The 16th fall sail class by the Williamsburg Area Learning Tree reached a crescendo Nov. 8 with a straight run out the York River to the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, just south of Mobjack Bay and within sight of Newpoint Comfort.

On the return leg, we used a northeast wind of 10-15 mph and one reef in the genoa to pick up speed on a beam-to-close reach. With 1-2 foot waves on our aft quarter, the boat began to surf atop the waves. Several people rotating on the helm approached speeds of 13, 14 and 15 mph. Finally, alumna Ulki Nori hit 17.9 mph. That’s a new record for the WALT class and for Williamsburg Charter Sails.

Altogether we covered 120 miles over three successive Sundays as classmates learned the points of sail, reefing the sails, rules of the road, safety procedures, tacking and gybing, man overboard drills, marine radio, and more.

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