Since 1565, St. Augustine has been a seafaring town. The fort, the cross, the lighthouse, the Bridge of Lions and the low, beautiful skyline of the Historic District are all uniquely appreciated from the water. Since 2001, one St. Augustine water tour has sailed beyond the rest- the premier tall ship Freedom.
I’ve heard it said that a good Cap’n keeps a tight ship. By these standards, Captain Jon is a fine man. His crew is friendly and playful yet respectful. The Freedom is clean and orderly and everything is in its proper place.
Once the ship is underway, the crew calls on passengers to lend a hand. Even those inexperienced in sailing are invited to hoist and trim the sails. Don’t be nervous about messing up… with a little coaching you’ll do just fine! Wesley and I decided to watch this time but hubby joined the crew in hauling up the main sail and did a mighty fine job.
The Schooner Freedom’s Sunset Sail was our second date since Wesley joined the family. Although adult passengers are more common, he was well behaved (ahem, of course!) and the time on the water was soothing for all of us and for our fellow sailors. The crew offers beer, wine, soda and water for passengers to enjoy throughout the two-hour sunset sail.
We haven’t taken the whole family on the sunset sail- although our kids have grown up on boats, it’s nice to relax for a few hours and not worry about a curious preschooler leaning too far over the ropes! They do offer a family sail during the day that I’m thinking of joining- special dolphin tours partner with a Marineland educator to teach about these graceful mammals and include a ticket to Marineland afterward! This is going on my family bucket list!
The Freedom hosts a small crowd- I believe they counted off 28 passengers when we went out. This allows for personal interaction with the crew which I love! Some couples snuggled up in quiet parts of the boat and just took in the scenery which is perfectly fine, too. But Captain Jon swapped history and lore with some Navy guys, gave restaurant advice to a couple next to us and laughed with my hubby about life here in St. Augustine. We’re so spoiled to call St. Augustine home!
Our time on the water was pretty evenly divided between the Intracoastal South of the Bridge of Lions and the bay N of The Bridge. Your experience will be unique each time depending on the wind, the waves and the mood of your captain. I hear on super calm days they’ll head out through the inlet to the Atlantic! Personally, I prefer to stay where I can swim to shore. 😉
Wind fills the sails and the little ship speeds along just fast enough to provide a cooling breeze. If you’re trying to decide whether you should splurge for an evening aboard the Freedom, take Mark Twain’s advice:
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
The Schooner Freedom does not offer a “tour” experience. The crew is happy to point out local sites but you’re as likely to hear about their childhood memories exploring local beaches as you are the history of the fort and when the lighthouse moved to its current location. Instead, set aside time for a relaxing sail on the Freedom to unplug from the bustle of busy streets. Breathe the salted air deeply and whisper a prayer of thanks!
Schooner Freedom’s Sunset Sail
Departure depends on time of sunset- call for current times.
$45 per person
Freedom offers many other sailing experiences- from family sails to moonrise sails. Be sure to check out their website to choose the perfect St Augustine Sailing experience for your family!
Hubby, Wesley and I were invited to sail aboard the Freedom in order to share our experience with you. Thanks, Captain Jon & team!