Sailing from SaigonPeople ask, “Where’s the farthest that people have come to sail?” Hue and Hung Ngo of Fairfax took their 9-year-old son sailing on a quiet day on the York River, long removed from their native Vietnam. They emigrated in the mid-1990s after eight years of processing by the communist government. “No siblings allowed to leave together, and no parents,” Hue explained. “It’s easier today because the country is slowly learning how to govern.

They realize the benefit of money sent back by families to Vietnam. You see modern houses today in Saigon of six stories.” Their parents still live in what was once South Vietnam, where “they tolerate the government.” Whatever became of MACV Headquarters at Tan Son Nhut, once the largest military base in the world? Hung replied diplomatically, “I was born five years after the war, so all I know is that it was repurposed.” Below is a video of modern Saigon today, aka Ho Chi Minh City. Except for the scenes of slums, it bears little resemblance to my memory of 1971.

Sailing Small

??????????It’s difficult to sail a small dinghy of 8 feet because it lacks maneuverability and stability, bobbing like a helpless cork until it capsizes. By assigning young children to learn how to sail these boats, many take up soccer instead. But Tom and Jennifer Rooney of Short Hills, New Jersey, found that their kids took to small boats with confidence.

Patrick, age 11, explained, “You get to learn the skills and acquire the instinct of sailing, but you don’t really learn the technicals or the names of everything. That’s for ages 12 and 13.” He and his younger sister Molly sailed Opti Prams and Open Bics. Patrick conceded his mom’s point that you can indeed learn to sail in the rain. “Yes, badly,” he replied. “And it’s no fun at low tide because it stinks in the mud.” His next quest is to join his friend who got to spend eight weeks in the Caribbean “sailing by immersion on a big sailboat like this.”

Sailing After Surgery

Sailing from SaigonThe last thing I would have thought about surgery is eating. But foods have to be pureed with just the right protein and calories for intubated feeding. That’s according to Melissa Williams, a dietician in the cardiac surgery unit of MCV Hospital in Richmond. She sailed the York on a quiet evening with her friend Ryan Bailey. And she explained that patients have to be well fed before and after surgery to maintain a stable metabolism.

“Their nourishment is based in part on their lab tests. After surgery they come back to me and I continue monitoring to ensure their protein and calorie intakes are extremely high, to produce healing.” One big fear is aspirating, which is why beds are slightly elevated. She’s modest about her role. “I’m just a consult service. I’m not calling the shots. Doctors can over-ride me.”

Let’s Go Sailing from Saigon

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