Sailing with the Air Force
After Hurricane Matthew, it took two days for the winds to return to normal. Grace and Jim Christy live near the marina of Governor’s Land on the James River, and decided to see if the other river had any wind. It did.
With Grace on the helm, we tacked down the York River eight times in a gentle east wind. As whitecaps appeared, the wind picked up and we gybed three times to return up the York and along the coast of the Yorktown battlefield.
We passed another sailboat starboard-to-starboard, which is different from the usual port passing. We were so far apart that it made no sense to go out of our way for a port passing. As we neared, we gave the queen’s wave as sailors are wont to do.
The proper wave
Then Grace said, “We have six children and one grandchild so far. When she was six years old we went boating on Lake Anna. She was seated in her father’s lap behind the wheel. When they passed another boat she waved properly. It was very amusing.”
Grace found sailing exhilarating. “It’s like flying. Our daughters are in the Air Force, and Jim and I got to operate a flight simulator for the experience. This is like that because you are totally aware of your surroundings and have to watch everything around you.
“One of our girls was in ROTC in college and during her summer training got to fly in an F-15. That was very unusual because they don’t give rides. The ground crew can work for years on the jets and never get to ride in one.”
By coincidence, six jets flew down river overhead at about 5,000 feet. Jim spotted them and identified them as F-15s, flying in three pairs. “It could be the Blue Angels,” he said. It was the first time this year we’ve seen F-15s at a visible altitude.
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