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Students Set Sail for Fun & Learning with Yorktown Sailing Charters

Students Set Sail for Fun & Learning with Yorktown Sailing Charters

Conveniently located in Virginia’s Historic Triangle

The corners of the Historic Triangle representing Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown draw student and youth groups eager to witness the birthplace of their nation. In this important area, the first permanent English settlement was established and the decisive battle of the American Revolution was won. Yorktown Sailing Charters is in the center of it all.

Yorktown Sailing Charters is located on Water Street in historic Yorktown. The pier is easily accessible from Colonial Williamsburg via the Colonial Parkway towards Yorktown. Driving eastbound on I-64 from Richmond or Williamsburg, groups will take exit 247. Westbound on I-64 coming from Norfolk, Hampton or Newport News, take exit 250B.

The motorcoach and school bus drop-off are convenient, and there’s parking at the County Administration Building just two blocks away.

How does Yorktown Sailing Charters enhance the Historic Triangle experience?



The 105’ tall ship schooner Alliance is a history lesson in itself. Purchased and brought to Yorktown in 2005, Alliance gets her name from the French and American alliance that was important to winning our nation’s independence. Her passenger capacity is 49.



The Serenity was built as a cargo schooner and converted to a passenger vessel certified to carry 29 passengers. Experience the feeling of sailing’s golden age when Americans climbed aboard vessels similar to Alliance and Serenity.

On the Historic Yorktown Cruise your class will trace the same waters that Captain John Smith explored more than 400 years ago. It’s a fitting history lesson when passengers are invited to help set sail. Those accepting the call will work the block and tackle in the traditional way. That will require some elbow grease.

Your class will cruise the protected waters of the York River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, for a unique view of Yorktown Battlefield and the Victory Monument. You’ll view 18th century homes and possibly see a naval warship or submarine. The knowledgeable crew is readily available to share a view of the past and the importance of these waters and the adjoining land. This fun and educational two-hour cruise enhances any American history lesson, regardless of grade level. For larger groups, back-to-back one-hour sails can be scheduled.

What’s available for science class students?

On any given sail there is the distinct possibility of sighting osprey, dolphins and working watermen. The surrounding waters are rich in marine life.

Kory from VIMS

Kory from VIMS

Science Under Sail Cruises are available every Wednesday in May in partnership with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. A visiting scientist comes onboard and conducts a class in his or her specific area of expertise. Topics in 2015 have included Drifters and Jellyfish, Trash Talk, Fishes Near and Far and Shifting Sands.

Is there something special for younger age groups?

Pirates and privateers sailed the waters surrounding Yorktown hundreds of years ago. Today, young pirates set sail as they did back in the day on a traditionally rigged sailing vessel. They’ll raise the sails, learn the proper knots and sailors’ lore, and even steer the schooner.


Knot Tying

This is Captain Mayhem’s School of Piracy! The cruise is 1.5 hours in length. That’s just enough time to get themed tattoos. Although primarily sailing from Yorktown Harbor, Captain Mayhem and his pirate-costumed crew does have a limited June schedule from Cape Charles Town Harbor (VA).

Are there meals onboard?

Beverages and snacks can be purchased onboard the Alliance and Serenity, cash only. Outside food and drink, except for bottled water, are not permitted. Box lunches are available when ordered in advance.

What are the student/youth/performance group policies?

For both performance and student groups, Yorktown Sailing Charters is a great choice. Performance groups take a break from their routines and enjoy much needed recreation on the York River. Student groups enjoy that same recreation, but with an added educational component. The Historic Yorktown Cruise and the Science Under sail Cruise both have a place in the curriculum.

  • Children 12 and under pay a lower admission.
  • Groups of 20 or more receive a 10-percent discount off the regular per person admission on public cruises.
  • Alliance can carry up to 49 guests and Serenity up to 26 guests. Both are available for private charters.
  • For large groups, back-to-back one-hour sails can be scheduled.
  • The cruises are not narrated, but the captain and crew are knowledgeable and happy to answer questions.

To augment sailing experience, groups may arrange visits to the Yorktown Victory Center, Yorktown Visitors Center, the battlefield or Watermen’s Museum. There is a public beach with picnic area nearby.

When do the Schooners Alliance and Serenity sail?

The season is April 1 through early November. There are two daily departures for the Historic Yorktown Cruise from the Yorktown pier. Set sail at 11a.m. and 2 p.m. for a two-hour sail. Sunset Sail departure times vary by time of the year.

Science Under Sail departs every Wednesday in May at 2 p.m. for a two-hour sail. Pirate Adventure Sails are 1.5 hours, departing at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Student and performance groups are encouraged to make their arrangements well in advance. Each sail often sells out.

Sailing aboard the schooners Alliance and Serenity is a wonderful complement to any Historic Triangle student/youth itinerary. Whether your sail is history, science, relaxation or just plain fun, the experience promises to be memorable.

Operating from Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Greg and Laura Lohse brought their business to Yorktown at Riverwalk Landing in 2005 with the purchase of the Alliance. Their desire is for each student to feel welcome on the cruise and have a rich learning experience.

How are arrangements made for student groups?

Yorktown Sailing Charters can be reached at 757-639-1233 or Begin planning online at or reach them by mail at P.O. Box 236, Yorktown, VA 23690.