Sometimes people ask if charter sailing ever gets boring. Not when I’m sailing with fascinating people. Like you folks, I told Kent Richeson as we zoomed out the York River on a magnificent southern breeze. “You see, honey,” he turned to his wife Beth, “we’re fascinating people,” Kent joked.
I wasn’t kidding. They brought their two daughters and their husband and boyfriend. One girl is into physical therapy. “I have my own practice, with nine staff,” said Sara. I asked her who the worst patients are, thinking of old people. “Doctors!” she said without hesitation. Because they know it all or are just impatient? “Impatient.”
Her sister Katie is pursuing her Ph.D. in cancer research from Harvard. She was animated and excited to be on the cutting edge of science. Beth the mom enjoyed the serenity of the boat on the water. She majored in religion at William & Mary and goes on a spiritual retreat in Maine every summer where silence is practiced.
The zen of sailing suited Beth just fine, interrupted briefly as we sailed under the Coleman Bridge to check out the wind on that side. Later we saw dolphins frolicking around the boat. We could hear them breathe.
Perhaps the most compelling sight was the two daughters up on the bow for hour, chatting. Mom looked on lovingly, and I told her that’s the best part of our own family vacations. To see one’s grown children interacting together reminds you of how wonderful it is to enjoy them and their growth.
While on vacation, all three ladies went on Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens, with mixed results for Katie. Sara said, “Mom and I had a full-on conversation in the course of the ride of how to stop this thing and get Katie off because she was so scared. She kept trying to get up out of the ride to step off, at high speed. We had to hold her down.”
On another vacation, they parachuted from a plane. “Katie asked a thousand questions of the instructor,” Sara said. Katie interrupted, “Well, did you see that story about the person who died while jumping from a plane? The instructor died too. You can’t do that without the instructor.” I thought to myself that these folks would be fine if their sailing instructor fell off the boat.
Brad Harris left the US Army as a captain after Quartermaster tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, I didn’t catch what Ryan Gough did, but he did great on the helm by spilling wind at all the right moments of mild gusting.
Later, Kent Richeson asked about the fish of the York River and was surprised to learn that the water is 60-40 salt to fresh. “They spent millions cleaning up the Connecticut River so the salmon could spawn and rejuvenate. Many of them had GPS chips imbedded to track their progress. One day the Fish and Game people showed up at the home of a fellow. They had tracked a salmon to his house, and of course he denied it. They found it wrapped in his refrigerator, but he tried to tell them it was a brown trout.”
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