Spring Sail ClassSteady winds on the York River proved the perfect classroom for the first of three classes sponsored in the spring of 2015 by the Williamsburg Area Learning Tree. During an intense six hours, sailors rotated on the helm to learn the close reach, beam reach and broad reach. For the last, we deployed a colorful spinnaker to run straight up the river after tacking back and forth for miles.

The next two classes will cover Man Overboard, Navigation, Fine Tuning, Safety at Sea and more. More than 100 people have matriculated the class over the past ten years. Many have crewed on other boats, some have gone on to charter their own sailboats, and a few have bought boats. One couple sold everything and sailed the Caribbean for two years. 

SailTime Class

Spring Sail Class
They work at the terminal

People ask, “Do you teach sailing elsewhere?” Brian Simmons and his dad Ken have long enjoyed boating and fishing. They went on their first sail with SailTime Virginia Beach and loved it. Brian anticipated a lot of heavy lifting and complicated maneuvering. He was delighted to find how easy it was to pipe up past 6 mph in 10 mph winds. “This is terrific!”

They both work for Norfolk Southern Railroad at the Norfolk Terminal. They oversee the loading of giant cargo ships for containerized cargo and coal. One question that puzzles observers is how these ships can withstand typhoons and hurricanes at sea. Occasionally the Sealand containers pop off in a storm. Then they float for a while until they sink just below the surface and are virtually invisible.

The hazard to navigation is immense, made familiar in the movie “All Is Lost.”  Robert Redford’s sailboat was holed in the Indian Ocean by a submerged container. See video below for how the containers pop off in a storm. When the big ships are emptied and head back across the ocean, Ken explained what happens. They take on thousands of gallons of water ballast to keep the center of gravity low and avoid pitching and yawing.

Let’s Go for a Spring Sail Class

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