Sailing in May
People ask, “Do the winds pick up during the day?” A Yorktown couple took her parents and other family members sailing on a light day that turned into 15 mph gusts. They loved it. They had gathered for the graduation of John Bednarek from the College of William & Mary this weekend.
Julie Bednarek’s folks survived the Northern California wildfires and have since moved. Bill Hall said, “We lived south of Santa Rosa and counted 3,500 homes that burned. We didn’t have to evacuate, but embers were falling on our condo. This one (pointing to Julie) came out with her husband and moved us to a safer senior living home in Petaluma.” I remembered that as the home of Charles Shulz. “Yes. Julie and I have skated at his ice rink. He was a very modest man.”
Julie did a noble job on the helm as the winds began to build. “The last time I remember something like this was taking the ferry across Lake Champlain. It was very cold in November and my car was awash in the sea spray as we crossed in high winds.”
Then she recalled the time she and her parents were touring England at Lizard Peninsula. “The rain was coming down in sheets, and we went to see this shack on a cliff where locals were making things. You could see right through the floor to the surf 100 feet below, pounding the coast. The shack was shaking from the wind. ‘Oh,’ said one of the men, ‘you should be here in December when it’s really blowing.’ We left and went to the gift shop, which was safer.”
As it began to get really blowing, her husband Tom helped me reef the Genoa, and later the main. Julie’s brother Dan took the wheel and held on for top speed while heeling to 20 degrees. Tom used to be in the US Air Force and recalled flying gliders in Colorado. That struck me as the most dangerous thing of all.
By 1 pm we got to see the Coleman Bridge open as two Moran tugs readied to accompany a Navy ship. The USS Forest Sherman weighed anchor at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station and zoomed through the bridge. I radioed to indicate my position and course, and the Navy turned slightly to avoid me. My crew thought that was pretty cool of me to divert a Navy ship, but I assured them it was routine protocol.
Tom pointed to the hexagon plaque on the ship. “Inside is where the missiles fire from. I used to work on the electronic systems.”
You Don’t Say
Got to talking to my diver Matt with the about the sensitivity of my depth finder thru-hull. “I know what you mean,” he said. “One time, I was underneath a guy’s large Chris Craft once when I accidentally pushed his sonar thru-hull right up into the boat. I thought, That’s it, just take my company as compensation. I got out of the water and found a rag and jumped back in to push it up into the thru-hull. Called him to tell him, and he eventually got the boat hauled to fix it.” Matt paused, and saw alarm on my face. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this,” he added sheepishly. We both laughed.
The other day, Lisa and Bruce Meyer and I were lamenting the fact that young people aren’t learning any mechanical skills, such as what Bruce engages to restore all those tractors. “Tell him about your son,” she offered.
Bruce said, “He didn’t do much in schoool, but he always wanted to raise cows. He got with a farmer to learn about it, and next Tuesday they’re taking in their first cows on the farm. He’s thrilled. Someday the farm may be his.“
Later he added, “The farmer turned down $1.5 million for his 50 acres. He said, ‘That’s very interesting. I’ll get back to you. What do you plan to do with the farm?’ The fellow said he was going to build a mosque. ‘Very interesting. I’ll get back to you.'” (Sailing in May)
I don’t generally talk about it, but I have a detailed rescue plan for a medical emergency at sea. It’s the ultimate how-to exercise. I usually sail between Wormley Creek and Yorktown. York County has Fire House 4 at Yorktown and Fire House 6 near Wormley. Given an event such as chest pains, the protocol is to call 911 and give the dispatcher my Lat/Long in the York River while administering four baby aspirin (on doctor’s orders). (Sailing in May)
Based on my precise location, I’ll motor to Wormley or more likely Yorktown where an ambulance will be waiting. The big fire boat will roar out of Wormley and meet me to board an EMT while I continue motoring to Yorktown. Should take no more than six minutes. We haven’t practiced it in real time, but I’m waiting for someone to complain of chest pains. “Chest pains?! You have chest pains?! Watch this!”
Let’s Go Sailing in May
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Sailing in May
Recounts different stories about sailing the York River during May.,
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails