Sailing Through a Storm
A young couple from Charlottesville drove all the way to Williamsburg and Gloucester Point to take three children sailing on the York. They wound up learning quickly about sailing through a storm. Actually, when a storm approaches is the best time to roll up the sails. Otherwise the sails provide too much windage and can become impossible to take in. We reacted quickly.
Heather Lutz is writing her dissertation for a PhD in applied health and psychology. Her husband Scott Lim is a cardiologist at UVA Medical Center. We tacked down river to avoid rain clouds moving beyond the Coleman Bridge, farther west.
“I used to be in pediatric cardiology,” he said while quickly adapting to the helm. “The intensity of the heart surgery on children was not sufficiently supported by the government because so few children need the kind of heart surgery that I do. So I transitioned into a field that installs miniature heart valves and stints through noninvasive surgery.” We tacked farther down river.
How small? I asked. “Two millimeters for the stint and this big for the valve.” He held two fingers almost touching. How much? “About $5,000 for the stint and $50,000 for the valve.” We kept tacking down river as the storm began to creep toward us.
I wondered how big UVA Medical Center has become. “We just added more beds, so it’s now 470 beds. I was in China recently giving a talk when they took us on tour of Hospital No. 6 in a big city. It had 4,800 beds, all under one roof. They have 37 surgeons working every day. I can only image the size of Hospitals 1 through 5.”
The wind picked up sharply, and it took three of us to reel in the Genoa furler. I managed to reel in the mainsail but lost the outhaul line into the boom. Heather and her small son went below, and I got life jackets and ponchos for the two teen girls. Rain began to pelt and then became a deluge as we turned on the motor and headed back. Scott ran directly into the storm, unfazed. Winds piped up to 30 mph within minutes, but the waves didn’t have time to build to any size. Within 20 minutes we were back in port.
Scott found the adventure exhilarating and asked for information on future sailboat rentals. The girls laughed off the rain, and little Kia kept his life preserver on all the way to the car. Teamwork is vital in a storm.
Sailing by Coincidence
After the storm, I returned the next morning to reset the outhaul line which got lost in the boom. I disconnected the boom vang, mainsheet, outhaul line and finally the tack of the boom. Then I gently lifted some 75 lbs. of 12-foot aluminum boom onto the bimini and eventually to a cargo cart to take it away. I set it up vertically at the bath house where I could access it from a set of stairs to the second floor. The challenge now was to send a messenger line down the interior to clear the other end. A very thin sailing twine needed to have a small but heavy object to take down the interior without getting entangled with the mainsheet which was still inside. I needed a surveyor’s plumb bob, but the best I could do was the metal shank of a small interchangeable screwdriver. It worked! I picked out an old sponge to keep out bees and messengered the outhaul to great accomplishment. The entire job took a little over two hours.
The two couples who showed up for the afternoon sail were none the wiser. They had several intriguing things in common.
Both were from Tidewater, one Suffolk and the other Gloucester.
Both men worked in industrial positions involving plants.
Both men have owned motorboats over the years.
Both had significant problems with their boat engines.
Both were celebrating birthdays by sailing.