Two couples from metro Richmond enjoyed opening day of the 2018 sailing season with a three-hour cruise in brisk winds and sunny skies. They alternated sitting up on the bow, where excitement meets romantic contemplation.
Amy Lane took her beau Steve Litton sailing on his 42nd birthday. He said, “The last time we went sailing was a week on a 52-foot catamaran in the British Virgin Islands. It was the best trip we’ve ever been on.”
Their only scare was a close call by a ferry transporting cars. “I was down below taking a shower,” Amy said, “when I heard people screaming up on deck. Everyone was pointing at a car ferry that was barreling toward us. The captain pulled anchor and got the engine going to get away just in time. The ferry would have crushed us. It sideswiped another sailboat that was anchored near us. No one was on board. Later we asked a local woman about that crazy ferry captain. ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘that happens all the time with that man. He’s something.’”
Yong Chae surprised her beau Tim Tucker, who didn’t know we were sailing until we reached the boat at the dock. It was perfect for him.
“I have a sailboat and I’ve never sailed it,” Tim announced. “It’s a Columbia 28 built in 1979. How much do you think I paid? $300 on craigslist. It doesn’t have an inboard engine, but rather a well for an outboard to sit inside. I plan to get a long-shaft 9.9 horsepower for the boat and a short-shaft 9.9 for the dinghy.”
Tim bought the boat at a slip in Deltaville, the center of sailing in Virginia. I told him that any part or supply he needs can be found within a short ride. He wanted to learn about the points of sail, so we concentrated on the Close Reach, Tacking, Beam Reach and Broad Reach. He was quite savvy.
Numerous whitecaps suggested the winds were blowing up to 15 mph. We set the main full and reefed the Genoa to half, eventually to one-quarter. The boat heeled 15-20 degrees all afternoon, to the delight of all. Everyone got a turn at the helm, experiencing the different pressures on the rudder for different reaches. Yong performed the longest and did the best, tacking effortlessly and maintaining a target on land to steer toward.
We passed an oil barge held fast by the tugboat Roanoke. I estimated 220,000 gallons capacity, and it looked full sitting low in the water. I assured Amy and Steve that the barge was anchored and posed no threat like the car ferry.
As the sun began to set, we motored back to the marina. Amy said, “In all the excitement I forgot to break out the champagne.”
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Opening Day 2018 Sailing Season
Two couples from metro Richmond enjoyed opening day of the 2018 sailing season with a three-hour cruise in brisk winds and sunny skies.
Capt. Bill O'Donovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails
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