Surprise 40th SailGov. Northram lifted the lockdown for many businesses, including charter sailing, on May 15. Next day, Let’s Go Sail took off on Season 8 while practicing social distancing and clean surfaces.

People ask, “Do you do surprise events?” Cynthia Hathaway drove her husband and three boys from Chesapeake for a surprise sail on the York River for his 40th birthday. “He had no idea what we were doing until we arrived at the marina,” she said.

Surprise 40th SailNathaniel Hathaway is a Navy commander on the USS George Washington, now laid up at Newport News Shipyard to replace the nuclear fuel package. He’s also a helicopter pilot. “My last aircraft was a CH-53, which has seven blades if you can imagine such a thing.”

With no sailing under his belt since Plebe Summer at the US Naval Academy some 25 years ago, Nathaniel did a fabulous job on the helm. His piloting skills enabled him to tack nearly against the wind as we maneuvered inside Sarah Creek on the way home.

Boat Buyer Sails

Most guys who want to buy a boat have a vague idea of size and format. Along came Greg Lammers, retired Navy, whose wife Colleen brought along their family to test Let’s Go Sail.

Surprise 40th Sail“I want a 53-foot ketch,” Greg said with conviction. “In the Navy we were taught about redundancy, and the ketch has two masts instead of one. If the rudder fails, I can use the mizzen mast to steer. My hope is that we can cruise overseas one day, and I’m here to start the lessons.”

We went through the drill for Close Reach, Beam Reach, Broad Reach, Running, Hove-to, MOB, Tacking, Gybing and more. They had a great time, and I sent them links to more boats in Annapolis. 

Memorial Day Sails

Nash family went sailing
The Nash family

Tiffini Nash gathered her family and her daughter’s friend from rural King William County to go sailing on the York. Their route was unusual in that they didn’t have to cross the Coleman Bridge. Tiffini is a school counselor in Tappahanock, where the high school has around 100 students per class. Her husband Troy works for UPS as a logistics expert who models huge shipping contracts for Toyota, Honda and other big companies. They had a great time, and everyone took a round at the helm. 

A couple looking for something to do on a dead Memorial Day Weekend hit the jackpot sailing the York. Trey Creasy of Wilmington NC was visiting his gal Jenn Wiley of Williamsburg. She and I had several friends in common, including her stepdad Larry Cook.

Trey showed Jenn how to steer

Trey is a former Army medic who also trained in artillery at Ft. Sill OK. Now he’s in pharmacy school. I asked him how hard it was. “I’m supposed to say very hard, but it isn’t really. Some of the protocola are similar, for example compounding an IV drip. During one lecture, the professor insisted that the table for mixing the compound be stable and sterile to ensure safety. I laughed and said, ‘We did that stuff on the hood of  Humvee, which wasn’t stable or sterile. Just swept the dust off the hood.'”

They sailed all the way out to Goodwin Island on a wicked close reach. We sailed back on a flatter beam reach as they spent another two hours on the bow chatting and eating and drinking.

Amanda mastered the wheelOn the occasion of his birthday, Jonathan Raper drove his gal Amanda Kintgen from Lynchburg for a return trip from last year. I asked about his freak accident where a motorcyle T-boned him — on his own motorcyle. “My knee is all better, following 20 surgeries and five months of physical therapy. See? I can bend it with full extension.” I asked about the odds of two motorcyles colliding. “Very low odds, for sure.”

Jonathan has a 27 Catalina at Smith Mountain Lake. He posted on Facebook earlier in the day that he hard time getting to the boat because the dock was under three feet of water from heavy rains. “They didn’t want to flood the valley below by opening the dam a little bit,” he explained. 

Surprise 40th SailAmanda did a superb job on the wheel, having gained experience on the Catalina tiller. One could not help but notice she was drop dead georgous. “And would you believe she’s a grandmoter?” Jonathan marveled. She blushed and explained she had three children. The oldest girl at 21 just had a baby. I asked Amanda her age. “37… I got married young.” I sent them up to the bow for two hours to drink and chat in a romantic setting. The sun came out and the wind picked up and we flew the spinnaker for three miles. 

Let’s Go on a Suprise 40th Sail

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