He’s now called Capt. Bill and his longtime passion has turned into a full-time vocation.
From 1971 to 2012, Bill O’Donovan was either a writer, editor or publisher of The Virginia Gazette. However, the constantly changing world of journalism took aim at him in December 2012 when corporate budget cuts forced him into “retirement.”
Within a few months O’Donovan’s love for the water led him to establish a charter sailing business — Williamsburg Charter Sails, also known as Let’s Go Sail.
For the past 10 years, sailing between April and November on the York River, he cruises from the York River Yacht Haven marina at Gloucester Point twice daily at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Let’s Go Sail’s rates are $150 for couples, $250 for families and $350 for groups. “I haven’t raised my prices in 10 years because I want people to enjoy the water, get outdoors and hear the quiet,” he said proudly.
And O’Donovan is a real boat captain.
He got his 100-ton Coast Guard master’s license, “which is hard to get. I began while I was with The Gazette taking clients out every summer. For the license … “I had to prove I had spent 100 days a year on the water for three years,” he explained, noting he had to survive “all the rigors for it.”
The Coast Guard license for charter boat activity is “a way to control the flow of water traffic,” he added, “and the subsequent accidents.”
As he got out of the U.S. Army and was leaving Vietnam in 1971 as a first lieutenant, O’Donovan was urged to stay in the service and become a captain. “I didn’t. I was afraid then of another war in Israel,” he recalled. “But now I am a captain.”
O’Donovan’s boat is a one-mast 32-foot sloop, now his sixth vessel. He was introduced to the water as a child “and as children came along I realized sailing was a good way for exercise and outdoor activity.
“My children are now almost 50 and come back every summer to sail and now come back with their children,” he added.
Although his days in journalism are gone, longtime locals will remember that from 1971-1975 he was a reporter for The Gazette and became its editor in 1975. Eleven years later O’Donovan became publisher. In 2011 he was named to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Communications Hall of Fame and earlier had received the Virginia Press Association’s D. Lathan Mims Award for editorial leadership.
For information on Williamsburg Charter Sails, visit williamsburgchartersails.com.
Yorktown museum gets new café
A ribbon cutting ceremony officially welcoming the 1781 Café by Aromas at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will be held June 13 at 8:30 a.m.
The newest Aromas, which opened in May, is in conjunction with the Jamestown-Yorktown Educational Trust and the York County Economic & Tourism Development office. It will be Aromas’ fourth restaurant after the Prince George Street venue in Williamsburg, the Swem Library at William & Mary and The Captain’s Den in Newport News.
The café is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the museum’s location at 200 Water St. in Yorktown. “While the museum café has long been a favorite option for a midday lunch break,” a news release said, “guests how can stop by throughout the day to purchase a cold or hot drink or a smoothie with a snack.”
The first 100 customers who make a purchase on Tuesday will receive a commemorative Silipint pint glass.
City recognizes Silver Hand Meadery
The Williamsburg Economic Development Authority has named the Silver Hand Meadery the winner of its 2023 Williamsburg Business Appreciation Award.
Williamsburg Mayor Doug Pons presented the award Thursday at the City Council meeting. The award is to a business for its contributions to the betterment of the city.
Criteria for the award, the announcement said, “include a physical presence in the city, being in business for at least five years, employing fewer than 100 people and demonstrating innovation along with excellence customer service and environmental sensitivity.”
In November 2015 the Meadery opened its doors at 224 Monticello Ave. with Glenn Lavender and his wife, Sherri, as co-founders. Mead is one of the most historic fermented drinks and is known for its “creativity of craft beer and the elegance of wine,” the Meadery’s website says.
Dots and Dashes
Janet Moore of Berkshire Hathaway HomeService RW Towne Realty has completed the following leases at Jamestown Professional Park:
• Destination Wellness LLC, Laura Johnson, licensed massage therapist, new space at 1769 Jamestown Road in James City County.
• Beautiful Humans, Taylor Dean, permanent makeup, new space at 1769 Jamestown Road.
• Flamingo Esthetics, LLC, Michelle Dean, esthetician, new space at 1769 Jamestown Road.
• Teriyaki Madness leased 1,640 square feet of retail space at Lightfoot Marketplace, 6401 Richmond Road. Connie Jordan Nielsen of Cushman & Wakefield handled negotiations on behalf of the tenant.
• Beauty Rush Salon, with new owners Ariana Terns and Ling Zhang, has leased new property at 5121 Center St. in Williamsburg. Janet Moore of Towne Realty represented the landlord.
• Shine for You LLC has renewed its lease of 3,200 square feet of industrial space at the Shirley Pewter Building, 5691 Mooretown Road in York County. Dawn F. Griggs of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer handled the lease negotiations on behalf of the landlord.
Wilford Kale, email@example.com