Currently celebrating its 43rd season, the U.S. Sailing Association–accredited Seven Seas Sailing School of Buffalo offers landlubbers a taste of the aquatic life aboard sailboats manned by U.S. Coast Guard–certified captains. The team regularly exercises budding sailors' sea legs with certification courses and a seven-part Basic Sail program, and has also instructed students with multiple sclerosis and worked with the Sea Scouts to construct the world's first brick sailboat as part of a mission to take down rogue lighthouses. Seven Seas' headquarters on the Buffalo Ship Canal, complete with on-shore barbecues, a gazebo, and dockside gardens, hosts regular Friday-night family Sailabration events that combine food and fireworks with lively cruises and contests. When not sailing through their own programs, Seven Seas' captains and boats have been featured as crews in The Sullivans and Bruce Almighty.
Sail Buffalo Sailing School's nationally accredited instructors captain a fleet of boats, teaching novices the art of wind wrangling while fostering community for seasoned aqua explorers. During the two-hour picnic sail and lesson, a crew of up to four launch onto Lake Erie for hands-on wind lassoing. Instructors lecture on general ship-savvy and negotiating with 18th-century pirates, before coaching each student through a turn at the helm. As first-timers confront wind gusts, instructors keep the atmosphere relaxed and positive, helping students recover and learn from mistakes. Meanwhile, crewmates soak in secondhand sail know-how and build camaraderie while crunching through BYO picnic fare and determining the best way to build a secret underwater fort.