Learning to Sail

The Monroe family from LaSalle, Illinois, took the afternoon off from touring historical sights to go sailing near Williamsburg. Ed is a dentist and Nanci is his office manager. “We were looking for something fun and different to do,” Nanci said. “This was a surprise to us.”

Learning to SailEd wanted to learn how to sail and got the full Monty. He started by pointing into the wind so their son Ethan and I could roll out the mainsail from the mast. Then we gently caught the wind on a close reach and began to pick up speed. Next we put out the foresail genoa to gain momentum at 10-15 degrees heeling. Facing an east wind, we tacked down river several times and then turned around to go back. With the winds hovering 8-12 mph, it was sufficient to move but not very fast.

Learning to SailSo we rolled in the genoa to put up the spinnaker. Ethan went with me to the bow where we pulled the spin chute out of the hatch and hoisted it up the mast. His sister Isabelle pulled on the spin sheet at just the right moment, and Nanci pulled on the tack to position the sail best for downwind. Eventually we eased the tack to catch more wind. We went five miles diagonally up the river on a quiet, gentle ride while recounting the Battle of the Capes and the Siege of Yorktown. Once near Yorktown, Ethan and I doused the spin chute and we resumed sailing on conventional tacks.

We traded stories about difficult patients/guests and had a great time comparing notes. With 20 years in the practice, Ed can afford to be choosey about rejecting difficult patients. “I want to keep the staff happy, because their retention lasts longer as a result.” I had just the book for him, a dental marketing guide written by my daughter Wendy.

Let’s Go Sail

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