As everyone knows, it’s been a long, hot summer. Finding a way to cool off is not always an easy task, but a recent sail on the Hudson provided me with a new way to chill and at the same time take in the sights of New York City. What better place to watch the sunset than a sailboat in the Hudson River?
North Cove Sailing is located at Brookfield Place in downtown Manhattan, a short walk from the World Trade Center-Cortlandt St subway station (take the 1 train). Brookfield Place is a five-building destination complex offering shops, restaurants and experiences, right on the water.
The school has 12 Colgate 26 training keelboats, the same boats that the U.S. Naval Academy uses to train with. It offers sailing lessons—and kids’ camps—on the Hudson River. The “Sailing 101” course is offered if four four-hour parts ($200 each), which you can take all at once or split up over time. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive your U.S. Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification.
My sail on the Hudson
On a media preview of the “Sailing 101” (part one) experience, I set sail one evening with four other guests and a North Cove guide. We walked down to the dock, boarded, tucked away our bags, and put our lifejackets on. We undid the ropes, asked for permission to sail, and off we went, with our instructor guiding us out and south. Boats are able to sail as far north as the George Washington Bridge, as far south as the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and east to the Brooklyn Bridge—a pretty wide berth.
Once we were on the water, we were given quick instructions on how to raise the sail. With four people per instructor (the standard ratio for “Sailing 101” participants), there were plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning. That said, we left the navigation to our instructor. Determining right of way in sailing—and who has it—is more complicated than it is in driving, where whoever gets there first has the right of way.
We rode the winds south to the Statue of Liberty, which I hadn’t visited in a long time. Sailing so close, with the sun setting behind her, was beautiful. On our boat, a lively debate broke out over whether Lady Liberty is part of New York or New Jersey (it’s New York, even though it’s closer to New Jersey). Later, we discussed what past travelers must have felt about seeing her after weeks at sea.
With our sail around the harbor complete, we turned around and headed back north to the marina. We took the sails down and got the onboard ropes (“lines”) ready to dock. Again, our guide was helpful in guiding us through each step. Back on sturdy ground, we got our land legs back and took advantage of the evening at Brookfield Place. With an outdoor café and bar and the sun setting, we relaxed, unwound and reflected on our two-hour sail on the Hudson.
More on North Cove Sailing
North Cove Sailing is open until October, so there’s still lots of time to set sail. The “Sailing 101” course offers a great way to spend an evening and take in the city view.
For more on sailing on the Hudson with North Cove Sailing, visit northcovesailing.com.