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July 14, 2015 Rescue, Sailing, York River

Sailing Memories

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 that was built in Japan,” Elizabeth said. “The man who built it sailed it to the U.S. after the war and sold it. It was a magnificent boat and we kept it at the Essex Boatyard in Connecticut. It was destroyed 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 that was their favorite.”

Later, she recalled, “Once, when he was docking, my mother was at the rail and fell overboard when the dock boy threw her the line. He continued on 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’s 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 was flabbergasted by the danger and she asked, “Don’t you know about thermals?” All I know is wind on the water. Heidi was 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.

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