Sailing from Land-Locked Texas
A couple vacationing from the Fort Worth area took their two sons sailing on a quiet York River, where they got to appreciate the serenity of the concept. It proved unique outdoors fun near Williamsburg.
“We used to live in San Rafael,” said Chris Gilbert, “and I sailed with my parents on a boat this size. We would go to Catalina Island and sometimes sail for weeks at a time. My father was an airline pilot, so he got a lot of time off. He was pretty daring about sailing, which was funny because he had to be so careful as a pilot. He flew for Delta.
“The kid next door to us burned down their house while cooking meth, and that scared my parents into moving – to Texas. I have no idea why Texas, and it was landlocked as well. So when Bill and I made plans to visit Williamsburg, I made sure to go sailing.”
Sailing from Land-Locked TexasEarlier they went to Norfolk to attend Harbor Fest, with numerous tall ships. Their son Holden said, “I got to see the Coast Guard boats and put on all their gear. We also toured the battleship Wisconsin.”
Suddenly a few dolphins surfaced and began to approach our boat. Bill recalled an offshore fishing trip to Mexico.
“We were on a big fishing boat with lots of other people when I caught a 7-foot shark. It was definitely the catch of the day, so the captain went around cutting everyone’s lines so that I could walk around the boat as the shark pulled me in every direction. The captain helped by slowing the boat and speeding up in the rhythm of the shark, but I had to pull it in myself.
“I got the shark almost up to the boat but it got away, so we started over again. Finally I got him to the side and the captain gaffed it. But it about beat me to death. I thought everyone would be mad at me about the captain cutting their lines, but they were eager to see me catch the shark.” Protocol was that he had to do it himself. “That shark just about beat me to death,” Bill repeated.
Sailing from Land-Locked TexasWhat little wind there was petered out. We motored under the Coleman Bridge and saw the new American Revolutionary War Museum from the water.
I sent Chris and Bill up on the bow to enjoy the serenity of the river without hearing the engine. Their son Ty ran the boat as we circled the York. Their son Holden startled me with an extraordinary conversation.
Sailing from Land-Locked Texas“I’m a writer and I’d like to do research writing someday with a degree in microbiology. I like to write and I think I’m pretty good at it.”
He tried different jobs, including nursing. I opined that it’s no small irony that so many female nurses are overweight. Turns out Holden has lost 50 lbs.
Sailing from Land-Locked Texas“I did it in five months, actually, and went from 235 lbs. to 185. Eventually I’d like to get to 175. I don’t starve myself, simply exercise and diet. What I do is concentrate on portion control and do a lot of treadmill work. I feel much healthier, that’s for sure.”
What’s your mile time, I asked. “Seven minutes.” That’s amazing for anyone, much less a dieter. He showed me a photo of himself on his phone and I didn’t recognize him. Holden is 23.

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