Sailing with Cars
Question: Can a man have too many cars and boats?
Answer: Not if he can identify them all off the top of his head.
Stephen Coe and his wife Frankie came back for their second annual sail on the York River. They live on several acres in Trinity, North Carolina. He used to work for Hatteras Yachts, so he has a deep familiarity with boats. But cars are his passion, as he related while sailing near Williamsburg in brisk and steady winds.
“I had four cars by the time I was 16. Today I have 10 or 12. Let’s see: ’58 MGA coupe, ‘79 MGB, ‘78 MGB, ’67 MGB, ’76 Corvette, another ’67 MGB, 2000 Jag XK8, 2011 Volvo, ’75 Chrysler, ’79 Chevrolet Camino, 2003 Silverado pickup, and 2005 Mercedes turbo-diesel. I drive that one a lot. Is that 12?”
Why not boats?
I suggested selling some of the cars to consolidate the money into a boat.
“I promised one of those MGs to my grandson, who’s four years old. He can have it when he’s 16, but he’ll have to work on it. I’ve already got four boats. Just last week I was replacing the trailer wheel on the 20-foot Bristol sailboat. I’ve had it for 20 years and it still hasn’t been in the water yet. I paid $200 for it and a new one would cost thousands. I like to find bargains.
“I’ve got a 21-foot Stingray with an F10 Ford engine. My neighbor is a roofer who likes the boat. He offered to shingle my house if I buy the shingles and give him the boat. I can buy the shingles for $1,400.” We calculated it would cost $10,000 to roof a house, so that was quite a bargain.
“My cousin Billy and I once had a Ted Williams skiff. We were driving down Virginia Beach Boulevard one day when the back end fell off. I had worked at Hatteras, so I knew about boat repairs. We connected the two parts with steel rods and fiber-glassed the heck out of it. That boat lasted us for another seven years. Then someone stole it.”
Frankie prefers their pontoon party boat. “It’s just better and safer for the grandchildren. They love it.” Stephen said, “This summer we spent nine days at Disney with the grandchildren, who were there 12 days. I couldn’t take any more after nine days.”
Frankie and Stephen prefer active vacations. He said, “Yesterday we went up in a plane, and we flew over Williamsburg to see Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens and all the rest. The pilot was 26 but he said he had ten years’ flying experience. He was good. Last year, after we sailed with you, we drove to Deltaville and went flying there. It was great. He took us on barrel rolls.
“This week we went fishing out of Hampton, on a day boat called the Ocean Eagle. We caught 50 Cobia in four hours.” Frankie added, “And sand shark, little bitty thing.”
We sailed past the US Coast Guard Training Center at Yorktown and then past the Yorktown Oil Terminal, which was once a refinery but has since been rebuilt in China. They thought that was terrible. Everyone does.
“The first boat that Frankie set foot in was in a small Coast Guard boat off that dock. I was about the Eagle when it was docked there. My father was the storekeeper for the base. He served in Vietnam, and I had orders to go three times. But all three times, I was in the 82nd Airborne and they didn’t go.”
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