You can find us on the dock at Sapphire Beach Marina, Slip S-33. Sapphire Marina is located on the East End of St. Thomas and offers an easy sail across the protected waters of Pillsbury Sound to St. John and numerous smaller islands. Being able to board directly from the dock is not only convenient for guests of all abilities but saves a considerable amount of time embarking and disembarking which means more time for sailing and snorkeling.
Lots of fun and adventure. We board at 9 am and serve a continental breakfast and morning beverages while we stow gear and make introductions all around. This is a very friendly sail. After a short safety orientation, we set sail in the protected waters of Pillsbury Sound and let the wind and sea determine our destination. Two hours of exhilarating “sailing to weather” brings us to our fist stop. There is plenty of time to snorkel, beach comb, swim or lounge on deck with drinks and snacks before lunch. Sailing and snorkeling have a way of working up your appetite so we make sure that our tropical lunch is both tasty and substantial. While you relax after lunch we move to a second reef or beach for more snorkeling, relaxing or whatever. The gentle Trade Winds offer an easy sail back to the dock, sipping your favorite beverage, conversing with new friends or listening to Tall Tales, pirate lore and Virgin Islands history from the crew.
Our all inclusive day sail includes Continental breakfast, snacks, tasty tropical lunch, dessert, open bar with juices, water, sodas, beer and mixed drinks, quality snorkel gear and instruction, swim floats, noodles, rafts, swim aids and a tender for non swimmers . Plus lots of fun in the sun!
You just need to bring a sense of adventure, an appetite for fun, a towel, camera and sun lotion. We supply all food, drink and snorkel gear. Naturally, if you have your own snorkel gear, you are welcome to bring it. You might want to purchase a T-shirt or tank top to remember your trip. A gratuity is customary and is always appreciated by your hard working crew members.
We sail in the protected waters of Pillsbury Sound to St. John and the Virgin Islands National Park or one of the smaller surrounding cays. It all depends on the direction of the wind, the waves and abilities of our guests. Everyday is different and we choose the very best anchorages for the given conditions. You can see all of our potential anchorages on the Where we sail page.
Next to sailing, snorkeling is what a day sail is all about. We strive to give you the best snorkeling experience possible. We first consider your safety and then we pick the best reef which offers the most comfortable conditions. We outfit each snorkeler with appropriate gear and flotation aids according to their abilities. Whether you are a first time snorkeler, an intermediate snorkeler in need of a refresher, or a veritable Jacques Cousteau in search of a reef, you can trust our crew to help make snorkeling effortless and enjoyable. All our gear is maintained to the highest standards and we have plenty of sizes and shapes to fit everyone from the smallest child to the largest adult.
We have plenty! Even the most die hard sun worshipers will enjoy a break during the day. You can join the captain under the permanent awning over the cockpit or seek the shade from the sails on our way out in the morning. Once we stop, we erect a full awning from the mast back to the cockpit giving half the boat shade while the spacious foredeck remains drenched in sun. We recommend at least a 15 sun lotion (30 or even 45 is better).
Lunch is always the focal point of the day. Being on the water really works up an appetite, so before lunch we offer snacks to go with your après snorkel drinks. Our Buffet is then served under the shade awning and consists of Caribbean seasoned roast chicken, pasta salad with vegetables, two type of deviled eggs, banana bread, fresh tropical fruit, and double chocolate cake for dessert. Champagne is available as well as any of your favorite drinks. And remember, our bar is open all day for soft drinks, juices, water, cocktails and beer. Just ask the first mate if she doesn’t ask you first!
Nightwind is 57 feet overall, 50 feet on deck and 100 feet when you paint her. Her mast is 60 feet off the deck, she carries four sails with over 1400 square feet of sail area, weighs 28 tons and has a draft of 8 feet. All this makes Nightwind a very sea kindly yacht, able to slice through the seas for smooth sailing. The fore deck is wide open and expansive making her seem even larger.
The US Coast Guard determines a boats capacity. Boats which are not inspected by the US Coast Guard are limited to no more than 6 passengers. Only those vessels meeting the higher safety standards of the Coast Guard Inspected Vessel regulations are granted licenses to carry more passengers. Nightwind is large enough to be licensed to carry up to 15 passengers although our normal trip is between 4 and 12 passengers.
Certainly. We regularly do private charters for groups, extended families, weddings and business incentives. We have more information on our Private/Exclusive Charters page. Contact us for rates depending on the number of people and season.
Q?We’re arriving on a cruise ship. Will we have time?
During the Winter, St. Thomas is on Atlantic Standard Time which is one hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Some cruise lines use the concept of “Ship’s Time” which means they stay on Eastern Standard Time throughout the voyage. (this is not a problem during the Summer when the East Coast is on Daylight Savings Time since then we are both on the same time). Please check with your cruise line to insure that you dock early enough to board between 9 and 9:30 am local time. Of course, if you have a private charter then you can board at your convenience.
Of course. We need future daysail captains so Doug and I can retire some day. Our youngest sailor has been 6 weeks and our oldest child 92. We have all the appropriate life vests and snorkel gear for all ages. We even have boogie boards with viewing ports for the pre-snorkel set. There is a children’s discount for 12 and younger.
The Virgin Islands are blessed with phenomenally good weather. Being in the Tropics we have our daily brief showers but bad weather occurs only infrequently. Should that be the case, the captain will make a decision in the morning. If the captain determines that the sail should be cancelled, you will have the choice of rebooking or receiving a refund.
Captain Rick and Cathy are saddened with the loss of Nightwind. We do want all our friends, guests, fellow sailors and followers of Yacht Nightwind to know about her demise. Nightwind had a long and very exciting sailing here in the Caribbean. She began day sailing in 1977, we purchased her in 2008. She has always been lovingly and very well maintained during her life time.
Nightwind’s last day sail charter (we had no idea at the time of course) was on August 14, 2017 only a couple of days before she was taken into Independent Boatyard for her usual “spa treatment” (maintenance and inspection by the US Coast Guard). During the weeks before Irma, Captain Rick gave his all to making sure she would be ready for our first sail in late October.
Our plans changed in a flash, on September 6, 2017 she was hit by the roof of a steel building next to the boat yard and was thrown on her port side heavily and severely damaging her wooden hull (four very large holes from the jack stands going through the hull) and broke the mast in several places. Unfortunately, she was a total loss for us.
Yacht Nightwind will be missed in the Caribbean waters by all who just knew her, those who have sailed aboard her, her previous owners and by us Rick and Cathy. Her beauty as a custom yacht was unmatched and under sail she was absolutely beautiful and sail she could. Many of you have sailed her too many times to count over the years.
We certainly appreciate all of you for your support of Nightwind Charters. What’s in store for Captain Rick and Cathy remains unknown at this time. Follow us and check us out from time to time and when we know what the future holds we will let you know and hope you will become part of it.
Thanks to everyone once again.
May Nightwind continue to have fair winds and following seas. We were blessed to have been part of her sailings.