NYC Sailing: South Street Seaport
A couple of summers ago, I volunteered on a tall ship called Pioneer. It is a steel and iron schooner, about 100 ft in length that sails in New York Harbor, out of the South Street Seaport.
Volunteering with the South Street Seaport Museum on the Pioneer was certainly one of the best experiences I've had. I learned a lot about sailing and enjoyed the camaraderie of some very interesting New Yorkers. It was hard work, pulling on the lines, coiling, throwing lines for docking, tacking, lifting the centerboard, flaking... etc... I felt like a real sailor! Especially when we all went for drinks after a long day of sailing!
There are public sails, education sails and charters. It usually sails down towards the Statue of Liberty and depending on the time frame and cooperation of the wind, it can go as far as the Verazzano Bridge. Sails are very relaxing, they set the capacity of the ship to about 35 so you have room to move around the ship if you like.
Education sails were awesome, because we usually had groups of kids coming on board and we taught them some of what we knew, such as knots, reading charts and buoys or coiling lines. Most of them truly enjoyed their experience! One time we had a group of blind kids (yes, even we were scheptical at first) who were definitely the best group of all! They were so eager to learn and did so quickly. It was so new and exciting to them, you could tell how much they loved it. It was ever so rewarding to see them enjoying themselves and learning what we did as volunteers on the ship.
Charters were usually quite boring for us volunteers since we had to be on our best behavior since some company or group of people had paid a lot of money to go out sailing. They did however bring their food and drink on the ship and sometimes (I repeat sometimes) they would leave us the leftovers and more importantly the leftover booze!
My favorite sails however, are the night sails, particularly since passengers are allowed to bring food and drinks. You can have a pleasant picnic or just a glass of wine while sailing slowly and quietly down the river. It is a wonderful feeling! It is great for a romantic evening with your significant other.
I very much recommend it, public sails are not very expensive and during the summer they have them several times a week:
1-3pm & 9:30-11:30pm
Adults $25, Seniors/Students $20, Children (12 & under) $20
4-6pm & 7-9pm
Adults $30, Seniors/Students $25, Children (12 & under) $20
For reservations or information on public sails for charters, please contact
Group Tours at 212.748.8786.