Sail Impasse

A family from Peoria IL got to see the sight of a lifetime while touring Williamsburg. Nicole and Scott Kimmerle took Grandma and their children sailing on the York River, where they saw a US Navy warship transit the Coleman Bridge.

Or tried to. Two Moran tugboats from Norfolk preceded the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile cruiser, into the river and under the bridge, where they would escort it into the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station.

A the Cook passed the USCG Training Center dock, we could hear on the working Channel 13 when the Surrie Moran radioed the ship: “Warship 75, be advised the bridge is stuck and won’t open.”

Sail ImpasseThe ship slowly stopped and responded, “Tugboats, you need to come out here to board the pilot from here.” They usually board the pilot just under the bridge, but in this case the tugs were needed to guide the ship as it resumed speed.

It took 10 or 15 minutes, but eventually the span opened and the Naval traffic proceeded. Usually, the bridge gets stuck after the passage when the south span fails to link up with the fixed bridge. Clearly something is wrong.

Sail Impasse

In the afternoon, another family went sailing under the guidance of Jeremy Reed of Springfield MO. Their friend asked Jeremy’s wife how he proposed. Jeremy responded:

Sail Impasse“On the water, ironically,” since we were on the water. “I had it all planned to take Melinda down to the river at night. I had cut a path in the high grass so we could get there easily.” She interrupted to include, “There was a can of bug spray in the weeds.”

Back to Jeremy. “I set it up for my buddies on shore to set off fireworks when I kneeled down to propose. But by then it was dark and they couldn’t see us. Eventually they set them off.”

Sail Impasse II

Sail Impasse II

While driving up Route 17 on the way to the marina, I saw the electronic message board that the Coleman Bridge was set for a 1 pm opening, presumably for a ship transit. When my family cruise went out at 2:30, we noticed the bridge opening at 3 pm. That meant that two hours passed from the scheduled opening to the actual opening. I wondered if they encountered the same problem from earlier in the week.

Regardless, the USS Donald Cook glided through the bridge and back to NOR. I looked up and sure enough, the bridge was once again stuck at the very end, where the south side fails to hook up quickly with the mainland section. Eventually it worked, but still.

We sailed up and down the open expanse off Yorktown in light breezes that occasionally gusted. One fellow who helmed the boat was David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. I asked him about the state of newspapers.

“They’re fine, the good ones. We’re fine, the school itself. Our daily newspaper, The Missourian, is the community paper for Columbia. We have affiliations with NBC TV and NPR.” More from Wikipedia:

Vox, a monthly entertainment magazine; Missouri Business Alert, a digital newsroom that publishes the top business news from across the state; Missouri Digital News, a state government reporting program based in Jefferson City; Global Journalist, a converged newsroom producing digital, broadcast, print and mobile content for local and global audiences; Mojo Ad, a student-staffed agency that focuses on the 18-to-24 age Youth and Young Adult (YAYA) market; and AdZou, the strategic communication capstone agency.

Sail Impasse IIHis daughter-in-law Lindsay Wright posed on the bow in a variation of the “Titanic” wave.

I asked if Mizou is still the top ranked journalism school in America. “Yes, it is. I had this conversation with my counterpart at Arizona State, who thought they were No. 1. I told him we produce more news in a week than he does in a year, and he admitted it was true.”

David has been recruited for the presidencies of colleges. “I could make three times what I make now, but I’m committed to the mission and love what I do.” He also has to raise anywhere from $5 million to $12 million a year in development funds, which forms its own special pressure.

Sail Impasse II

Back at the marina, I took photos of the demolition work on the long boathouse. Half of it will be razed and removed to put in travel lifts for medium-sized powerboats. I asked a worker how it was going, and he wasn’t pleased. “One of our big pieces of equipment has been down for a week, so we’re trying to work around that. But it’s slow. I sure wish I could be out on one of these boats instead.”

Hail Sail

Hail Sail

Three daughters and their mom went on a girls’ day out sail on a quiet Saturday morning. They live in South Dakota, where they got to talking about hailstorms they’ve encountered.

“We see hail the size of baseballs, and they come crashing down on everything. It can ruin your car and break the windshield,” said one. “Mine got hit everywhere but the sunroof,” said another.

Hail Sail

“Car dealerships build metal canopies on the lot to shield their cars from damage. Of course, they have to replace the canopies. My car looked like it was riddled with bullets. So many cars are damaged that the insurance companies set up drive-through claims sections to process everyone. And the cows! The hail hits them in the head and kills them quickly, an entire herd.”

Sailing Home

Two disparate couples went sailing while on vacation, one experienced and the other a novice. Frank and Priscilla Harper live in Fredericksburg and are building a house in Norfolk to be closer to their Navy daughter.

Priscilla moved like a cat all over the boat, taking pictures. She spoke of taking shots of an extraordinary man’s boat.

Sailing HomeRichard Dudman was a journalist in Vietnam who along with a colleague was captured and held prisoner. They moved around at night, with hoods over their heads and AK 47s pointed at their heads. This went on for 40 days until after protracted negotiations they were released. He survived by telling himself over and over that if he ever got home to his place in Maine he was going to build a boat. And he did. He called the book ‘40 Days with the Enemy.'”

Later she talked about how she and Frank got into fostering children in the Chicago area. “You can only keep them for so long unless you adopt them. Some of the kids are wild, but Child Welfare Services won’t let you communicate with the next set of parents to explain the child.

Sailing Home

“Once, I had a boy named Henry who was brilliant but badly traumatized by being passed around so frequently. They can’t relate, as result. When I had to give him up after three years, I wrote a note to the next foster mom explaining his behavior. ‘He will try to break everything in the house on the first day but stick with him. Do NOT call CWS. Call me instead.

“I listed his favorite foods, favorite colors, favorite school subjects. She wound up calling me that day and every day. Now we are best friends. Three years later, they gained full custody of Henry. All because I tucked the note in his underwear in his suitcase, knowing she would fine it when she unpacked him. Let me show you his picture.”

Today, Priscella and Henry’s permanent mom work with a national coalition striving to reform custody laws to allow interaction among subsequent parents, among other changes. “It’s just common sense,” she added.

Crash sailWith an experienced and agile crew of four, we turned downwind and sailed under the spinnaker, to the delight of everyone. There was plenty to think about.

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.

USCG Cutter

USCG Cutter

The USCG cutter Wahoo docked at Yorktown after visiting nearby USCG Training Center Yorktown. I am always amazed in this era of clean energy that the cutter fleet still used diesel fuel and projects a terrible exhaust out the port and starboard sides as a result. They all look like this.

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.

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