It’s always the same dilemma when visiting a new city or even going back to one you’ve visited before-- what tours or sights to take in so that this trip becomes unforgettable and special?   If you are traveling with your significant other then the pressure is REALLY on to deliver an over the top experience that you both will find memorable.  One great idea is to take advantage of one of the best and most scenic sailing grounds in the U.S. and charter a sailboat for a half day, catch a panoramic sunset view while peacefully sailing along in Biscayne Bay and then watch the city lights of Miami come up after dark as  you sail the night away.  Most people have the notion that sailing is only a daytime activity and don’t realize the spectacular and colorful skyline view Miami offers from the waterside.   It’s actually a great way to sightsee as well as relax while taking in the panoramic beauty of the Magic City.  Being on the water is one of the few places where you have that 360 degree view – totally unobstructed – and can appreciate the natural beauty of Miami, its skyline,  and the surrounding area. 

Once you’ve walked and seen the sights  on Ocean Drive or Lincoln Road Mall most people long for a little “escape time” . . .  a little solitude . . . and just a 15 minute ride from Ocean Drive you can do just that and even get a little pampering.   Charter a boat for a leisure trip around Biscayne Bay and lounge on deck as the scenery glides by and you have your drink brought to you in decadent luxury.   Why charter a sailboat instead of a powerboat?    The two experiences are vastly different:

         On a sailboat:

·         there will be no engine noise – only the sound of the wind as you glide along Biscayne Bay and just the hypnotic lapping of water against the hull.

·          No need to hold on as you sail around because you will be traveling at a casual pace of  5-7 knots. 

·         No pollution being generated because you are using the wind for your power. 

·          No need to yell to be heard by your partner – it’s a quiet experience without the roar of an engine.  

·          And the cost is affordable .  . . about $650 for a half day for a 40-50 foot sailboat with captain compared to $3000-4500 for a powerboat.

SELECTING THE RIGHT BOAT TO ENHANCE THE ROMANCE

As always, selecting the right sailboat for your romantic outing is the key to making the evening a lasting memory.    Just as you probably pondered over what hotel to select for your romantic stay in Miami, so should you carefully select your sailboat for that evening of sightseeing and sunset watching and romance.    Depending on this decision, your evening could range from mediocre to magical.   Carefully look at the websites for any sailboat you are considering – it’s fairly easily to spot sailboats for charter that are best avoided:

1)      If you don’t see close up photos of the boat on the website that’s a big clue you may be in for a ride on a not-so-well maintained boat.   From a distance and under sail, all boats look nice– it’s that close up shot that will tell you whether you are going to be sailing first class or no class!

2)      If you see lots of beautiful photos of WHAT YOU WILL SEE FROM THE BOAT, but no photos of the boat itself, AVOID these websites and save yourself some major disappointment.   When the website isn’t promoting the boat prominently, it’s for the simple reason that the boat will not sell itself in a photo – and most likely you will not score any romance points with your partner for being duped into sailing on a tired old boat. 

3)      Always ask the age of the sailboat you are going to charter – that will be a strong indication of its condition and degree of comfort.  And don’t fall for the sales pitch that a 25-30 year old boat has been “refitted” to mint condition.  The price of a 30 year old sailboat should be substantially lower than a modern sailing yacht.   Bottom line:    Go for the luxury and realize that the cost of sailing on the most luxurious yacht is only about $50 more than sailing on a bottom-of-the-barrel boat. 

 

MAXIMIZE THE ROMANCE FACTOR

Charter your sailboat for a time period that incorporates about an hour of daylight, then the sunset, and then some time after dark.   Remember that when the sun sets, it doesn’t get dark immediately – usually about an hour after sunset  the spectacular city lights of Miami begin to appear.   There are several sailboats where you can also have a meal served while sailing OR most boats will allow you to bring aboard your own food and beverages.   Dining while sailing is one of the ultimate experiences you will have during your stay in Miami –  it’s the epitome of waterfront dining!  Sipping champagne or fine wine while dining on a custom prepared menu for you will transform into your most memorable Miami experience.     Here is the list of the most popular charter sailboats, sorted by year and length LOA:

   BOAT NAME              LENGTH      MANUFACTURER        YEAR BUILT      CONTACT #  LOCATION #  

  CAPTAIN SIR!            46 FEET     Island Packet                  2006             786-218-2454             KEY BISCAYNE

  WIND RUNNER            46 FEET     Beneteau                   1999             786-423-3131           MIAMI BEACH

  EXPRESS MAIL           44 FEET     Hunter                             2006             732-830-9285             NJ summer / MIAMI winter

  DREAM CATCHER     39 FEET     Beneteau                     2004             305-677-9616                  DINNER KEY

  COMO TU              40 FEET     Lancer                  1986             786-423-3131           MIAMI BEACH

Each of these boats has a website where you can see photos and prices.              

  JUST DO IT!!

You only go around once in this lifetime so grab all the life experiences you can that fill your memory bank with superlative experiences.   Do some research and select the right boat and you won’t go wrong  -- ask the right questions when booking and you will be able to narrow your selection down pretty quickly.  Ten minutes of research will pay big dividends and give you some major bonus points in the favor bank with your partner.   Maximize your romance while in Miami and do a sailing charter on Biscayne Bay for a sunset/evening adventure.  It’s a life enhancing experience and one you won’t regret!!