Marine Corps birthday

The day after the U.S. Marine Corps birthday ball Nov. 10, Adam Taylor took his girlfriend Meg Barnes sailing on the York. He’s a second lieutenant who has completed OCS and is now at TBS at Quantico for his basic officer school.

“The Basic School is in Virginia, so we were invited to the Marine Corps Ball. It was held at the Richmond Convention Center and had a thousand people. No, the oldest Marine wasn’t someone 101 from World War II. The oldest one there was born in 1969, which surprised me.”

Marine Corps birthdayMeg took the helm but soon yielded to Adam as the gusts played havoc on the mainsail. Adam comes from a sailing family. “My dad sailed in the Newport-to-Bermuda race for years. He’d regale us with stories about the excitement and sometimes the dangers. He knew about the [Bermuda] Triangle in the 1980s. He crossed the Gulf Stream many times.

“We grew up sailing off Newport and had a place at Martha’s Vineyard. I sailed there and all around the sound between there and Block Island.” Me too. I spent a year between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard—if only on paper. That chart was the basis for the intense navigation course offered by the American Sailing Association.

The big sailor

Marine Corps birthday“My brother was the big sailor among the children growing up. He put me to shame. I was rail meat and a grinder.” On this day Adam was a master, tacking sharply in brisk winds with one reef in the genoa. We slowly zig-zagged our way up the York River past Naval Weapons Station before turning to whiz straight back on a single downwind run. The wind was so great that we left the reef in place.

Earlier we saw a pod of dolphins around a man fishing in his boat. It was unclear whether he went to them or they to him, but it was clearly the latest in the season that we have ever seen dolphins. Usually they’re gone with the Osprey in late August.

Meg and Adam went up to the bow and sat on the cushions there for more than an hour, enjoying their privacy before he goes off to his overseas deployment. “I’m in the Infantry,” he told me. “Of course, all Marines are in the Infantry.”

Let’s go sail

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Marine Corps birthday

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