The Coleman Bridge swung both spans open for the warship USS John S. McCain as it sailed past Yorktown on the York River. Jonathan and Zack Barringer joined the rest of their family observing the exercise as the ship proceeded from the Norfolk Naval Base to the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station.

Warship Sails Past
USS John McCain

Warship Sails Past Their dad Jeffrey noted that there were no Navy patrol boats escorting the ship, which was unusual. I found it odd that VDOT closed traffic 20 minutes early when the McCain stood still two miles away instead of the usual mile. What’s more, there precious little radio traffic came over the VHF to indicate the ship’s name. Jonathan made out the number 56 far in the distance.

Sailing Accents

People ask, “Can you recognize southern accents?” Virginia enjoys seven discrete accents, but I can’t differentiate them except for the lilting Tidewater accent of my wife’s and the tonier Richmond accent of the antebellum sort. Southern accents have been vitiated in the Williamsburg area by the influx of retirees from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. Visitors become surprised at how few people still “speak Southern.”

Sailing Past WarshipsColleen Schafer is a speech therapist in a downstate public high school in New York. While sailing with her husband and daughter near Williamsburg, she made some intriguing observations.

“The preferred accent nationally is from the Midwest, the one that you typically hear on the TV news wherever you live. People in New York City pay speech therapists thousands to learn how to overcome their New York accent. They can’t seem to do it on their own. I’m from Buffalo, and when I go home people accuse me of having a New York accent.” In fact, she has the slightest trace.

Couples Sail in Common

When three disparate couples meet on board a boat, all kinds of interesting conversation topics of sailing develop. Here we have a married couple on their 30th anniversary, a young couple recently married, and a man with his young daughter. They turned out to have the Navy in common as two served tours, and both women used to teach. As we sailed the York River near Yorktown, we talked about deployments, education, politics, children, and inevitably Donald Trump. The wind picked up and we stayed out an extra hour soaking it all in. Quite a day.

Let’s Go Sail as a Warship Sails Past

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