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High praise from a tough captain

Jan 1, 2003

To the editor:The recent letter by Dennis Mills regarding captain Virginia Wagner and the schooner Ocean Star ("Reviewing nav method for entering harbor," Issue No. 96, March/April 1999) reminded me of experiences I had on Ocean Star when Wagner was captain. On my first trip, returning from Cuba, Virginia chewed me out when she saw a star LOP "Spica/2245" on the chart. "How the hell did you get that?" she asked. "I shot it on the horizon defined by the loom of Havana," I shot back. "Look, it's right on top of the DR track!" "Don't ever do that again without asking me first," she said gruffly. By the next cruise she and I were flying through the fog on the Great South Channel off Nantucket. The two of us were carefully navigating, picking our way on a marathon eight-hour watch that included dodging other boats, sliding past buoys, and bucking tough currents. At the end of my grueling double watch, Virginia looked at me and just said, "Good job." Never had I had higher praise. I fell asleep in my bunk no longer an amateur.