Elizabeth Blatz and her friend Heidi Smith went sailing while visiting Williamsburg, and it brought back fond memories.
“My parents had a 70-foot sailboat, built in Japan,” Elizabeth said. “The man who built it sailed it to the U.S. after the war and sold it. It presented as a magnificent boat and we kept it at the Essex Boatyard in Connecticut. It burned when the entire boatyard caught fire in 1966. The story made the front page of The New York Times. They got other boats, including a Bermuda 40, but they preferred that one as their favorite.”
People ask, “How do people fall off the boat?” Elizabeth recalled, “Once, while docking, my mother stood at the rail and fell overboard when the dock boy threw her the line. Dad continued on with the docking instead of rescuing her. For years after, she would remind everyone that he kept docking the boat while she was thrashing in the water. ‘What else was I supposed to do?’ he would say. They were married for 73 years.”
Heidi took the wheel and got the gist of the sails. It reminded her about her daughter. “She studies at the Air Force Academy and flies on the Glider Team. They can go for five hours at a time, finding thermals to take them back up.” I looked flabbergasted by the danger and she asked, “Don’t you know about thermals?” All I know is wind on the water. Heidi felt less apprehensive about her daughter, having flown in her father’s single-engine plane as a child. “It weighed 600 pounds. There are Harley-Davidson motorcycles that weigh more.”
We glided along, safely.
Dolphins Close By
Bonnie and I took a rare day off in July 2015 and went sailing. Out near the R-24 marker we encountered multiple sets of dolphin swimming toward the boat, behind us, and around the boat. They frolicked for a minute or more and disappeared. It was amazing, and always is.
For a rare look at dolphins jumping out of the water, check the first minute of the video below.
Let’s Recall Sailing Memories
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Sailing Memories recalls good times on her parents' 70-footer, except when Mom fell off. Let's go sail.
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sail / Let's Go Sail