Sailing Summer’s End

First-Time Sailors

People ask, “Is Labor Day Weekend busy on the river?” Too busy for me, as a professional mariner. Labor Day weekend brought us to sailing summer’s end. It came complete with all kinds of amateur motorboaters who consistently drove across my bow, sometimes too close. While I lament that so few boats are on the […]

Captain’s Choice

Captain's Choice

People often ask: “Is it hard learning how to sail?” No, not at all. Two couples from Richmond and Lynchburg had never met until they went out on the York River to learn how to sail. What they got was a primer on the water and a rare view of a passing Navy submarine. En […]

Distinct Navy Ships

Distinct Navy Ships

People often ask, “How can you tell Navy ships apart?” Two Navy warships blew into Yorktown Naval Weapons Station this week with distinct profiles and missions. The USS James E. Williams is a classic destroyer of the Arleigh Burke Class. Launched in 2003, the Williams is usually part of a carrier strike force in the […]

Army Ship Maneuvering

Army Ship Maneuvering

People occasionally ask, “Does the Army have a navy?” Yes indeed. USAV Missionary Ridge has been maneuvering for several days in the York River near Cheatham Annex. The ship has radioed that it is conducting dive exercises and has asked boaters to stay 500 yards clear. At 174 feet long, it’s one of 35 Army […]

Sail Alaska

Sail Alaska

People sometimes ask, “Can you sail in Alaska?” Certainly. Tripp Wood lives in Charlotte NC and Alaska. It’s rare to find anyone who can sail Alaska. “My sons help as deck hands and first mates on our fishing charter out of Whittier, Alaska. I used to sail, and I’ve always wanted them to experience the […]

Sailing the Great Outdoors

Sailing the Great Outdoors

People ask, “Can you sail full-time?” Sailing the Great Outdoors is a way of life for a select few who cruise off the coast and sometimes around the world. Some days are busier than others with big ships coming and going. Winds can become at once fluky and gusty on the York River. We observed […]

Sailing Under the Bridge

Sailing under the bridge

Although it’s taken for granted by locals, the Coleman Bridge is a spectacular piece of engineering and a vital link between two regions of eastern Virginia. It’s an adventure to go sailing under the bridge. After the boom years of World War II, it became apparent the ferry from Yorktown to Gloucester Point would be […]

Sailboats and Warships Compared

Sailboats Compared

Arguably there is no comparison because the two experiences are so different. My daughter, who’s in marketing, suggested imbedding a giant billboard in the mainsail saying, “You’d have a better time on this boat.” So let us consider sailboats and warships compared. The biggest difference with the two tourist boats is that you get to […]

Ships of the York

Boats of the York River

  You can go for days without seeing another boat on the York River. Then they show up in multitudes, seemingly for no reason. In fact, there is a cycle to the boating and shipping traffic. Here’s a rundown of the range of boats and ships along the York River. Next, a unique factoid is […]

Sail Past Navy Ships

Sail past Navy ships

  Nearly every week, except during the holidays, we sail past Navy ships as they ply the York River to and from Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. They arrive usually on Monday around noon and depart Thursday or Friday morning. These ships are magnificent to see coming over the eastern horizon from Norfolk Naval Base. I […]