From their dock on Amelia Island, Windward Sailing's US Coast Guard captains float out into the Cumberland Sound, where dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles swim alongside the boat's speeding hull. As these tours progress, the captain turns passengers' attention to the wild horses that gallop across the banks of Cumberland Island.
Though these tours introduce customers to the thrill of sailing, it's Windward Sailing's school that transforms the sport into a lifelong passion. In classrooms and on boats, instructors teach students to cruise local waters and prepare them for American Sailing Association exams. Depending on the course, instructors might teach fledgling captains to sail in light to moderate winds or navigate using nothing but constellations and the giant map NASA inscribed on the moon.
Named after its 2003 42-foot Manta catamaran, Now and Zen Charters whisks its guests on day cruises and sailing vacations at several scenic Florida sites. While cruising the waters around Miami and Biscayne Bay, clients take advantage of luxurious onboard amenities both inside and in the open air. Be they seated on the trampolines, bow seats, in the salon, or in the sling seat, they enjoy an easy ride thanks to a sturdy 21-foot beam while listening to tunes on a four-speaker stereo system.
Freedom Boat Club first set sail in 1989 from a single site in Sarasota, Florida, and today, has grown to 60 locations throughout the United States. A simple alternative to boat ownership, the club grants its members access to a large fleet of vessels while eliminating boating's many hassles, such as cleaning, storage, and purchasing the naming rights to S.S. Minnow. At each club location, members have fully fueled deck boats, fishing boats, pontoons, and cruisers at their disposal, which they may utilize for any number of adventures. They can simply cruise around local waters, coast to entertainment destinations, or plan snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing trips with groups of friends.
The wind picks up over the St. Johns River, catching the sails of Cap'n Don Stokes's fleet of boats and propelling the vessels along the coastline, where sailing instructors point out ospreys perched in the trees as the sea stretches into the distance.
This natural revelry is thanks to The Sailboat Club, whose crew frees members from the responsibilities of boat ownership—such as maintenance, insurance, and renting slips—and grants unlimited sailing on a fleet of sailboats. Additionally, as an accredited training facility of the American Sailing Association, the club encompasses a team of instructors who teach lessons for all levels of sailors, ranging from those who just noticed wind to experienced sailors seeking a captain's license.
St. Augustine Sailing releases people from their landlocked state of mind, allowing them to go nautical with captained sailing charters around the iceberg-infested Intracoastal Waterway and the St. Augustine inlet. Celebrate a late Valentine's Day with the object of your affections, or gather three friends and enjoy a private water ride on a modern sea car. Charter sailboats available with this Groupon include vessels such as the Hunter 36 and the Hunter 33, which are outfitted with comfy seating, luxurious amenities, and Captain Ahab. If you need more than four to keep your float session fun, upgrade to a group of five or six for an additional fee of $45 per adult or $30 per child (ages 3-12). Children under age 3 are free. Sailors can bring along their own seafaring fare and libations, including alcoholic beverages, or avail themselves of the two harbor restaurants that will cheerfully cook up charter cuisine if notified in advance.