A couple from Northern Virginia left their teenagers at home for a one-day adventure to drive south and go sailing on the York River. Katie and Sam Mangrio are in real estate, so we got to talking about flipping houses.
“We’ve only done that once,” Sam said cautiously. “A lot can go wrong, so you have to be very careful. We spend most of our time representing buyers or sellers, everything from $58,000 to one house we have now for $1.2 million. Some houses are in better shape than others. We encourage clients to do their own staging by simply decluttering to make the place look more livable.”
I tried to sell real estate while in college and was a total failure. “The job takes a lot of patience. Some people don’t like their boss. On any given day my client is my boss, but only for a relatively short period of time. I can work with that.” We sailed under the Coleman Bridge and close to shore to look at dozens of houses on the water. No one came outside to enjoy the view, which is always a shame.
“We have friends with boats,” Kati said. “One couple has a sailboat bigger than this. We should have them down here to take them out with Capt. Bill. We’ve sailed with them in the Virgin Islands.”
Sam mentioned another friend who has a motorboat at National Harbor, atop the Potomac River. “He paid $8,000 for his slip, and that was before the Gaylord National was built. It’s a 60-foot slip. He has a 32-foot motorboat and a jet ski docked there. He’s taken us up the Potomac in the evening, past Washington. It’s great to see all the monuments from the water.”
It’s great to have friends with boats, but two friends with three boats? Wow.
The couple was staying at the Inn at Warner Hall, a mansion at the head of the Severn River on Mobjack Bay. “Other couples are there this week, but we barely see them,” Kati said. “It’s so luxurious. We can sit out on the porch and overlook the river.”
Their son is enrolled in Jefferson High, the scientific academy in Northern Virginia. Sam said, “We don’t want him to become a nerd. He’s very much outdoors and is a musician as well. He wants to go into engineering, probably Virginia or Virginia Tech. Each class at Jefferson has 500 students, and 8,000 apply for those slots every year.”
Kati traded the helm to Sam as we sailed upriver on a lovely afternoon breeze. On the way back, I sent them up to the bow for a little privacy.
Next day, I drove to Norfolk to take a couple out for an ASA “discovery sail” on Willoughby Bay to learn the ropes informally and feel the excitement. As we departed Willoughby Marina, a Navy attack helicopter began practicing sea rescue drills, blowing up considerable spray. We steered clear.
A stiff southwest breeze enabled us to sail out into the James River, where we used Green 3 as a tacking mark. A strong outgoing tide made it difficult to reach the buoy, which was a fine learning experience in a small boat.
Kristen Myers attended VIMS on the York River and later Woods Hole at Cape Cod. She became a marine microbiologist and did three scientific trips to Antarctica.
“Yes, it was cold, sometimes 10 or 20 below zero. We weren’t allowed to go out on the water in boats if the wind was blowing more than 20 knots. It’s quite something in a Zodiac boat trying to get samples. One time, a whale and her baby came right up to the boat to check us out. Another time a seal jumped into the boat.”
Rich Myers is an orthopedic surgeon who splits his time between Norfolk General and Virginia Beach Hospital. As we sailed past the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, I told them that it’s been here more than a year to fix the restraining cables that snapped at sea. I imagine that it nearly decapitated the eight sailors who were hit by the cable.
“I worked on them,” Rich said quietly. “They suffered a lot of knee and internal injuries.” Clearly, some boats are more dangerous that others.
Later we sailed around Green 3 several times and experimented with the beam reach and broad reach to complement the close reach. As a result, the couple was teed up to take the ASA 101 beginner course for accreditation.
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