Sailing with a Navy Carrier
While sailing the York River with his family, a retired Navy officer told me two stories about sailing with a Navy carrier. He stipulated they were not for attribution.,
“We were in the North Atlantic on the Navy carrier USS America in 1972. Along comes a 13-meter sailboat whose skipper had no idea how to sail. He wanted to go to Key West and radioed our bridge, ‘Captain, I have a problem. I want to go to United States. Will you take me?’ And he did take him! Our captain had the man come aside the hull of the carrier, where we used the ship’s cranes to dismast it and lift it aboard. There it stayed, with the mast lashed to the deck of the sailboat. He was confused and thought we were going to Newport when we were actually going to Newport News, which was closer to Key West anyway. Then, 30 miles out of Hampton Road, we offloaded his sailboat, set the mast, and sent him on his way. Three hours he sailed in behind us, without declaring [Customs].”
“We had a difficult Executive Officer who was very particular about details. He tolerated no breeches of behavior and no fun whatsoever. We somehow managed to get a popcorn maker on board. It was a big industrial version and very heavy. He found out about it and came to punish us. We arranged for a Navy photographer to be ready when the XO came through the door. Here he comes, and as the door open someone handed him a container of fresh popcorn and the photographer caught him accepting it. He couldn’t very well rat us out now, since he was caught accepting the popcorn.”
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