Sail San Fran Bay

Perhaps the most difficult place to sail in America is San Francisco Bay. John Koshak of Germantown TN has done it. He took his wife and children and friends sailing for the History Cruise on a warm, flat afternoon. After I wrapped up the surrender of Yorktown, the wind piped up and we went from 0 mph to 10 in a few minutes. It reminded him of those days.

“We’d come out of Alameda Island, around the slot and BAM! Hit 50 mph winds on the Bay. This happens after 2 or 2:30 in the afternoon. It doesn’t build up like that in the morning. The current runs 4-6 knots, except at the Golden Gate.”

He used to sail a 32-foot Cal and enjoyed the Bay. “I took the family out for the 50th anniversary of the Bay-Bridge to see the fireworks. But a dozen boats chose to anchor in the passage we needed to get through. ‘This isn’t an anchorage!’ I hollered. Had to keep the motor running the entire time to avoid drifting away.

Last Call“So the next year, I was ready. We went out for the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. This time, I was ready. We got there early and anchored properly, where we could watch the fireworks go off behind the scenery of the expansive bridge. Well, the first set went up and we were inundated with smoke. The wind had changed direction so that we were smothered in smoke the entire time. Oh well, at least we got out there.”

We tacked from downriver to go downwind. Since he was experienced and we had young adults on board, we teamed up to fly the spinnaker all the way home.

Because they were living in Memphis, I asked about the Graceland scandal in which someone allegedly held a bogus deed for $3.8 million that had defaulted. I’m always curious about attendance, given where we live.

Sail San Fran Bay“Graceland does 10 million people a year, but the impact on the economy is much greater, $1.5 billion.” By contrast Colonial Williamsburg does around 500,000 paid, down from 1.2 million in the early 1990s.

John worked in the elevator business his entire career, but it abruptly ended when his boss called him into the office. “’How many years have you worked here, not including tomorrow?’” he remembered vividly. He went onto work as a consultant and has testified or investigated 250 cases in the last 17 years. “All but one was settled out of court.” The majority of complaints are hard landings.

“Everything you’ve seen in the movies about elevator accidents is wrong. There are no ladders to climb if you get out the top. There’s nothing to do if you do manage to get on top. And you can’t open the doors without a special tool. I talk to firemen about their experiences, and they say the facts are often wrong in the movies as well.”

Sail San Fran BayA fellow returned with a group for a second sail, this time to hear the History Tour. His hat spoke volumes to history.

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.

 Sail for Housing

Sail for HousingA couple from Baltimore drove 3 hours to sail the York. David Thomas and Jillian Harp enjoyed themselves as she helmed in steady winds as the waves built. She was absolutely glowing with enthusiasm.

David works for Green & Healthy Home Initiatives in metro Baltimore. “We’re all over the country in certain cities, including Detroit which is very challenging. We rehab homes with minor repairs, using grants of $15,000 to $45,000. Hoarders are difficult because we aren’t authorized to remove anything. So we have to go get another grant from Fannie Mae or Rockett Homes to address that.

“Our goal is to fix 1,000 houses, which I thought was too ambitious since we only do around 125 a year. The workers are all paid, no volunteers are involved. We started out originally doing lead remediation, and now we’ve gone full circle to do asthma remediation. I don’t work in construction or carpentry. I do big data with people, projects, efficiency, reporting, etc.”

Sail for Housing

At the other end of the spectrum, a young couple with five adorable boys sailed earlier that day. Andy and Crystal Hethcote moved from Texas to Upperville in northern Virginia.

Sail for Housing“I came out of the maintenance workspace. Today we manage an 18,000-acre farm for an oil and gas fellow whom we worked for in Texas. That farm was 65,000 acres. Here we have as the centerpiece a 35,000-square-foot lodge, with 35 rooms for guests who are friends, associates or employees. They also cleared land for an 18-hole golf course.” Is this Ross Perot? “No, but someone like him. He’s very generous with his wealth.”

We sailed for an hour or so as I contemplated the life of an urban farm with no need to commute in the Washington DC traffic. Casually, I asked if they had any horses to contend with.

“Oh yes, we have seven horses now. Between October and November we have 100 horses.’ Crystal added “Next month is the annual Upperville Horse Show, the oldest in Virginia. They have jumping and all the events you associate with a horse show.

Sail Army

Three couples enjoyed a warm Spring sail in the middle of Memorial Day Weekend. Among them were Sean and Lauren Fleharty of metro Richmond. He recently retired from the Army, and I could see in his Gmail profile that he earned the Combat Infantry Badge.

Sail Army“I served 15 years in the Infantry,” he said proudly, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Now I train security agents with our Diplomatic Corps under the State Department.” I postulated that the Benghazi attack in Libya was trumped up as Hillary Clinton’s fault when it was no different than any other attack on our embassies.

“That’s right. What was different was that it was a fire attack. That is, they set fires to burn the people out and the embassy down. That was a first. Today we train the staff to undergo a fire attack. We put them in a smoke room to figure out how to survive. We also train Secret Service agents.” You must have hundreds of them, I suggested. “Thousands.”

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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