Sailing Under Spinnaker
People ask, “What do you do in light breezes?” Answer: We run the spinnaker sail downwind.
The Orr family of Richmond thought they might need oars on a quiet Sunday morning when they went sailing near Williamsburg. We sailed gently across the York River near the Coleman Bridge to see a superyacht named Hampshire that was docked at Yorktown. At the helm, Corinna Caldwell tacked back and forth against a strong current to get closer to the Hampshire. She googled it and found it ran 185 feet and had a propulsion system that smoothed the ride underway. This is from Royal Dutch Yachts:
Hampshire yacht has a steel hull with a aluminum superstructure with a beam of 10.10m (33’1″ft)and a 2.98m (9’9″ft) draft .This custom yacht is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system which reduces roll motion effect and results in a smoother more enjoyable cruising experience. She also features bow thrusters making her more manoeuvrable at low speeds.
We got close enough for me to ask Kim, who was on the bow with her husband Rick, to reach out for the Grey Poupon. We all laughed.
Smaller motorboats crisscrossed the river on a busy Father’s Day. Some of them looked quite elegant, and Kim asked thoughtfully, “What makes some boats a yacht?” I replied, “Ego.”
Facing downwind, we pulled in the genoa and I took the Orrs’ son Jared up on the bow to raise the spinnaker chute. They were in town showing Jared the College of William & Mary. They especially liked the format of the Sunken Garden, a yard the size of a football field behind the Wren Building.
In recounting the Siege of Yorktown, I mentioned that American and French troops billeted at the Sunken Garden in October 1781. We ran three miles on the spinnaker, and for the first time this season we gybed the spinnaker. Essentially we changed directions by pulling down the chute and reversing sides of the boat. I told Jared that it would be useful for him if he ever joins the W&M Sailing team.
Earlier, Rick and I discussed the disparity of college admissions. He said that the University of North Carolina diminished its stated yield of out-of-state students to 15% of the freshman class. Virginia colleges by law can admit no more than 35%. Colleges love out-of-state students because they pay three times more, and often pay cash if they’re from China.
Corinna spotted dolphins briefly near the Yorktown coast, but they disappeared below the clam river waters. Kim said afterward, “Thanks for helping build wonderful family memories.”
Mother’s Day Sail
Marnie Murphy took her mom and her family out for a Mother’s Day sail near Williamsburg. They grew up sailing on lake in Ohio and told memorable stories about getting caught in afternoon squalls.
We encountered the voyager sail canoe from Polynesia as it left Yorktown bound for Washington on a circumnavigation that began in the Pacific Ocean. Inexplicably, the voyager went out the York under motorboat tow. They didn’t raise the sails in a marvelous northwest breeze. Maybe they forgot the spinnaker, which would have been perfect. With Marnie’s brother Rob on the helm, we nearly caught up to the canoe, shown here with the tow boat out of the frame. Check out the video below.
Let’s Go Sailing Under Spinnaker
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Sailing Under Spinnaker
Family took advantage of light winds by flying a spinnaker
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails / Let's Go Sail