Mike and Kim Talbot moved from Las Vegas to Williamsburg to be closer to their daughter. They were eager to get out on the water, which Vegas lacks considerably.
But first, they were held up driving across the Coleman Bridge because a US Navy warship was transiting on the way to the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. They were backed up a mile on Route 17 and weren’t quite sure why.
As we motored out of Sara Creek, I saw the schooner Alliance off in the distance with bare poles, headed due east. On marine radio, the captain said they were heading for the Newport News Shipyard for an overhaul before leaving for the Great Lakes. A smaller ship will replace it as the tourist touring boat of Yorktown.
Then we altered course slightly to allow passage of the tugboat Ranger as it pushed a spoils scow downriver.
Once we sailed into the river, the Talbots could see the USS Thomas Hudner off in the distance a few miles away. We sailed under the bridge to see the ship more closely. It’s a cruise missile destroyer, and I showed them where the missiles are launched at mid-ship. A Navy patrol boat stood guard dead-center at the firing tubes.
Mike did an admirable job on the helm as we heeled to 20 degrees. He got the drift of sailing quickly, and we zoomed along. On the way back to the bridge, we heard radio traffic of another Navy warship coming our way.
We made it under the bridge as the troop carrier USS Carter Hall was making the turn at the Coast Guard Training Center dock. We stood close off the beach at VIMS so the couple could watch the bridge open for the Hudner. Afterward, one of the two spans got stuck for a few minutes before we finally heard the clang of the closure. If you look closely in the photo at right, you can see the tugboat pilot getting ready to jump from the port side of the tug to the starboard side of the ship.
“Amazing” and “Unbelievable” and “Wow!” pretty much captured the Talbots’ experience. They will be back.
I showed them how they could get closer to the two ships by observing them through the trees as the drive home on the Colonial Parkway. There’s an open section of foliage once you pass the base cemetery where you get a clear view. BTW, it’s also the best view of a submarine in port. But NWS has since constructed a black box to simulate the profile of the conn, as you can compare in these two photos.
Saturday’s sail was postponed until Sunday for better weather. It was rained out due more to high winds than anything else. Winds were steady at 20 mph and gusting to 40. Normally that would convey as significant whitecap activity, but not today. That’s because the wind was coming out of the west, over the tree line at Yorktown.
Had the winds come out of the northwest, the surf would have built up significantly to 3-4 foot troughs. But in this case the trees blocked the wind from building the seas. This photo is taken from the Gloucester Point boat ramp near the Coleman Bridge. Earlier this week, rescue crews hauled out a car that went in the water 15 years ago. Go figure.
Still, the wind was sufficient to require doubling up the lines on the stern of Let’s Go Sail, since the standard lines only hook onto one horn. The wind also started to unfurl the main, which would have been unfortunate. Elsewhere, I checked on the newly freed throttle housing and re-lubed it for easy movement. It is probably bad luck, but I can say with assurance that everything on the boat works perfectly.
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 & speed.
I get asked a lot about fishing in the York River. We don’t do it because Murphy’s Law holds that the fishing hook will get caught in the mainsail. And the fishing line will get caught on the rudder – or worse, the prop. The chart at right came from a presentation at the annual fishing update by numerous agencies participating in a VIMS workshop. BSB refers to sea bass; I had to look it up, since I’m fish impaired.
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.
Sure enough, Sunday turned out bright and less breezy albeit chilly. Emilia Barlow surprised her beau Chris Swain with a sail on the York, which he was familiar with. He grew up in nearby Poquoson and boated as a youngster.
The boat heeled to 20 degrees early on, so we let out the main to stabilize things. I assured them the boat could not turn over. “Like that sign on the back of a Jeep,” Christ joked, “If you can read this, turn me upside.”
Emilia works for Bank of America in Virginia Beach, so I asked about tellers still reconciling people’s checkbooks. “A lot of people don’t used check registers anymore because they do all their banking online with a phone app,” she said. “Within five years you won’t see checks in circulation anymore.”
That surprised me, so I turned to bank robbing. She said it wasn’t much of a problem now because security and cameras are so prevalent. I asked how much each teller had on hand and was surprised when she said $25,000 cash. Each teller!
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