As we left the marina in Portsmouth, VA, we headed north on the Elizabeth River toward Chesapeake Bay. We passed numerous Navy ships and container ship loaders, just as we had when nearing Norfolk in the opposite direction. Just as we approached Chesapeake Bay, a tug hailed us on the radio to let us know they were assisting a Navy ship into port and asked if we could swing wide to give them room. Of course we complied since we definitely didn’t want a run-in with such a large vessel. As we neared Chesapeake Bay, we passed the shoreline of Hampton, VA and Fort Monroe. Once out in the Chesapeake Bay, we finally got to raise our sails! While we have seen boats sailing on the ICW, it can be difficult to navigate especially with the bridge openings. Randy and I are not yet experienced enough at sailing to attempt that so we motored most the way. Now that we are in the Bay, we hope to do a little more sailing and gain some more experience.
With the jib and staysail raised, we averaged 4 knots for a short 22 mile cruise to an anchorage near Langley Air Force Base. We saw on Active Captain, that many times you can watch jets flying in and out of the base, however, we never got to see any while we were there. We did see several helicopters flying over us. We stayed at the Langley anchorage for a couple of nights before heading the short distance to Yorktown, VA.
We managed to sail some before motoring into the Yorktown anchorage in time for Happy Hour. The next day, we dropped the dinghy and took Sophie into to town to explore some. As we navigated toward the marina, we saw a catamaran named Shady Investment. S/V Shady Investment had reached out to us earlier on Instagram saying they were docked in Yorktown to watch the 4th of July fireworks. They were outside cleaning their boat so we stopped and introduced ourselves.
After meeting Curtis and Rhonda on Shady Investment, we walked Sophie along the waterfront. The downtown Yorktown area is quaint and immaculately landscaped. The buildings and restaurants are well-kept which makes a beautiful landscape. A deep history is apparent everywhere you go with statues, plaques and signage explaining the significance of this place in the Revolutionary War.
Yorktown harbor is most famous for the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, where General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. Even though fighting would not formally end until 1783, the Americans had effectively won their independence here. What better place to spend the 4th of July weekend?
A walk up the hill, took us Main Street where we found old homes, several bed & breakfasts, churches and the Yorktown Victory Monument. There are lots of signs to read about the history of each home, building or church. It was nice to walk Main Street since the road was closed to vehicle traffic. Not sure if this is normally the case or because it was the July 4th holiday.
On 4th of July, we went to shore to go for an exercise run/walk. We got to explore the town a bit more as well. The waterfront was bustling with beachgoers and families having picnics. Food trucks were set up all along as grassy open field. After our jaunt went back to Blue Turtle for lunch. Later in the day, we took Sophie to shore for a walk and visited with Curtis and Rhonda on their gorgeous Fountaine Pajot catamaran. We had a couple drinks and traded cruising stories that got us to the Chesapeake. It was so nice to meet Curtis and Rhonda, who are also from the Gulf coast of Florida. Back on Blue Turtle, we had dinner and waited for the fireworks. Watching the fireworks from the water on our own boat was amazing!
We decided to stay an extra day in Yorktown an extra day when we found out that our friends, Will and Tiff (@teamwiff) were in the area. They were headed to Maryland in their ambo-camper (ambulance converted to camper) to visit with family. We met them on shore and caught up with them over food and drinks at a restaurant called Larry’s. This was our first meet-up with them outside the state of Florida and it was great to hear about their adventures.
Yorktown was such a great stop for us and we’ll definitely land there again if in the area.
Norfolk/Portsmouth to Langley anchorage = 22 nm Langley to Yorktown, VA = 22 nm TOTAL miles to date: = 1,329 nm TOTAL Bridge Openings to date = 34