Two experienced sailors on two separate sails proved that you don’t have to teach any tricks to a not-so-old salt.
Linda Mauer visited the Williamsburg area with her husband and wanted to get back into sailing after 20 years. “I worked in SAR with the Coast Guard years ago,” she said, referring to Search & Rescue. “I was stationed off Thomas Light, near Baltimore. The boat wasn’t a cutter but instead a smaller quick-rescue boat.
“My experience was that people don’t go out on the water with the right equipment—or any equipment, like a marine radio. I remember one couple that went out on a Hobie cat with their dog. The catamaran flipped and no one had on a PFD. It flipped because a gust of wind caught the sail and the boom knocked him into the water. She panicked. A passing boater notified us and we rescued them. She was a basket case.”
We passed a small fleet of fellows fishing from their boats. Later we flew the spinnaker because Linda proved an able helmsman for what is a tricky run. Our maneuvering becomes impaired under spinnaker, so I had to be careful with two tugs that passed our bow with barges in tow. All three of us made radio contact all around to ensure safe passage.
Linda has done some serious blue water sailing. “I was on a 50-foot Gulf Star that passed the edge of Hurricane Andrew. Seas were running 15 to 20 feet, which we had to approach bow-on. That was a sweet boat, a sturdy ride.”
Today, after a varied career with the IRS and the Pentagon, she and her husband run a small farm in Culpeper. “We have 20 cattle.” I asked if they had names. “Yes, but I suppose we shouldn’t name them. Mary’s parts are now in the freezer. Rose is going to the butcher next week. Cows are very smart.”
People are not so smart. “Motorboaters think they have the right-of-way over everyone else. That’s crazy.” Linda was crazy enough about sailing the York River to make plans for returning later in the week.
We got to fly the spinnaker a second time in the afternoon because one fellow used to sail J-27s in Philadelphia years ago. Geoff Young was so conditioned the J-boat tiller that he turned the helm the wrong way at first. Some things stay with you forever.
Earlier we had on board a couple who both work for the Washington DC Police Department. That’s another story.
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