Sailing on Lake Michigan is an ideal way to celebrate Labor Day weekend. Spending time on a boat is also enjoyable during the middle and beginning of summer, though for now, end of summer will do.
One of the best vessels to board is the Tall Ship Windy—a 148-foot four-masted schooner modeled after a traditional Great Lakes trading ship from Tall Ship Adventures of Chicago.
In addition to its historic look and feel, the Windy features Great Lakes history and an interactive sailing experience during its daily 60-75 minute voyages, which depart from Navy Pier.
On Wednesday and Saturday nights, the Windy offers a special 1.5 hour fireworks cruise. Although the views of the city and sky are dramatic, time spent on the boat is very laid-back.
“Unlike fighting crowds on shore, watching Navy Pier’s fireworks display from the water is secluded and relaxing,” notes Jessie Mutz, Outreach Manager for Tall Ship Adventures of Chicago. “Being on the lake puts you right up close to the show, allows you to catch a breeze off of the water, and most importantly, is a great way to see the fireworks against the backdrop of Chicago’s beautiful and brilliantly-lit skyline!
“Tall Ship Windy has three large, open decks for seating, providing an excellent – and unobstructed – view of the fireworks display. Additionally, Windy sails by wind power, so with no engine noise, the atmosphere on board is quiet and peaceful. Guests can purchase drinks and concessions from the ship’s bar to enjoy during the 1.5-hour evening cruise, and have the option to participate in Windy‘s signature historical programming—a sea shanty sing-along on Wednesday nights, and Great Lakes ghost stories on Saturdays.”
In addition to the Windy, Tall Ship Adventures of Chicago has the Pianissimo in its fleet. According to Mutz, the “beautiful luxury sailboat [is] ideal for a more intimate or high-end boating experience.”
For student groups seeking educational day cruises, the Windy provides Mariner Apprentice Programs which include a session on Harnessing the Wind which explains how a sailing ship works, even when moving against the wind or changing direction. The Language and Life of a Sailor teaches nautical terms and names for the vessel parts and provide hands-on exploration of the tools, trinkets, and nomenclature of a sailor from the 1880s to the present. Additional lessons are available on Real Pirates of the Inland Seas; Tall Ships & Ecology; and The History of Tall Ships.
“Windy offers educational sail training for student groups and interactive historical programming on most of our public sails,” explains Mutz. “In addition, aspiring sailors over 18-years-old may join Windy‘s volunteer crew program to learn alongside our staff. Volunteer crew members make a commitment of one day each week to come in and work on the ship, and in return, are taught the basics of tall ship sailing by Windy‘s knowledgeable crew.”
For more information on the Windy‘s programs or renting the Pianissimo, visit www.tallshipwindy.com or call 312-451-2700. Fireworks cruises run until September 1, however most other cruise-themes continue through October.