FAQ’s

What you need to know

What should we bring and wear?

Soft soled shoes, sneakers or sandals are fine. No black soled shoes or high heels please. If you wear high heels you may need to go barefoot. Bring appropriate gear for going out on the water. In the spring and fall we recommend a lightweight jacket and a pair of pants. In the summer, unless it's really hot, you'll want a jacket or sweatshirt for sunset sails. If you're sailing during the day, bring sun block (not tanning oil which makes the decks slippery) and wear a hat.  And if it looks like rain, bring a rain jacket! Lastly, don't forget a camera, maybe binoculars and your sense of adventure!

What about the weather?

Our sails run in light to moderately inclement weather.  Don't worry, we won't send you out in heavy persistent rain, thick fog, high winds or if threatening weather appears imminent.  Keep in mind that we will sail in cloudy, cool or overcast conditions, in light to medium fog and on and off sprinkles. 

If we cancel your sail due to adverse weather conditions, you will receive a 100% refund, can elect to reschedule, or receive a gift certificate for a future trip.

The timing and path of thunderstorms is very hard to predict, therefore a decision to cancel a sail because of a thunderstorm watch is typically only made 30 minutes before departure.

The final decision to sail resides with us. If you've purchased a ticket and decide not to show up because of the weather and the boat sails, your ticket or charter will not be refundable.

Unfortunately we can't guarantee you a postcard picture-perfect sunset and we won't cancel a "sunset sail" just because it's overcast. 

If the weather looks questionable, we'll check the radar before we leave and if it looks like it's going to start pouring and rain for most of the sail, we will cancel. If it looks like there might be an occasional light sprinkle, we'll go! Bring your sense of adventure! We have ponchos available in case of a pop-up shower. 

There is an old saying in New England that "If you don't like the weather, just wait a minute, it will change!"  For instance, some days it may be pouring in the morning only to be beautiful in the afternoon, or pour all day only to stop just before our sunset sail. And there have been days where the chance of rain is 80% and it never rains in Newport!  Therefore, we don't call off our trips when we see a five day forecast that calls for "a chance of thundershowers."

Over the years, we have had many enjoyable trips in less than spectacular conditions. We think this policy is fair and appreciate your cooperation. For the latest forecast, click on the Local Weather link in the footer of this page.

What's our cancellation/refund policy?

Cancelling Tickets & Charters:

Public Sails: Tickets aboard public sails are only valid for the date and time purchased. Tickets may be cancelled and a 100% refund issued,  providing you cancel at least 5 days prior to departure. If you cancel less than 5 days before your departure you will receive no refund. 

Private Charters: Charters are valid only for the date and time purchased. Charters may be cancelled and a 100% refund issued, if you cancel at least 10 days before your sail. If you cancel less than 10 days before departure, no refunds will be issued. 

Weather: If we cancel your sail due to adverse weather conditions,  you will receive a 100% refund, can choose to reschedule, or receive a gift certificate for a future trip. See our FAQ answer above about weather.

The final decision to sail resides with us. If you've purchased a ticket or booked a charter and decide not to show up because of the weather and the boat sails, your tickets or charter is non-refundable.

Where do we park?

We're located on Bowen's Wharf, an 18th-century wharf and pedestrian thoroughfare. You cannot drive onto Bowen's Wharf; you need to park and walk onto it. 

Bowen's Wharf is on America's Cup Avenue. A good address to put into your GPS is 49 America's Cup Ave which is the address for The Newport Hotel which is next to Bowen's Wharf. 

Once you're at 49 America's Cup Ave., you will see the Seamen Church Institute. Just past the Institute, look for the very tall flagpole with all sorts of colorful flags on it. Walk to that flagpole, follow the bricks onto the wharf, and at the foot of the small parking lot you will see our small house and big blue awning which says Sightsailing! Easy! 

If you're driving, there is a small parking lot at Bowen's Wharf just past 49 America's Cup Ave that holds about 20 cars. It's first-come, first-served, and fills up fast.

The largest and least expensive parking garage in Newport is at the Discover Newport Visitor Bureau at 23 America's Cup Ave. Rates range from $10/day on weekdays to $20/day on weekends.  The lot is less than a 1/4 mile or about an 8-minute walk from Bowens Wharf. 

The Mooring restaurant located at 1 Sayers Wharf, Newport RI has a large parking lot. There are many other lots and meters along Thames St and America's Cup Ave. There are also parking meters. These have a three-hour limit which is strictly enforced and are about $1.25/hour. 

Keep in mind that there are often major events occurring on weekends in Newport, traffic can be heavy, and it can take longer than expected to get into town and find a place to park. If you're coming on a weekend, give yourself plenty of extra time. 

See our Downtown Newport Parking Map or The Ultimate Guide to Parking in Newport.

When do tickets for public sails go on sale?

Tickets for Public Sails on Aquidneck go on sale 21 days before departure. 

Private Charters on any of the boats including Starlight may be booked at any time.

Once tickets for public sails go on sale for Aquidneck, the dates and times appear in the Book Online section. If you don't see a boat's schedule for the season in the Book Online section, look in the Schedules & Rates menu on the website.   

What is the best time of day to sail?

In the summer, the prevailing wind in Newport is from the Southwest. It tends to be light in the morning, increase by late morning, build all afternoon, then moderate, and sometimes die close to sunset. Morning sails are generally gentle, afternoon sails exhilarating, and sunset sails relaxing. 

If a cold front has just come through, the wind will be strongest in the morning. This is more typical in the fall. If you see a flag flying straight out there is plenty of wind to sail. Sightsailer and Starlight sail in the slightest of breezes. Aquidneck generally needs around 10 mph of wind to sail. Keep in mind that unfortunately, we cannot control the wind. While we strive to sail as much as possible, if the wind dies or is too light to sail, we'll probably start and run the motor so you can at least see the sights!

What about food and drink?

PUBLIC SAILS:

Drink:

On Public Sails, we recommend you bring water.  If you would like, a small amount of alcohol may be brought aboard (i.e. a bottle of wine or 6-pack of beer). No cases of beer, large or roll-on coolers are permitted. For safety reasons and to ensure the enjoyment of all, excessive drinking is not allowed. No hard alcohol is permitted aboard at any time.

Food:

On Public Sails, any food brought aboard must be contained to one's lap. No platters of food or large spreads, please.

PRIVATE CHARTERS:

We often find that guests doing Private Charters on Aquidneck and Sightsailer make the mistake of ordering too much food and drink.  If you are doing a Private Charter, please keep food and drink orders on the smaller side. 1 appetizer platter for Sightsailer will suffice for 13 guests and 4-6 platters on Aquidneck will be enough to feed 49 guests.  We do not have room at the dock to store leftover food or drink.

Drink:

If you are privately chartering one of our boats you may bring your own drinks or arrange to have them delivered.  We allow beer, wine, champagne, soda, and water, however, no hard liquor is allowed on our boats at any time.

Most guests arrange to have drinks delivered since delivery is free with no markup in cost and it's easier since it eliminates having to lug coolers to the wharf. For ordering and free drink delivery, call Vickers’ Liquors at 401 847-0123. You should also order about 2-6 bags of ice. One bag if sailing on Starlight, two if sailing on Sightsailer and six if sailing on Aquidneck. Once your drinks are delivered, our crew will put your drinks and ice into coolers and on the boat.

Please tell Vickers' to deliver your drinks a half hour before departure time.  This will ensure that our crew has enough time to get your drinks aboard and help you depart on time.

Food:

 If you are privately chartering one of our boats, you may bring your own food or use a caterer of your choosing. Our crew will put aboard, clean up and remove any food or drink you bring or have catered.

There are many good caterers in Newport and you're welcome to use any caterer that you'd like.  If you are chartering Aquidneck, we can email you a couple of Yacht Charter Menus from some outstanding local caterers that many of our guests have used with menus specifically designed for larger groups aboard boats. 

These caterers do not serve for groups on Sightsailer or Starlight.  If you're chartering Starlight or Sightsailer, we suggest you stop at a local market and pick up food on your own. There are also several markets close by on Thames Street and on America's Cup Avenue.

Food can be upscale and elegant or more casual fare. Suggested servings are sandwiches, wraps, skewered food, etc. Think finger foods that are easy to pick up and eat with one hand without the need for utensils or further preparation. Keep in mind the limitations of serving food on a moving sailing vessel on a potentially breezy day. Potato chips in bags will give new meaning to the term fast food.

There isn't room for place settings, knives, forks or carving stations, however there is room for small plates and napkins. We do not have the equipment to reheat or warm-up appetizers, so cold appetizers are best. 

For private charters on Aquidneck, we set up a large, elegant, varnished table on which to place platters of food and wine or champagne bottles.  There is plenty of space to accommodate appetizer platters.

Sightsailer has a small narrow table, that can accommodate one or two platters. Starlight has a very small cockpit table so food should be kept to a minimum.

Please tell any caterer you use to deliver your food a 1/2 hour before your scheduled departure time.  This will allow our crew enough time to get your food on board, set up, and help you depart on time.

What exactly do we see on the sails? Is there any narration?

On all of our boats, you will get great views of the Pell Bridge, see Fort Adams, the largest coastal fortification in North America, Hammersmith Farm, the old summer White House of JFK, and Clingstone a one-of-kind house on an island. The wind and tide are always changing and none of our boats follow an exact route, so no two trips are exactly alike!

All of our captains and crew are well versed on the various sights in the area. Light, informative commentary of the highlights is offered however, this is not a fully narrated tour. Sightsailing is sailing with leisurely sightseeing, not constant commentary.

Can I steer the boat and help sail?

Unless it's extremely windy or the bay is very congested, we encourage anyone who is interested, to take the wheel and sail our boats! Discover sailing in Newport, the sailing capital of the U.S. It's a thrill and a great picture-taking opportunity!

What about children?

Public Sails: To ensure the enjoyment of all our guests, no children under the age of 6 are permitted on Public Sails on Aquidneck. No children under 10 are permitted on Public Sails on Sightsailer.  

Private Charters: Starlight is operated by only one captain, so for safety reasons, NO children under 6 are permitted on Starlight.  Aboard Aquidneck and Sightsailer, children under 6 are permitted. For children under age 6, we recommend bringing your own life jackets. 

Minimum Mobility Requirements

None of our boats are wheelchair accessible. Our boats are really not suited to anyone with mobility issues. 

To get on and off Aquidneck and Sightsailer, a person needs to be able to walk down a steep ramp, then about 40 feet down a floating, wobbly dock, up 5 steps with a rail, step up and over a 12-inch step and into the boat. You also need to go down the same steep stairs at the end of the trip and the wobbly dock. Our crew can certainly offer a hand to get up and down the stairs, however, we're not able to pick someone up and carry them aboard. Once aboard, you must have use of your legs in order to brace yourself in all sailing conditions.

To get on and off Starlight you need to be able to go up and down a fixed ladder with narrow rungs. Unless you can go up and down a ladder unassisted, a person with a disability cannot sail on Starlight.

We suggest calling Sail to Prevail in Newport which operates sailing vessels specially designed to accommodate people with mobility issues. Their number is 401 849-8898.

Can we bring our dog aboard?

With the exception of service or companion dogs, NO dogs are permitted aboard our boats.  If you have a service or companion dog that you would like to bring aboard, please notify us in advance. We only allow service or companion dogs on our largest boat,  Aquidneck.

Due to space, safety, and comfort issues, NO dogs of any type are permitted aboard Starlight or Sightsailer. 

What are our policies for large groups on public sails?

Large Groups: Please call us at 401-619-0202 for groups of 10 or more aboard Aquidneck, so we can offer you $2.50 off per ticket. We require that the block of tickets be purchased under one name. Similar to a large group at a restaurant, a 15% crew gratuity will be added to the total ticket cost. If this gratuity is not collected at the time of purchase, it will be collected at check-in time before boarding. If you try to circumvent this policy, we reserve the right to cancel your tickets. 

We do not sell tickets for public sails until 21 days before departure.   

If your group is larger than 14, we require that you privately charter the vessel. Please call us at 401-619-0202 for private charter information or complete our Private Charter Inquiry Form. 

On public sails, we do not allow large or roll-on coolers, cases of beer, large spreads of food, Bluetooth music speakers, or party props of any kind. We promote a family-friendly environment and ask that all groups are respectful of other guests onboard.

 If you're looking for a sail with food, coolers, drinks, music, etc. then consider a private charter with just your group on board.

How can I purchase a gift certificate?

Electronic gift cards may be purchased on our website. Click on the "Book Online" button and at the top there is a link for Gift Certificates. They can be purchased for any amount and must be redeemed through our online booking system using the code provided. Feel free to call us at 401 849-3333 and we can walk you through it.

Do the boats have restrooms?

All of our boats have marine toilets known as 'heads' on board.