Sailing the Waterways of the Potomac

Here’s a bit of trivia for you, compliments of David, sailor extraordinaire:  The Potomac is part of Maryland; every part of it, all the way up to the waters’ edge that meets Virginia.

On Sunday, David and Melody took us sailing on their Pearson 28, their pride and joy named, “Paradiso” (Paradise).  It truly is paradise; especially for David, who has a high-stress, high-level job with the federal government.  Once he is on the water, you can see the stress melt right off his face; pure joy.

Bruce and I felt honored that David would not only take us sailing; he taught us how to sail his boat.  Well, sort of…  David is an excellent teacher, don’t get me wrong.  But, a Pearson 28 isn’t like a Laser or some other little boat that can be handled solo with ease.  It takes a team to get it right; especially if half of us are newbies!



If you are used to handling a tiller, like I was in the limited experience I had sailing as a kid, handling a wheel is a different story.  Instead of pushing the tiller away from you to get the boat to turn toward you, the wheel turns just as it does in a car; turn to the right and the boat will turn to the right.  But, the wheel on a sailboat isn’t as responsive as a wheel on a car.  There is a bit of a delay, so it is easy to overcorrect; something both Bruce and I did numerous times before we got the hang of it.




What a blast!  It was a lovely day on the Potomac.  And, as we settled in and enjoyed the sun and breeze, we were informed we were in/at/on Maryland!  Quantico Yacht Club was on the Marine base, in Virginia, however, it becomes Maryland, as soon as you are on or in the water.  So, why not add it to my list of states traveled?  It is, after all, a state I have been to, but never stepped foot on!  That’s gotta be worth somethin’.  Put an * next to it, just like Barry Bonds should have next to his homerun record.

Melody prepared a delicious picnic for our little sailing adventure and we enjoyed it while nestled in a quiet cove. The entire experience kept bringing me back to my childhood, when Dad would take us sailing on our Cal 20.  Mom would pack us up some Hebrew National Salami sandwiches and toss in some fruit, chips, and Shasta sodas.  Remember Shasta?  They were inexpensive and pretty darn good!  Dad’s favorite part of lunch was actually dessert:  Frozen Milky Way bars.

After lunch, dad would take a snooze and my big brother and sister would sail the boat.  I was the youngest (Paul called me, “Motor Mouth” or “Mighty Mouth” back in those days.  Now, he just calls me “Old Fart”, every time he phones me on my birthday.  But, I keep reminding him that he will ALWAYS be 31/2 years older than me…).  As the youngest in the family, I was often pushed aside and told (or yelled at) to, “Get out of the way!”  Therefore, I never learned to sail as good as my brother and sister did.  But, it was fun, anyway.

I don’t remember my biggest sis, Gail, on many (or any?) of those sailing excursions.  She was the smart one, missing out on all that bickering…

Those sure were great memories; bickering and all.  And, being in/at/on Maryland’s Potomac, brought those memories flooding back.

Remember Fresca? I thought that soda was long gone!  My mom used to drink it, along with Tab.  I forgot how tasty that stuff really was, until Melody offered me one on the boat.  Of course, she doctored hers up a bit and added dark rum to the bubbles.  She called it a “Frisky” and it was gooood.  After we returned to Virginia (Quantico Yacht Club, that is…), I had a Frisky, too.  But, wait!  I was technically still in Maryland, because we kicked back on the boat to enjoy some happy hour cocktails, before heading on home.

Before we head out, let me show you something Melody painted- from scratch- in the kiddie room at the yacht club.  She, like David, is quite the talented artist.  And, she has an imagination that is such a joy.  Check it out!  This is sure to bring a smile and warm your heart.


Remember Turtle Wax?  Check out what those turtles are up to, at the top left side of the painting.  And, how about Elvis?  He’s down in the lower right.  In between, there are all sorts of fun things goin’ on; plenty to keep the kiddies (and their parents) smiling!  Personally, I like the dolphins the best.  Did you notice that it’s a male dolphin chasing after the female?  If I were Flipperette, I would have been chasing after Flipper; no doubt.



The following day, it was rainy and dreary which was just fine with us.  After having five perfect days of beautiful weather, who could complain?  Besides, we were content with spending the day, relaxing at Melody and Dave’s, not doing much of anything at all.  I had my netbook with me, so Bruce and I took turns catching up on e-mails and surfing the ‘net.

I was ecstatic after reading one of those e-mails in my inbox; a notification from my U.S. Masters Swimming team that a relay I swam on at Athens, in 2011, made 2011 FINA World Top Ten Rankings!  Whaaaat?  For real?  I had to look it up on FINA (world governing organization for swimming, including Olympics), just to make sure.  There it was; we were ranked 9th IN THE WORLD, in our age group!

I knew the day we swam that we had broken a state record.  That alone sent me into a happy dance; high-fives all around. But, then, we learned through another e-mail that we had made the U.S. Masters Swimming Top Ten, placing 4th in the country.  You should have seen me kick up my heels then…  But, this was awesome!  It was great news; especially coming off Nationals, where I didn’t swim my best times, due to a muscle strain that occured one week before the biggest meet of the year.  I still swam well (considering) and had a blast, but I was frustrated.

Nothing like getting great news when you are already happily humming along on a terrific vacation!

The following day, we said our goodbyes and began our rail journey back to Atlanta, traveling aboard the Crescent, once again.  Before we boarded our train, we wandered around Union Station, admiring the beautiful architecture and new renovations.



Our train ride back was pretty much the same experience as our ride up to D.C., except for our dining companions who were quite the enthusiastic and enjoyable couple.  They just loved being on the train; a new experience for them.  So, it was fun to chat over dinner, comparing travel experiences.


And, that is where our journey ends; back in Atlanta where it all began.  It was the perfect vacation; visiting great people who we are proud to call our friends, touring our nation’s capitol, enjoying great food, and doing photography; all while enjoying it with my favorite person of all: Bruce.

Thank you for joining us on our journey.  I hope you enjoyed reading my travel tales as much as I enjoyed writing them!

4 thoughts on “Sailing the Waterways of the Potomac

  1. Elaine: So that’s where you are….I lost track of you when you moved from San Antonio. Please send me your travelogues and your beautiful photos…..How is your Mom? Please send me her email address so I can catch up with things…..Love, Florence


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