Let’s Go Sail offers discrete cruises that include Adventure, History, Lessons, Boat-Buying and Events. Birthdays fall into the Event category, and they make a unique gift. People from greater Williamsburg to the Great Lakes like to surprise their significant other by taking them for a happy sailing birthday.
Adults, teens and kids have all shared unique birthdays. They get to run the boat on the helm, enjoy the wind through their hair, and swim if the water is warm enough. Balloons are optional.
One time a few years ago, guests from different states took a sailing adventure on the York River, with two of them celebrating birthdays in a pure coincidence. They got to see a US Navy cruiser named The Sullivans stop vehicular traffic to transit the Coleman Bridge. The ship is named for the five boys in the same unit who died during battle on a light cruiser in World War II. (Their deaths led the armed services to break up brothers from the same unit, and in some cases give them exemptions from combat.)
One of the birthday celebrants was Scott Reinhard, whose wife Magdalena surprised him. “I told him that he works too hard and needed to take time off, specifically from 11 to 2 on Monday for a surprise.”
Among six aboard, Scott was unquestionably the most adroit on the helm. He’s a fighter pilot with ATAC. “We have 28 planes that we fly against Navy jets to train their pilots in defensive and aggressive maneuvers. It’s cheaper to outsource to us than to use their experienced pilots and expensive jets. We’ll typically fly in a straight line to let the Navy pilots figure out how to weave in and out to attack us. We can do dogfights, but that’s trickier. Last week I spent a week in South Carolina training Marine pilots.”
I showed everyone the concept of CBDR, for Constant Bearing Decreasing Range, aka Collision Course. You look at another boat and watch behind it to see if the horizon is moving relative to the boat. It’s vital in boating but invaluable in a fighter jet. Commercial pilots have jet, no horizon to mark so they put a thumbprint on the windshield and have a millisecond to respond to a collision situation.
“You don’t have a millisecond to put a thumbprint on the windshield to test the theory,” Scott said of fighter pilots. “So we use parts of the canopy itself to measure the bearing. If the scene through the canopy suggests he’s not moving, then you’re going to meet him very quickly. In a dog fight, you want to come in behind him to shoot him down.”
Air Force vs. Chickens
The Bradeur brothers and friends were intrigued. Warren Bradeur kidded Scott, “When I was in the Air Force in Louisiana years ago, you guys caused me a lot of trouble. You’d break the sound barrier, and the noise would shock thousands of chickens on the ground in poultry farms. They panic and bunch up and wind up smothering each other, as many as half of them. I was assigned to go out to the farms and try to settle claims with the farmers for maybe $1 or $2 per chicken. So thanks for that.” We laughed together. Happy sailing birthday.
Lakes of Poland
Scott’s wife Magdalena is from Germany and was looking forward to learn how to sail.
“This is so beautiful out here, so graceful. We sail on lakes in Poland that are so big you can’t see the other side. The lakes are connected so you can go from one to the other for miles and miles. Once we lost the thing you have for the lines (drum) and had to pull by hand the entire time. That was very difficult but it was still a wonderful ten days.”
When the Navy ship came into Yorktown, traffic stopped on the bridge to open it. Magdalena said, “Oh! My sister is a civil engineer and wanted to see this last year when she came to visit Williamsburg. But we missed it.”
23rd, Sort of
On another day, Karen Solderitch took her girlfriends sailing near Williamsburg on her birthday. Karen is an executive with Kings Creek timeshare resort, whose members are among my steadiest customers. The ladies enjoyed shrimp, cheese and veggies while cruising along the York River. We covered 23 miles, so that made it her 23rd birthday. Happy sailing birthday!
Every year, Chris and Marty McCurry of Spruce Pine NC try to do something special on their son’s birthday. On this particular day John Caleb McCurry got an up-close look at US Navy submarine barreling up the York River to the Naval Weapons Station. We sailed near the channel and had to hightail it north to the other side. Two Navy patrol boats escorted us with a brief siren wail and blue lights flashing. By marine radio, we could hear traffic from “Warship 52,” but no such submarine shows up in the Navy logs. The boat had steam flowing from the conning tower, not exactly a stealthy profile.
I later learned that the steam was “bleeding” from the con to ventilate it from the boat. Even though the sub is nuclear-powered, the same powerhouse generates steam for cooking, heating, etc. My Navy source said they usually bleed the steam underwater or at night. The sub commander has the option of ordering the Coleman Bridge to open, but he just sailed under it instead. “Warship 52” was a nom-de-plume for the short trip from Norfolk, where it was likely docked at the Destroyer & Submarine Pier. It turned out to be a Los Angeles class attack sub. “They live to protect aircraft carriers, especially when there was a Soviet threat,” my source said. “Nowadays they’re used for different missions, and they even have a platform on the stern for SEALs to deploy. They can fire Mark 48 missiles and Tomahawk missiles, which are stored at the Naval Weapons Station. It’s very unusual for subs to come all the way up here, though.”
Happy Sailing Birthday
Check rates and pick a day for a sailboat charter. See reviews on Trip Advisor from sailors like you.
Happy Sailing Birthday
Happy Sailing Birthday recounts several stories of people celebrating with a surprise birthday.
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails, Let's Go Sail
Book a Trip!
Let's Go Sail.
Call 757-8976-8654 or fill out
the Reservations Form
to reserve your date now!