Manhattan by Sail

Manhattan by Sail is a New York City cruise company providing Manhattan boat tours of the iconic NYC Harbor. 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. We offer unique opportunities to see the city as never before, aboard our authentic 1929 schooner, The Shearwater, or the mighty Clipper City!

What you’ll do

Let Manhattan by Sail transport you to a bygone era on their beautiful sailing ships. You’ll motor off the seawall and catch the wind. That’s when we raise the sails and cut the engine and the fun really begins. The shoreline shrinks… the sky gets bigger… everything opens up and you’ll gain a whole new perspective.

Experience New York majestically, with the breeze in your hair. Smell the salt air. There’s no guided megaphone tour. Just the captain giving commands and the crew hauling and heaving the sails. All enhanced by Manhattan’s beautiful sights before you. Be part of an authentic experience instead of a manufactured one aboard one of our two ships:

  • The Shearwater: Hand built in 1929 from native hardwoods, the 82-foot schooner Shearwater harkens back to a bygone era of yachting. One of New York City’s only floating designated landmarks, Shearwater has been taking New Yorkers and the city’s visitors sailing in the harbor since 2001. She celebrated her 80th birthday in 2009 and still going strong and sailing gracefully, the Gatsby-era yacht comfortably can accommodate up to 48 passengers, and departs daily from lower Manhattan’s North Cove Marina on public sails and private charters.
  • The Clipper City: Few people ever have the chance to sail aboard a tall ship. The newest (and by far the biggest) addition to our fleet, the topsail schooner Clipper City allows you to do just that. An imposing 158-ft. long, with masts and rigging reaching up 120 feet from the deck, New York’s largest and most elegant sailing vessel can accommodate up to 134 passengers. A replica of the lumber-hauling schooners that drove America’s industry more than a century ago, Clipper City was built in the mid-1980s using plans purchased from the Smithsonian. Designed with her new cargo in mind (i.e. you), her decks are spacious and comfortable, with ample seating, a full bar amidships and a raised quarter deck back aft that allows for unparalleled views of the city and it’s harbor.

Both ships offer a variety of public sails throughout the day and evening. With themed sails including wine tasting, brunch, jazz, and craft beer, there is something for everyone onboard. All sails provide up-close views of the Statue of Liberty—and have refreshments, snacks and alcohol available to purchase.

Plan your visit

Small Groups | Plan to Sail Aboard The Shearwater

  • Book your group onto a public sailing: We offer sightseeing boat tours around the Manhattan Harbor. Take a cruise around the Statue of Liberty on one of our classic NYC Day cruises, or relax aboard a romantic twilight cruise. Which exhilarating sailing experience will you choose?
    • Click here to explore the available sail options and book your group.
  • Book a private charter for your group: The Shearwater is perfect for groups up to 49 passengers. Together with a wide range of beverages and catering options, the ship’s classic style makes for a most elegant gathering. 

Large Groups | Plan to Sail Aboard The Clipper City

  • Book your group onto a public sailing: Get ready for an epic experience — an authentic Manhattan boat tour aboard the mighty Clipper City, the largest tall ship in New York City. Take in the city skyline and enjoy a sightseeing tour of the New York Harbor as you’ve never seen it before. Cruise around NYC as you realize you just can’t take a bad picture from the bow of a ship.
    • Click here to explore the available sail options and book your group.
  • Book a private charter for your group: The Clipper City is a unique way to host up to 149 guests on a sailing adventure around New York Harbor.

Where is it

The Shearwater: North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center) in Lower Manhattan and is on the South side of the marina. 

  • By Subway: A/C to Chambers St.; 2/3 to Park Pl.; 4/5 to Fulton St.; E/PATH to WTC; R to Cortlandt St. Walk West to the South side of North Cove Marina. Please allow up to 20 minutes to locate the Shearwater dock if you are not familiar with the area.
  • By Bus: M9, M20, M22 to Brookfield Place (formerly the World Financial Center)
  • From the Ferry: From the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal, walk South along the Hudson River to Marina, proceed to south side.
  • By Car: The closest intersection is South End Ave & Liberty St. From West St, turn on Liberty St. and go 1 block. Take footpath down ramp past flagpoles to Marina.  Shearwater departs from the South side of Marina.

The Clipper City: Slip 2 at the South end of Battery Park in Lower Manhattan just West of the Staten Island Ferry terminal and Battery Gardens Restaurant.

  • By Subway: 1 train to South Ferry Station. Follow signs, while leaving the station, for Battery Park & Statue of Liberty Ferries. Enter the park, pass the Battery Gardens Restaurant, & go directly to the water. The Clipper City Service Desk is at slip 2. 4/5 train to Bowling Green. When exiting the station, follow the signs for Battery Park & Statue of Liberty Ferries. Enter the park & walk towards the water and East coast Memorial (giant eagle statue). Once at the memorial & water front, the Clipper City Service Desk is located at Slip 2.
  • By Bus: M5, M15 and M20 to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
  • From the Ferry: Exit the ferry terminal & cross the street into Battery Park. Walk past Battery Gardens restaurant & towards the water. The Clipper City Service Desk is located at Slip 2.
  • By Car: Go to “Battery Park, South entrance” near 7 State St. Enter the park (by the Battery Gardens signage). Walk past Battery Gardens restaurant straight to the water. The Clipper City Service Desk will be at Slip 2.
    • Parking Information:  Parking is available at State Pearl Garage, 1 Battery Pl #2, New York, NY 10004

Hours & Schedule

Manhattan by Sail offers private charters and public trips from downtown Manhattan daily May – October. Times and Schedule vary based upon your booking.

Things to keep in mind

What if it rains? Sailing is an all-weather activity, and Manhattan by Sail’s boats leave the dock whether rain or shine. Summer thundershowers are part of life in New York and you’ll soon see that braving the elements with our safe and reliable crew is all part of the fun! If you are a fair weather sailor, no worries, just be sure to give our reservation and cancellation policies a read.

What if I can’t make a sail that I have tickets for? What’s your Refund Policy? Sorry, but we don’t offer refunds. In the event of a cancellation by the captain due to severe weather or mechanical failure, customers will be given the opportunity to reschedule at no additional fee. If you need to reschedule from the original date booked, go right ahead, but be aware that we have a 48-hour notice policy. Call us any time before then and we’ll reschedule you at no extra charge. A predetermined surcharge is required for a reschedule within 48 hours.

Are beverages served onboard? We’re sailors! Of course we serve drinks – it comes with the territory. The Clipper City boasts a full bar on board and the Shearwater offers drink service featuring a selection of beer, white wine and champagne. Also available on both boats is an array of non-alcoholic choices such as water, soda and juice.

Do you serve food? Can we bring our own? Yes on both counts. Ask our staff about our catering options for groups. We can have a host of food options waiting for you when you board. But if the mood strikes and you want to pack the old picnic basket, go right ahead. However, aside from sails that include food in the program, we do not have food available for purchase on board.

Is sailing safe? If you’ve never been on a sailboat before, don’t worry about a thing. These are not small boats and they are very stable. Once you have been on one of our boats you will see how safe and comfortable you feel. Sailing is inherently safe and at Manhattan by Sail passenger safety is our primary concern. All of those sailboats that you see heeling over out there are supposed to do that, it’s part of the physics of how they work. As soon as you climb aboard, our crew will tell you everything you need to know about the particulars of our sailing vessels.

Are your boats handicapped accessible? The Clipper City is indeed handicapped accessible. Wheelchairs can come right aboard or we can stow them below during the sail as needed. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to ask our office staff.

What should I wear? Dress comfortably and prepare appropriately. We sail rain or shine, and keep in mind that it is usually cooler out on the water than on shore, especially in the evening and night. We do ask that passengers wear soft-soled shoes aboard the Shearwater as heels and boots can scuff the deck. Bare feet are also fine. There are no special requirements on the Clipper City.

Should I tip? Our crew, from servers to deckhands, work for tips. If you enjoyed your sail, please tip accordingly!

What age qualifies as a child? Any child 12 years of age and below qualifies for our child rates.

Are there restrooms on board the boats? Yes, there are restrooms available on both the Clipper City and the Shearwater. You might hear them referred to as “the head,” which is what they’re called on a boat!

Do you actually put the sails up when we go out on the water? Of course! We couldn’t call ourselves sailors if we didn’t! Depending on the wind, we’ll utilize the sails for the majority of our power. If the wind is not so strong, we’ll turn on the motor to get around for portions of the trip.

Are life jackets required? Nope, except for passengers who are 12 years & under and sailing on the Shearwater. ​No one else is required to wear a life jacket but you’re welcome to one, if you’d like.

Am I able to purchase a ticket using an international credit card? Absolutely, you’ll just have to select the International option from the drop-down on the ​Billing Information page of the payment process.

Can we bring our own beverages on board? Due to our liquor license we are not able to have customers bring their own alcoholic beverages on board the Shearwater or the Clipper City. ​

Do we accept credit cards at the bar? Yes! We accept all major U.S. credit cards on board the boats.

How close do the boats get to the Statue of Liberty and can we get off the boat at the Statue? Our boats get as close to the Statue of Liberty as allowed by the U.S. Coast Guard, however, we do not disembark at the Statue.

Are hot beverages served aboard the boats? We do have both coffee and tea service on the Clipper City, however, we do not serve hot beverages on the Shearwater.

Can I help to raise the sails? Yes! We encourage our passengers to help us raise the sails.

Does the boat make a complete 360 around the Statue of Liberty? Due to low water depths we do not sail behind the Statue of Liberty, however, we do spend a decent amount of time in front of the Statue providing a nice photo opportunity.

Can we bring strollers / bikes aboard the boat? Yes you can bring strollers aboard the boats, however, we do not allow bikes on any of our boats.

What routes do the boats take? Our routes are ever changing and depend on certain factors such as who the Captain is that day and the changing tides and winds.