Hudson River Community Sailing is a unique combination of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and sailing club. The proceeds from adult lessons and memberships go toward funding scholarship-based programs for at-risk urban youth. Each year, their Sail Academy,—an after-school academic program built on experiential, student-first lessons—immerses these students in the world of sailing and boat building. In addition to unlocking the secrets of boating, these sessions teach students the functional fundamentals of math, science, and self-esteem, earning them credit towards graduation along the way. The club's other youth work include the First Mates program—which preps students for college and career through a deep dedication to boating, racing, and navigation—and the City Sail summer program, which groups students into a small crew for a week of character-building exercises aboard a working 24' boat.
Hosting frequent fundraising events, such as the Dark and Stormy benefit, helps the team introduce as many new mariners as possible to the singular pleasure of sailing the Hudson. Their sailors also enjoy the perks of the club's location, drinking in awe-inspiring views of the Manhattan skyline that the Beatles saw just as they landed their moon module on Ellis Island.
Classic Harbor Line offers glimpses of modern-day Manhattan, Newport, Key West, and Boston with their fleet of sailboats and classic yachts. The sail line recently added Hoboken, NJ to its list of City Lights cruise attractions with excursions departing in north Hoboken at Pier 13 in Shipyard Marina . Passengers can engage in day trips, private charters, and special events in the harbor that grant glimpses of the sunset and shimmering night displays of city lights. Tours on the Line's yacht Beacon showcase a throwback to 1920s elegance—the mahogany bar, the wraparound seating, even the varnish was selected to emulate the vessels of that day. Classic Harbor Line prides itself in catering to customers by providing a luxurious and hospitable cruising experience where guests can sip champagne or take in the setting of the sun as sails comfortably cruise calm waters.
Currently celebrating its 44th 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.
For more than 30 years, the captains and crews behind Manhattan By Sail have been giving visitors and locals alike the chance to view the city from an entirely new perspective. Their 158-foot Clipper City vessel is a replica of a 19th-century cargo schooner that was constructed in the 1980s using plans purchased from the Smithsonian. Clipper City can hold more than 130 passengers between masts and rigging that tower as high as 120 feet above the deck. The vessel can set sail on daytime, sunset, and evening cruises, including specialty excursions that allow passengers to enjoy a champagne brunch, a wine tasting, or an impromptu sea-shanty sing-along.
World Yacht's scenic, elegant cruise along the New York Harbor creates a picturesque evening for photo-snapping tourists and savvy locals alike. Once you've embarked upon one of World Yacht's three environmentally friendly yachts, you'll be privileged with a private table, access to the outdoor deck, and a complimentary glass of champagne, as you nonchalantly sail past the glittering Manhattan skyline. As the ship makes its circuit, you'll also get to behold the charm of the Village, the stately Empire State Building, and the seldom-seen "Kick Me" sign on the Statue of Liberty's back. Take a moonlight walk on the outdoor deck, or snuggle up inside and adore the sights through the boat's panoramic-view windows. A diverse line-up of live musicians and professional DJs will be on hand to shake hips and nod heads. And on pleasant evenings, you'll get to dine al fresco on chef Denis Weekes's full menu or à la carte menu (food not included with this Groupon) as you bask in the glow of the city.
As the snow-white prow of the ship slices through the slate-gray waters of Sheepshead Bay, waves lap up and kiss the green lettering on the side reading Sea Queen VII. Helmed by seasoned skipper Captain Steve, the 85-foot vessel is on one of its family-oriented fishing expeditions. Captain Steve and his knowledgeable crew ensure the ship's safe passage as passengers focus on casting their lines from the wide beam or basking in the fresh air breezing across the sun deck. The mouthwatering aromas of pizza and grilled burgers flood the ship's galley, beckoning guests to take a break from fishing for a casual bite to eat. Accommodating all schedules and fishing preferences, Captain Steve takes passengers out on morning and afternoon trips as well as late night excursions to reel in nocturnal fish and insomniac merpeople.