Local sailors from all over Hampton Roads converged on Willoughby Bay to learn the basics for certification. They joined the ASA 101 class under SailTime Virginia Beach, where they practiced all five points of sail in light winds on a magnificent Saturday for boating. We did classroom work for an hour before taking out a Capri 22.
Jasper Campbell is a USCG Academy graduate stationed in Portsmouth with Coast Guard Hampton Roads. I pointed out the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Naval Base. It’s been undergoing repairs to the restraining system, which malfunctioned at sea.
Jasper added, “They figured as long as it was here they would replace the nuclear core. Beside the Ike lies the Ford.” Sure enough, you could see the distinctive sharp edges of the flight deck of the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $5 billion prototype whose costs have ballooned.
“One of the big problems is the restraining system on the Ford, which is way too complicated and too expensive.” How ironic is that.
We passed a dying red drum fish, which struggled to swim upside down after being struck by a passing motorboat prop.
Jasper has been to sea and as a young man sailed the USCG flagship Eagle. “It has more than 20 sails and dozens of lines for each sail. It’s coming to Op Sail. You really need to tour the ship since it’s magnificent.”
He proved to be highly skilled on the tiller and during one stretch of light winds he tried something new. “Everyone sit on the leeward side to give the boat some list.” Sure enough, it felt like we picked up a little speed even if it was only an illusion.
We also encountered a new J-80 with a lot of young people on board. It looked like they were amateurs because the boat turned too sharply while tacking, but a closer approach explained it. Boys were using the spinnaker halyard to leap off the stern as the boat turned. Their centrifugal force accelerated the turn as the flew 260 degrees around the boat before dropping into the water. It was wild.
George Mikhailovsky is a Russian computer specialist, and we were all dying to ask him about cybersecurity and hacking. But this was not the time. “I lived in Siberia for a while.” I asked if the authorities sent him there as punishment. He laughed. “No, it was for work.” How cold does it get? “Twenty below. It’s worse near the polar circle. I worked at the White Sea where it was much colder.” I had heard of the Black Sea but not the White Sea. Who knew?
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