip, Corolla is known to be very shallow along the water. That’s why families can let their kids swim there safely. For mariners, grounding is the most humiliating experience because it’s so unnecessary and tedious to remedy. You can see a Tow Boat US motorboat off to the right trying to dislodge the sailboat. Note that the tow boat has a long line because he didn’t want to run aground.
Every summer for years, local activists Nanci Bond and Ellen Jaroncszyk have taken a memorial sailing cruise on the York River in the name of their two late Bobs, who were born on the same day in July.
This year they jumped the gun to go on earlier adventure. In big winds from the southwest, we sailed on two reefs to the USCG Training Station and then tacked west to go under the bridge. For fleeting few minutes, we saw a small covey of dolphins swim downriver and we followed them.
Ellen held the wheel steady, even in the gusts, as we zipped under the bridge to go see the two Navy ships at NWS Yorktown. An Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer and a Ticonderoga-class destroyer stood bow to bow. A Navy Patrol boat stood watch so we wouln’t be grounded anywhere near the ships. We discussed issues of the day as they affect Colonial Williamsburg, William & Mary and other institutions. They’ll be back next month.
A New York family chose a beautiful afternoon to sail the York on an adventure that had everything except Dad. Kathyrn Tippett and her sisters got to talking about the time when they were on another vacation when the subject of Dad came up.
“While we were away, the dog threw up at home, and all he did was cover it with newspapers. As if that would do anything. When we got home, there were little piles everywhere. Out of view, out of mind.” They laughed about it. I get a lot of memories of Dad that have some humorous context.
Just then, the phone rang and Kathrryn’s mother Joan took the call. “Really?” she said calmly. “All over the place?” Dad had just gotten home from work and discovered that the dog had thrown up in the house. The girls were astonished. “No way! What a coincidence!” The dog turned out to be a 12-year-old cockapoo mix. “Well,” Mom interjected, “at least he’s cleaning it up today and not waiting.”
Everyone took the helm at one point or another to get the feel of a close reach vs. beam reach. We sailed under the Coleman Bridge to NWS and cruised back on a beam reach as the winds subsided to 5 mph. Next time, bring the dog. “No way,” Joan said.
Bridges & Tunnels
On a bright summer day with building winds out of the west, a very attractive young couple and a family from Richmond enjoyed a sailing adventure on the York River. Quazetta Brown’s boyfriend Sergio Moya drove from Virginia Beach and spent time on the bow drinking wine together.
“I’m an engineer,” Sergio said in response to Lee Barnes’s inquiry. “My company is working on the tunnels for the expansion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel. We have to bore them very deep into the ground. We do it with a sort of submarine drill that brings the material up and onto a barge. The water pressure makes it very challenging.” Lee and I looked at each other in bewilderment and decided that work was not for us.
In the afternoon, the family of Susan Hutton enjoyed winds over 10 mph as we sailed under the Coleman Bridge. Her husband Chris said, “When I was a kid of 16, my buddy and I climbed up onto that platform,” he pointed as we transited the bridge. “It’s a good 12 or 13 feeet up and we dove off. Other guys made their way to the catwalk and jumped from there. They nearly got killed because it’s so high up.” Sixty feet, to be exact. “Very foolish.”
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A 40ish sailboat ran aground off the Corolla NC coast.
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails / Let's Go Sail
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