Jennifer and Curtis Miller took their family on a “glam camping” trip to the York River, and we wound up sailing to Afghanistan. They are active duty Air Force, so they drove from nearby Langley AFB to Cheatham Annex, east of Williamsburg. There the Navy has decked out the old commandant’s compound into weekend getaways.

Sailing to AfghanistanFrom there they went sailing farther downriver at Gloucester Point. Flat seas gave way to 10 mph and then 15 mph winds as we tacked downriver toward Chesapeake Bay. It was Jennifer’s first time behind the wheel of a sailboat, though the family has done considerable fishing and motor-boating. She did great.

The couple met in Afghanistan, where she worked in medical administration and he worked in medical infrastructure. She helped oversee the first democratic election in the country seven years ago, when Hamid Karzai became president.

Curtis said, “We trained medical personnel and turned the presidential palace into a hospital in Kabul. It’s a beautiful place. Our team of four people also built three hospitals in the countryside with 80 beds each. Then we trained the personnel. We also refurbished a big hospital in the capital of Kabul that was left behind by the Russians. It had 400 beds.”

Sailing to AfghanistanI asked about the weather. “Americans think of Afghanistan as hot and dusty, which is true in the south. Temperatures get to 125 during the day. But in the north, it’s much cooler. I once saw 14 inches of snow fall in eight hours. So to some extent, Afghanistan weather is just like that of the States.”

Back on the boat, we flew the asymmetrical spinnaker with the help of Jeanne Kushabar on the wheel, which is very delicate going downwind. I was praising Jennifer’s ability sailing when Curtis added a telling story.

Sailing to Afghanistan“We were taking a 40-foot ferry from Izmir, Turkey to Patios, Greece on a windy day. It was the last trip of the year before they had to close for bad weather. The winds were howling as the boat rocked up and down, back and forth, with waves crashing over the bow and the sides everywhere. Everyone on board was getting sick except her.”

“I loved it,” Jennifer beamed. It was her birthday.

Let’s Go Sail

Check rates and pick a day for a sailboat charter. See reviews on Trip Advisor from sailors like you. 

More from the Captain...

Danger Sails

Danger Sails

A couple from metro Richmond returned for another sail and brought friends with them. Donna Ludwig recalled the last time she and Buddy went sailing. “It was with my brother-in-law on his sailboat, slightly smaller than this, say 27 feet. It was a day like today and we had a

Full Story >

Arts Quarter Sails

Award-winning actor Glenn Close was the star of the dedication of the William & Mary Arts Quarter, a massive reconfiguration of Phi Beta Kappa Hall into a half dozen buildings interconnected. Before several hundred alumni and guests in the new PBK, Close expressed heartfelt gratitude for their support, tearing up

Full Story >
Hover Sail

Hover Sail

Three couples from Georgia, South Carolina and Maryland converged on a cool, crisp Fall day to pursue the History Cruise. But first we sailed under the Coleman Bridge to view a Navy submarine in port. Doug Boyd reluctantly took the helm, having once sailed S-28s in Annapolis. He talked of

Full Story >