After a week of refurbishing at the yard of York River Yacht Haven, Let’s Go Sail returned to the waters of the York River with a Splash into Season 8.
The work consisted of three things that can only be done on the hards: wax the hull, paint the prop, paint the bottom. The work took 51 hours over eight strenuous days, much of it working upside down. Fortunately it was warm enough to wax and paint except for one morning of bitter cold rain.
Unlike most marinas, the yard crew at the Yacht Haven takes the time to wrap the travel lift straps in white paper to protect the freshly painted hull from damage.
A couple transplanted from Minnesota to rural Ohio went sailing for the first time, on Opening Day after the Splash into Season 8. Jennifer Andrews said, “Everyone knows it’s the law that if you marry someone from Minnesota you have to live there. So we did. After Eric retired, we moved to Ohio to be near the children and grandchildren.”
How cold is it in Minnesota? “Minus-20 is pretty cold,” she said. “But it’s a dry cold. Minus-20 in Minnesota isn’t any worse than plus-10 degrees in Ohio, where it’s a wet cold that goes right through you.”
They were celebrating Eric Melrose’s 50th birthday and were on their way to North Carolina to see their son at Camp Lejune. “Eric is extremely proud that he got promoted faster in the Marines than he did years ago, making E-5 in only 2-1/2 years.” Eric wore a Marine Corps baseball cap. Since it was his birthday, Jennifer let Eric run the helm all day, and he performed magnificently. Once the wind picked up, he broke through 15 mph to 15.1, a new record for Let’s Go Sail. He made a big splash learning how to sail.
They stayed at Wyndham Patriot timeshares, “where we paid only $300 for the week because we went through the Armed Forces Vacation Club.”
I spotted a cormorant (loon) and pointed out how he gets a running start to fly. “That’s our Minnesota state bird,” Jennifer said. I asked if “Grumpy Old Men” was the state movie. “Yes.” Out on the lakes the ice freezes over and people fish out there.” Eric said it gets up to 2 feet thick.
Jennifer added, “Entire villages crop up on the frozen lakes. At Mille Lacs Lake they have roads marked off and multiple cabins out there. The frozen lakes provided great shortcuts for drivers. We’ve even seen semis driving out there. Of course, there’s always some guy in a pickup who goes out too early or too late and breaks through the ice, losing his truck.”
After the loons flew away, we saw a few pelicans and a seagull. All of them will depart when the ospreys return from South America, as there is not room on the water for all them to hunt fish. “I forgot my Alka-Selzer,” Eric grinned, appropos nothing. “If you feed a seagull an Alka-Selzer it will make his stomach explode.”
Eric on the helm.
Late in the day, Eric asked me about my service in Vietnam and told me his fascinating experience. “I was with a team that went over there in the early ’90s looking for POWs.” I thought he meant remains. “No, we actually found a fellow. He was living in a village as a free man and rather liked it. I’m not sure if he was technically a POW or what, but we repatriated him back to the States. I learned later that he went back to Vietnam to live because he liked it better. His name was Andrew. He was in the Army. We were on our own, without any host Vietnamese. We found bones and fragments and sent them back carefully for DNA testing. I never heard any more about who they belonged to.” This response in Quora Digest appears to blow off the assertion, but read it through the last paragraph.
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Splash into Season 8
Splash has the boat in the water and a couple sailing the next day.
Capt Bill ODonovan
Williamsburg Charter Sails / Let's Go Sail
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