eNavy, Finally

Navy, FinallyAfter eight weeks of inactivity, we finally saw two Moran tugboats lumbering into the York River. That meant a Navy warship was behind them. An hour later, the USS Carney came plowing toward the range lights near the USCG Training Center. We were sailing on the south side of the river, so I radioed my location to the warship. The bridge responded they would turn early and take the middle course to the Coleman Bridge. It was a sight to behold, as it always is.

We waited to see the tugs come back under the bridge on the way to Norfolk, but they lingered after docking the Carney. Because, an hour later, another warship followed into the Naval Weapons Station and took assistance from the tugs. Something’s up.

Navy, Finally

Wedding Sail

Wedding SailOn a beautiful Spring day in May, a couple from New Jersey went sailing while visiting Williamsburg. “We got married two years ago on a boat,” said David Van Gordan. At the time, we were in the Bahamas on a small sailboat on a tiny lake. We went back and forth seven times, and I said that’s it—we’re done.”

Not so on this day, with the winds blowing a stead 10-12 mph from the west. We went back and forth to Yorktown, against the tide, running up 18 miles as David and then Debra masterfully helmed the wheel. They asked about dolphins, which don’t show up until June.

“We swam with the dolphins in Bermuda,” David said, “near the Navy yard. Yes, you can actually touch them. I had one come right up to me in the water, and as I spread my hands open, his mouth fell right into them. It brought tears to my eyes.”

This led to the obligatory sea story. “My buddies and I took a 50-foot fishing boat off the Jersey coast, some 100 miles and two hours out there.

Wedding Sail“We did it again another time, but the captain warned us. ‘There’s a storm coming. We can go out the edge and do some fishing and get back. Or we can chance the storm.’ I said, ‘Let’s go for it!’ Of course, we hit the storm and it was bad. One fellow started throwing up and then another because we were rocking so much in the waves and rain. The captain told us to lie down to calm down, and that worked. We lay down all the way home.”

Wedding SailMeanwhile, as the winds picked up a kite surfer came whizzing by from Yorktown. He was going so fast that his board rose up on a foil for added speed. The complexity can be measured by riding a unicycle on the water.

He darted in and out of Riverwalk Landing between two cruise ships, one big and one small. I used marine radio to hail the dockmaster and ask, “When was the last time we had two cruise ships in at once?” The young man on the radio said, “We have only one ship out there, not two.” He insisted he was right. A third party joined the conversation: “Maybe the kid should step outside the office and open his eyes.”

Wedding Sail

Eagle Sailors

Eagle SailorsA couple from Michigan took their teenage children sailing as part of their experience with Scouting. Darci Nanzer said, “Grace got her merit badge for sailing on a four-day cruise from Grand Haven in Michigan to Sheboygan, Wisconsin.” Grace added, “I was bundled up in three layers of sweatshirts, but it was still freezing out there – in July. There was no wind, so we wound up motoring much of the way. It was a 41-foot boat.”

Mom added, “Grace also has her Gold award from Girl Scouts, which is the highest rank. She’s now working on her Summit, which is beyond Eagle.

Eagle SailorsThe dad, Paul Nanzer, recalled a family experience in the BVI. “It was a big catamaran, and we did a lot of tacking. The plan was to do 50 miles, and I think we did 65. They get some big waves down there, 15 to 20 feet. But on Lake Michigan, we can go from glass to 14 mph in a few hours.”

He added, “Our BVI captain said that if we could sail the Great Lakes, we could sail anywhere.” I retorted, “I always say that if you can sail the York River, you can sail the James River.” Everyone laughed as we continued to tack downriver.

Dock Safety

A year ago, I lost my forward starboard piling because it tipped over after 70 years in the water. Finally, the marina replaced it along with 20 other defective or missing pilings. Mine is an end slip that makes it much easier for people to get on and off the boat.

Dock SafetyIn addition, I have a sturdy metal ladder to exit off the stern at low tide. The brace came loose over the past several years, so I fashioned a new 2x4x8 brace and cut a notch for a lower rung. With the aid of low tide and a floating work raft, I added the brace in less than half an hour.

Women enjoy sailing today more than ever, and particularly a romantic cruise. Couples get to enjoy a romantic getaway as they sit up on the bow for privacy, and Let’s Go Sail provides professional photos for free. First-time or skilled mariners are welcome to sail a modern-32-foot sailboat in a unique setting of wildlife and Fall foliage or Spring bloom. It makes for an extraordinary anniversary idea.

Let’s Go Sail

Check Couples and Family rates and pick a day for a sailboat charter. Scroll down reviews on Trip Advisor. Go back to the home page of Williamsburg Charter Sails.   

The best Williamsburg boat tour offers safe “social distance sailing” daily for up to 6 people. It’s an extraordinary experience for couples. Leave your worries behind. Enjoy the thrill of moving with the wind without a care in the world. Put life back on an even keel with a romantic experience for a birthday or anniversary. 3-hour sailboat cruise as a semi-private yachting charter lets you exhale and relax as you enjoy comfort, stability and speed.

Navy, Finally Navy, Finally Navy, Finally Navy, Finally

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