Love is better the second time around, and so is sailing. Carol Logue and John Campbell of suburban Richmond reprised their cruise from August on a much cooler and blustery day along the York River.
Winds out of the east grew from 10 mph to 15 mph as we sailed directly out the river on a diagonal to Goodwin Island. To build on their earlier experience, I flew both sails full out and let John finesse the angle by carefully pinching toward the wind while not stalling out. He did great.
“I vividly recall boating with my father as a little boy,” he said. “I’ve loved the water since I was a kid. I build wooden kayaks in my garage now, and we go out on various creeks and rivers.”
Carol said, “We enjoy all forms of kayaking, including the rapids. The James River at Richmond has several Class 4 and 5 rapids. We also kayak near Rockets Landing. We love the outdoors adventure.”
Despite the bouncy seas, or because of it, Carol worked her way up to the bow to experience a rise and fall of three feet. She was exhilarated. “This is like riding on a surfboard, without falling off!” she shouted back to us. “Don’t speak too soon,” John laughed as he struggled with the helm.
I had him come upwind briefly to reef the genoa halfway. That took pressure off the wheel while maintaining good speed. As we neared Goodwin Island, the depth fell to 11 feet, so we tacked across the water toward the Severn River.
John alternated between a close reach and a beam reach when he turned out of the wind because the close reach heeled us to 30 degrees. Up on the bow, Carol loved it, albeit enduring some splashing from the waves. “It feels like walking on water,” she said later. “I lost my hat to the sea, but I don’t mind at all.” We perform MOB for hats, but I didn’t know she lost it.
We came up beside an oil barge anchored low in the water, so I radioed the tug Roanoke to ask if the capacity was as I suspected 30,000 barrels. “28, he replied tersely.” I asked if he was headed to the nearby oil terminal. “Nope. Waiting for the seas to calm down and will head out tomorrow.”
He was referring to a much larger version of what we encountered at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. Huge swells from the back of the last front of former Hurricane Nate kicked up from winds gusting to 40 mph out on the Atlantic Ocean.
Closer to shore inland, we watched a pelican soar just inches above the water, in search of fish. “He’s looking for that striper that I’ve been trying to find,” Carol said wistfully. Afterward they had a late lunch at the Oyster Company restaurant at the marina. They couldn’t get enough of the York River. Me too.
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