Nine people from all over America cruised along the York River near Williamsburg with various sailing, boating and shipbuilding news.

Sailing, boating and shipbuilding newsTom Jackson of West Valley, Utah, brought his wife and her sister along. “Our biggest body of water is of course the Great Salt Lake. It’s been dry, so the lake is way down. There’s a small marina with around 30 boats, and they’ve tried to extend the docks to reach the water. But it’s pretty high and dry.”

No such problem faces the York as it’s tidal. Our recent problem, minor for sure, was the rising waters when Tropical Storm Hermine passed through.

On the Mississippi

Sailing, boating and shipbuilding newsEd and Beth Setchfield of St. Louis joined a family of four for the afternoon sail. She looked over the river as we departed Sarah Creek. “Oh my gosh. The Mississippi is not nearly as wide as this. We had no idea your bodies of water were so big.” I asked if it’s possible to sail the Mississippi. “No,” Ed said. “Too much debris gets into the water when the river rises from storms and washes over the banks, sweeping stuff away. The river is also too narrow. It has terrific currents and extensive commercial traffic. Plus it’s just plain muddy.”

We sailed past an oil freighter named Stena Premium docked at the Yorktown Oil Terminal, where it was either taking on or unloading millions of gallons of oil. I looked it up, and the ship was built in 2011. It apparently came to America from its last port of call, Estonia.

Sailing the BVIs

Sailing, boating and shipbuilding newsColleen Burke of Seattle brought her mother, grandmother and an intriguing fellow from South Africa to sail away the afternoon. Her mother Vickie said, “This brings back memories of our recent trip to the British Virgin Islands. We sailed a 50-foot charter boat from island to island. We moored off the islands and took the dinghy in for dinner. That’s a great way to bar-hop.”

Vickie silently enjoyed the quiet rush of water against the hull of the boat. “This is such a wonderful way to relieve stress. On the BVI trip the most stressful decision we had to make for seven days was whether to have salmon or swordfish for dinner.” Everyone laughed. Off in the distance we saw a rare Osprey catch a fish and fly away. Nearly all the other Ospreys have flown away to South America for the winter.

Sailing, boating and shipbuilding newsColleen handed the wheel off to Eddie Smythe, who coyly said, “I don’t sail boats, I build them.” He spent considerable time building catamarans and has come to love them more than sloops. “I was born and raised in Africa, lived in three countries there for 47 years. Now I’m an American citizen.” I asked if Americans know anything about Africa. “They don’t know much. They hear my accent and ask if I’m from Britain or Holland or Australia. Africa is a complex continent. Americans need to stop bailing out the struggling countries and let them figure it out on their own.”

Lake of the Ozarks

Sailing, boating and shipbuilding newsSoon Eddie got more wind. By now everyone was used to the heeling, so Eddie tried to get the rail in the water at 25 degrees inclination. I explained how little children will go below in the cabin to look out the portal for the aquarium effect of seeing underwater as the boat rushes through. Then they throw up.

We were one of a half dozen boats out there on a beautiful summer afternoon as the sun began to set. Jean Nikolaisen sat in the catbird seat, taking in the scenery. “My husband and I have a condo on the Lake of the Ozarks. It’s much busier than this is out here on the river. We live in a cove, and they approved a big boat center near us. Some of them get to 60 mph, which is really dangerous. We petitioned for a No Wake zone but got nowhere. Finally they put it in because the authorities decided it was too fast at night.”

Sailing, boating and shipbuilding newsEd Setchfield said, “I don’t boat at night. Last time I did that I totaled the boat.” It seemed best to leave that alone, dredging up bad memories on such a beautiful afternoon.

Let’s Go Sail

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