Ninth Anniversary Sail
Having never been to Williamsburg before, Brian and Meg Scoggins of Chattanooga set out on a ninth anniversary sail by venturing out on the historic York River in brisk winds rising to 15 mph. Brian had never sailed before, but he had gained some visual experience playing Empire Total War. That’s a popular video game that assigns skippers tactics and strategy for 18th century sea battles.
I narrated a brief history of the Battle of the Capes and showed how difficult it was to shoot cannons from a boat that’s heeling from side to side in big winds. Brian said, “That explains why I had such a difficult time in the game; my shots kept missing.”
In the real deal on the water, Brian did well under a mainsail reefed to two-thirds out. He spilled wind just fine to maintain speed, which got us talking about the winds of a tornado.
“In 2011 we were caught in our house with two tornadoes bearing down on us from different directions,” Meg showed with one finger between the crux of two fingers. “They went right around us, destroying everything in their path. I think they were F4s. The paths are still visible today.” Brian added, “We could feel the air being sucked right out of the house.”
Brian’s sailing skills were likely enhanced by his interest in aviation. “I went up for a demonstration to see if I wanted to learn. It lasted an hour and was really something. But it just seemed like an expense that was too great.”
Back to the Capes: Out of curiosity, Brian and Meg drove down from Williamsburg to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. It’s the longest of its type in the world, 17 miles. When they traversed both tunnels and found themselves atop the half-mile bridge, they were directly off Middle Shoal Ground, where the British nearly ran aground in 1781 and had to pivot south quickly. That set them into the sites of the French, who in the battle eventually drove the British back to New York. From there, the French bottled up the Chesapeake Bay and the York River, sealing the fate of the British command at Yorktown. Victory was ours, the democracy saved.
On a more contemporary note, Meg works in imaging at a 300-bed hospital in Chattanooga. “When you undergo an MRI, it’s important that you don’t have any metal on you. Even a zipper can tear away and cling to the magnet. That’s why we prefer you wear a hospital gown. One man had tiny metal shavings in his eye and couldn’t do the procedure. He got a CAT scan instead.”
Brian added, “If you still had your keys on you, they would be ripped out of your pocket and slammed on the MRI magnet. And you won’t get them back because they don’t come off easily. The MRI runs 24/7.” Turning it on and off apparently is a big process, like that of a steel mill.
“What about the pin in my pinky finger?” I asked, holding it up. “You need to tell them,” Meg responded. Suddenly a gust of wind changed the subject and I never found out if my finger would explode in the MRI.
Let’s Go Sail
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