Written by JFA Yacht & Ship Consultant William Hefflin
My favorite sailing memory is far from grand sailing yachts or a journey to reach an exotic destination. It’s beautiful in its playfulness, its simplicity, and it still brings a smile to my face today.
The first time I took my wife Courtney sailing was just a few weeks into dating. We really hit it off and I couldn’t wait for her to be on the water. We joined a good friend of mine and his 10-year-old daughter on their 45-foot monohull sailboat on Chesapeake Bay.
It was quite breezy that day. Soon, we noticed a random beach ball floating by. We laughed and decided it’d be a fun challenge to try to catch it. Game planning how we’d accomplish this, we tightened our life jackets, tied up my friend’s daughter, and gave her a boat hook.
Courtney held the back of the life jacket snuggly wrapped around my friend’s daughter as she leaned off the swim platform. We were able to sail up alongside the beach ball so we could pinch it with a boat hook, and grab it in. We chuckled at how funny it was, proud our silly triumph, and soon spotted more beach balls. “Let’s go get the next one,” one of us said, and soon, we had captured 13 of them! It had been so windy at Sandy Point State Park, a big beach on the Chesapeake Bay, that the wind was blowing beach balls onto the water from the beach. We had so much fun sailing around playing our game. We loved the challenge of aligning the different speeds of the boat vs. the current vs. the wind vs. how the beach ball was blowing. We nicknamed ourselves “The Beach Ball Pirates” that beautiful day on the bay.
Some people can just feel the wind, and even though my wife had never sailed before, you could tell the way she tracked and held the boat – she was a natural. We sailed a lot that summer and even started racing because Courtney had so much fun that day.
We’ve been married now for 11 years and run a busy household with three of our own little sailors, a high schooler, a fourth grader, and a third grader. My oldest is a varsity sailor and my other two will be going to sailing camp in the neighborhood where we live, next to the marina I run. We don’t get out on the water together as much as we’d like in this season of life however we still treasure this first time we sailed together and always will.
William Heflin is JFA Yacht & Ship’s Annapolis Yacht Consultant who is an innovative expert who values integrity, superior service, and authentic relationships while serving the Annapolis yachting community. William says it best:
“I was born and raised in Annapolis Maryland and have traveled extensively through the US and Europe. I am an ABYC certified electrical expert with over 25 years in the marine trades. I am familiar with both power and sail. Looking forward to helping you with your new Yacht and getting you out on the water.”
— William Heflin III