Memories of Six-Meter Sailboats
Two couples from Arlington came to Williamsburg and celebrated their dual anniversaries by sailing the York River. They navigated a beautiful east wind that eventually turned to a light rain. A Florida sailor and her friend joined us in a fast day of excitement.
Denisse Paz reluctantly took the wheel instead of her beau Jay Sasporlas, and she did admirably by holding course in lumpy seas. No whitecaps, but an excellent wind of 10 mph. Their friends Jorge Pado and Xiomasa Plaza-Medira went up on the bow briefly.
The helm then belonged to Shari Hough. She looked forward to this trip ever since booking it from her home in Leesburg, Florida.
Shari said, “I used to race six-meter boats in the Pacific Northwest.” Her friend June Ward quipped, “She can go up to the crow’s nest if you need her to.” Shari replied, “It never pays to be the smallest, lightest person on board. They make you climb the mast”
Coming in at less than 100 lb., Shari packed a wallop on the wheel by deftly dodging waves and building speed.
“Those six-meter boats were half the size of the 12-meters that used to race in the America’s Cup, before they turned into spaceships” That is, the six-meters were 38 feet. “They were post-World War II boats, all wooden and all work. They had none of the modern technology this boat has.” Shari marveled at the self-tailing winches as ingenious.
“Our boats had no cabin, and they had two back stays that ran to each side. As we turned, we’d tighten one stay and loosen the other. We had a rule that when you went out in a race you had to come back with all the crew.” It was a joke, but the others thought she was serious.
“The fleet consisted of 18 boats, and they all turned out on Wednesday nights. This was in Seattle, where it’s always raining. To get to Puget Sound for races there, we had to go through the locks.”
Does she miss racing? “Not racing so much as the water. Anything on the water, I’m for it. Every year I made a trip to Daytona Beach to go sail with a captain on a boat about this size.”
We could see a foggy mist off in the west and soon it began to drizzle. I fired up the engine, and Shari made it into port before the rain got bad. Everyone found it quite exciting, but no one more than Shari whose face reflected sheer intensity that I took for happiness. “I’m glad we got this in. I’ve been looking forward to sailing for a long time, and I would have been a very grumpy companion if we got rained out.”
On a Higher Plane
June Ward said how proud she was of her son who just graduated from Medical School at Wayne State University. “My other son lives in Chicago. He wants to take me to the top of the John Hancock Building to the Tilt-Out in the tower. You step into a room that leans out from the building over the street at an angle of 45 degrees.” We all cringed.
Let’s Go Sail
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