Have a couple hours and want to really get to know a storied New England seaport? Look for the nearest schooner and buy a ticket for a two-hour sailing tour and adventure. In Newport, R.I., three beautiful charter schooners, Aquidneck, Madeleine, and Adirondack II, are always improving our view—and introducing hundreds daily to our sensational watery playground.

Two charter schooners sail in Newport, Rhode Island.

The schooners Aquidneck (blue) and Adirondack II (white) sail downwind with Fort Adams and the Newport waterfront as backdrop.

What makes them schooners is that they have two masts, the forward of which is shorter. Schooner hulls have always had good stability and load-carrying ability, whether for cargo or fish, yet compared to other, clunkier sailing vessels of a century ago, the schooner's more aerodynamic sailplan made them powerful and fast. At the same time, both then and now, the sails are small enough for a crew to manage without winches or power.

80-foot schooner Aquidneck in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay near Inn at Castle Hill

The 80-foot schooner, Aquidneck, sails downwind, close by Castle Hill Inn.

The charter schooner Madeleine, of Newport, Rhode Island.

Madeleine, a 72-foot charter schooner, sails upwind just before sunset in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.

If you’re in the area and don’t have a boat of your own, here are few good reasons to consider a ride on one of Newport's charter schooners:

1. Enjoy the best possible view of Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay—from the deck of a boat. Take a close-up look at Fort Adams, Rose Island Lighthouse, Castle Hill Inn, New York Yacht Club, and more. You’ll also sail right past the front porches of impressive seaside homes, such as Hammersmith Farm, which was Jackie O’s childhood summer residence.

Inn at Castle Hill, Newport

One of the best views of the Newport's charter schooners is just before sunset, from Castle Hill Inn.

2. Along the way, you'll typically see a multitude of other boats, including large yachts swinging from their moorings in the harbor, racing fleets of smaller sailboats,several former America’s Cup racers that also offer charters, and, of course, the other charter schooners.
3. All the while, you’ll be journeying back in time, gaining a visceral feel for old New England. Your crew will haul together to raise the sails as ropes and wooden hoops rattle against wooden masts. The hull will power through the salty blue waves, and when the breeze comes up, you’ll feel the spray across the bow.

We love our schooners for their constant presence as we sail. Thunderstorms or heavy winds sometimes keep them at the docks along Bowens Wharf, but they’re sturdy and safe and will be out back on the bay the moment the weather clears. Learn more at these Newport charter schooner links: Madeleine   -   Aquidneck   -   Adirondack II

Newport doesn't have a monopoly on schooners, of course. Do you have one sailing where you take to the water?


Charter schooner Aquidneck and Adirondack chairs

A passing schooner and a set of Adirondack chairs - complementary classics.