Manhattan By Sail is BACK

by | Jul 9, 2020 | City News, Coming Up, Downtown News, Featured, Travel

We downtowners are thrilled to see all of our favorite yachting vessels back on the water, after a more than 3-month quarantine.

Manhattan by Sail is ready for you to board!

COVID has effected all businesses, but now its time to get out and support your favorite and also learn about some you did not know.

New York by foot, bike, or scooter is remarkable to see but there is something when seeing it from the historical and beautiful Hudson River.

Wikipedia – The Hudson River is a 315-mile (507 km) river in New York. The river is named after Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, who explored it in 1609, and after whom Canada’s Hudson Bay is also named.

It had previously been observed by Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano sailing for King Francis I of France in 1524, as he became the first European known to have entered the Upper New York Bay, but he considered the river to be an estuary.

The Dutch called the river the North River – with the Delaware River called the South River – and it formed the spine of the Dutch colony of New Netherland. Settlements of the colony clustered around the Hudson and its strategic importance as the gateway to the American interior led to years of competition between the English and the Dutch over control of the river and colony.

During the eighteenth century, the river valley and its inhabitants were the subject and inspiration of Washington Irving, the first internationally acclaimed American author. In the nineteenth century, the area inspired the Hudson River School of landscape painting, an American pastoral style, as well as the concepts of environmentalism and wilderness.

The Hudson was also the eastern outlet for the Erie Canal, which, when completed in 1825, became an important transportation artery for the early-19th-century United States.

Another one of our favorite sailing vessels is coming back this weekend and we are more than ready to give it it’s due!


Manhattan by Sail started in 1972, and has been saying ever since. Check out their story.

Manhattan By Sail is BACK

Sailing is About Prevailing

At Manhattan by Sail, we’re not only a sightseeing company… we are sailors… who are fortunate enough to sail the prevailing winds of the world’s most iconic harbor. We’ve been taking people sailing in New York Harbor since 1972 when a salty welder named Nick van Nes sailed his 70-ft. yawl, Petrel, to The Battery. He built a dock, put up a sign… and slowly, the first sailboat in New York started to draw attention from locals.

Today, aboard the Shearwater and Clipper City, we share the joy of sailing the most beautiful harbor in the world with visitors and New Yorkers alike. But some things have remained the same since the beginning: our passion, commitment, and our caring, enthusiastic crew who sail each day with their whole hearts. At Manhattan By Sail, we welcome you aboard to share in our joyful culture and to join us in falling in love with NYC, over and over again.

Looking back, there have been challenges: through the early days of a new business, through 9/11, through restorations, growth, and setbacks we worked to preserve the traditional art of sailing and everything that it encompasses: sewing sails, welding, woodworking, navigation, and preserving old boats steeped in history. We have created our own marvelous ecosystem and trained hundreds in the traditional craft of sailing. We know that with grit, teamwork, determination, and resilience anything is possible.

Whether you’re a visitor or a lifelong New Yorker we invite you to see Manhattan through new eyes and feel reinvigorated. Be part of this.


Manhattan By Sail is BACK


Have you ever hoisted a sail? Or stood beneath a 12-story mast on a historic boat? Take a deep breath, and get ready for an epic, family-friendly experience. Be part of it. With masts that are 12 stories high, you’ll feel the massive, heroic nature of the boat while enjoying a family-friendly experience. Originally designed for hauling lumber, the Clipper City has a big-ship feel and lifts you high off the water. Six crew members will be hauling on the sails, charging around, and getting you involved. Rather sit back and enjoy? You can do that, too.

With a length of 158 feet with masts rising 120 feet, she can comfortably sail 149 people, the most of any passenger sailboat in the United States. You will look up and see sails that are bigger than your house. With 12-story masts, we just fit under Brooklyn Bridge by a few meters. This large sailboat has chest-high railings and provides a big, open deck (100 feet x 30 feet) with benches, hatches, and a raised quarter deck where the captain steers. During your journey, we’ll fly 5,000 feet of sail.

Though you may bring your own food, the Clipper City is a nautical adventure with a full-service bar onboard. Bartenders offer reasonably-priced, ice-cold cocktails, local beer on tap, tea, coffee, soda, and pre-made nibbles.

Sailing fits easily into your downtown itinerary. Steps from the Charging Bull, 9/11 Memorial, South Street Seaport and the New York Stock Exchange, The Clipper City departs from Slip 2 at the South end of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, just West of the Staten Island Ferry terminal and Battery Gardens Restaurant. Get Directions.

The original Clipper City was built as a lumber schooner just prior to the Civil War. Our Clipper City was rebuilt from the original plans, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, and recently refurbished.

Families and children of all ages. This sailboat permits wheelchairs and strollers on board. For those who wish to leave strollers behind, secure stroller parking is available.



Are you game for an intimate, active, yachting experience aboard a stately yacht of yesteryear? Prepare for a refined adventure. You will hear “watch your head, sail coming across” when you partake in this engaged yachting experience. Your crew will deftly carry out your captain’s commands while a server makes the rounds and takes your drink order. The Shearwater was built to heel over; you will feel her smooth agility beneath you as you attune to her movement. During this refreshing, transformative, sense-soothing experience, you may catch some salty-fresh invigoration from spray in the forward quarter, and with enough wind, you’ll be close enough to the water to dip your toes.

Be whisked back in time to the Roaring ’20s aboard this beautifully restored 1929 sailing ship. The pinnacle of luxury yachts at the time; the Shearwater is a blue water ocean cruiser who has been around the globe. She’s sailed the Pacific, been through the Panama Canal, and won classic yacht races in NY and New Zealand. Like New Yorkers, she’s got character and depth. With a length of 82 feet larger than the Mayflower and a width of 16.5 feet, she’s one of the largest sailboats built in her era yet she provides an intimate experience with yachting feel for up to 49 passengers. Seating is ad-hoc: find a place to sit on a bench, deck-box, or skylight or the owner’s favorite spot, directly on the original Rangoon teak deck. With a spiral staircase and mahogany interior, you’ll be immersed in the Gatsby era and Gilded Age while looking at the modern-day New York City skyline.

Though you may bring your own food, the Shearwater has a server who walks around to bring you reasonably-priced soda, beer, biodynamic and organic Italian wines, and premium mixed drinks (from our on-deck coolers).

Sailing fits easily into your downtown itinerary. Shearwater Classic Schooner berths at the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) in Lower Manhattan walking distance from the 9/11 Memorial, One World Trade, and City Hall. Get Directions.

Rich in history, the Shearwater is a national landmark. She’s had books and movies written about her. The last luxury yacht built in her shipyard in Boothbay, Maine before the stock market crash of 1929, she was the pinnacle of Gatsby-era yacht building elegant and adventurous. Read more about the Shearwater Classic Schooner.

The Shearwater is best-suited for adults who seek an active yet refined sailing experience aboard a stately yacht of yesteryear.


Thomas Berton

a man holding a fish in the water

Tom Berton’s New York sailing odyssey began more than two decades ago when he discovered the joys of plying the harbor’s waters under sail aboard the legendary Petrel and its equally legendary captain, Nick van Nes, who pioneered public and charter sailing in the city. When van Nes packed up and retired to Martha’s Vineyard in 2000, Tom didn’t hesitate long (by his standards anyway). Leaving behind a successful career in real estate, Berton bought the Shearwater in early 2001 and reached out for the Petrel’s baton. The tests to his will and resilience as a new small-business owner came fast and furious: the boat, its crew, and the operation barely survived the horrors of 9/11 despite having set up shop at the foot of the towers. Berton—a member of that rare breed, the born and reared Manhattanite—has, like his city, persevered and prospered since, creating New York’s most unique, personable, and fun harbor-tour business. The proud father of two beautiful young girls, Berton lives with his wife Ewa in lower Manhattan.

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