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A child's imagination is easily captured by a sailing ship, but a large sailing ship can bring a whole town to the water's edge. When the super yacht Georgia pulled into Petersburg's south harbor Friday afternoon, July 26, dwarfing the tenders Kupreanof and Kari Marie, tales of Tom Cruise and Ted Turner mingled among the ooh's and ah's of Little Norway's dock patrons. The rumor mill quieted under the shouts of hide and seek being played by a band of grade school age children on the vessel's decks.
"I'm a pirate, I'm a pirate," stated one young youth as he swung around the rigging on the massive mast.
"Be careful there," said Georgia owner John A. Williams. "Lenny keep an eye on them will you? They do enjoy getting about on deck."
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, John A. Williams, 58, is an Atlanta property developer and the founder of Post Properties Inc., a $3 billion corporation - with annual revenues of more $200 million - that owns and operates apartment houses across the United States. He is also a minority owner of the Atlanta Falcons football team.
"I am very organized and meticulous," said Williams. "I don't procrastinate at all when I conduct business."
Williams and his wife Nancy, grandmother "Nana," and an assortment of their family flew to Seattle to board the Georgia over a week ago and began their Alaska journey.
"We love Alaska," stated John. "We were in Anan Bay yesterday and saw bears. It was fabulous. We've seen a lot of whales, lots and lots of Orcas. There were also a lot of logs in the water, we had to put someone on the bow."
"It's been a wonderful trip," added his wife Nancy. "The bears in Anan were beautiful."
Petersburg's Heidi Lee and members of the Leikkaring Dancers were invited aboard to perform.
Georgia is just shy of 200 feet long and features the tallest carbon-fiber mast in the world (200 ft.) as well as some of the largest sails ever constructed. She has won the Showboats Magazine 2000 award for "Most Innovative Sailing Yacht over 38 meters." The total sail area is 37,000 square feet and the flat sails are built of carbon spectra. The gennaker is 15,000 sq. feet.
"One person can sail her," said Williams. "It takes seven to clean her. We have a crew of eight, they work hard taking care of it."
Georgia motored out of the harbor Saturday morning, July 27, headed for Tracy Arm and seven weeks of Alaskan adventures. Then she will sail to New Zealand for the America's Cup.
"I don't like to hunt, fish, or golf," said Williams. "I do like to sail."