The Future of Sailing

The future of the world and the future of sailing are in good hands with young people, judging by back-to-back experiences with two families.

Lauren Edwards took her family out from Williamsburg, where they were holding a small family reunion on vacation. Members came from three corners of Virginia: Blacksburg, Virginia Beach and Alexandria.

The Future of SailingEven though she had never sailed before, Lauren grabbed the helm and figured it out. First she had to overcome the tendency for the boat to head up into the wind. Once she added resistance on the wheel, she was set to sail and got the boat heeling to 15 degrees in winds of 12 mph.

Her sister Abigail brought along Aaron Wendland as her date. “I got to deliver a 65-foot motor yacht from Myrtle Beach to Nassau with just me and the skipper. It weight 167,000 gross tons and took on 1200 gallons of fuel. We handled it fine.”

The Future of SailingLauren’s mom Maureen Clancy brought along her beau Chip Hall, who had a different boat story. “There were 20 rich guys who threw in together in Bermuda to buy a golf course and the boats that go with them. They had a fine time until they realized they knew nothing about maintaining a golf course or all those boats. They hired a captain to do the work, and he wound up sleeping with their wives.”

That was awkward, but Lauren sailed along admirably. Others were offered a chance to steer, but by now they preferred her experience. “How long does it take to learn to sail?” she asked me. “You just did,” I replied.

Musicians make Sailing Sing

Then in the afternoon, Alisha Ali of Springfield, Mass., brought family members from Jersey City and Brooklyn to sail the York River in equally brisk winds. Once again, youth took over.

The Future of SailingAlisha’s teenage daughter Ameerah was eager to try the wheel. She faced a similar challenge as Lauren in finding the sweet spot of the wind without drifting into it. Soon she got it, and we sailed under the Coleman Bridge. The stiff heeling of the boat to 15 degrees unnerved her younger sister, so we moved up river into the lee of the wind for calmer waters.

Ameerah was so good for a rookie that I suspected she was a golfer or a musician. “I play piano,” she said. That made sense because pianists have better hands on the helm and are able to concentrate on the music they face. In the background we listened to island music from her mother’s native Trinidad.

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