Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Yorktown Sailing Charters Navigates Unchartered Waters

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Yorktown Sailing Charters owner Laura Lohse lost her husband and business partner Greg Lohse on May 19 of this year. A staple at the Yorktown Waterfront, the Lohses entertained tourists and locals alike for the past 16 years aboard the schooner Alliance, and, until it was sold two years ago, it’s sister tall ship, the schooner Serenity.

The couple’s common denominator of sailing is what united them. They met in 1985 while working together for Sea Education Association and married in 1989. Before moving to Yorktown, the Lohses were instrumental in the revitalization of the Cape Charles waterfront with their day-sail business and hosting tall ships in the harbor.

Since Greg Lohse’s passing last spring, Laura Lohse has been relying upon the capable hands of her crew to conduct the Alliance’s day and sunset cruises. She fills in behind the wheel when Captain Tyler Bullock needs time off, but mostly tends to the administrative side of the business.

Like many locally-owned companies, Yorktown Sailing Charters felt the economic ripples of the pandemic. “We lost a couple of months due to covid in 2020, and started our cruises a month later than usual this season,” said Lohse.

The day cruises were popular this summer with folks who were looking for outdoor adventure as the pandemic mandates loosened. “We had the best season we’ve ever had financially. We opened at half capacity, but our cruises were full, and we were very busy,” said Lohse.

The last sail of the season takes place on Sunday, October 31, and then the Alliance will be stored at York River Yacht Haven. In years past, the Lohses conducted sailing charters during the winter months out of the Caribbean Islands. This year, Laura will be focusing on the tall ship’s future.

She intends to sell the Alliance, retire, and travel. Captain Bullock is looking for a business partner to assist him with the purchase. He’s in his second season with the sailing charter and hopes to find an interested financial backer that will keep him in the captain’s chair. “Of course, if it doesn’t sell, I’ll keep carrying on with the cruises,” said Lohse.

For the remainder of the season, daily sail times are 11am, 2pm and 4:30pm. Daytime cruises cost $41 per person and sunset cruises are $46. For more information on Yorktown Sailing Charters, please visit www.sailyorktown.com.

Photos by Jen Holden

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