Looking to get away from it all, even for a few hours? Charter a boat and sail the sea.
“I call it ‘Experience Independence,’” said Lloyd Wilson, owner of the Sail Independence, a 65-foot yacht that’s based in Salem Harbor.
For a few hours, guests can relax and enjoy the view. While the wind fans their faces and fills the sails, Wilson and his crew man the helm.
A luxury yacht designed for worldwide cruising, the Independence can hold up to 12 guests.
Wilson provides light appetizers, but also suggests that guests pack a picnic lunch or bring food to cook on the onboard grill, plus their own beverages.
Brenda and Chris Silva, owners of Front Street Coffeehouse in Salem, find it’s the perfect getaway for a few hours, or even overnight.
“Summers are so short,” said Chris Silva. “It’s nice to get out and do something once in a while.”
Chartering the Independence has become a “go-to” vacation for the couple, ranging from a simple trip to neighboring Gloucester for dinner to a longer sail into Boston. Wilson docks in Boston Harbor while the Silvas enjoy dinner in the North End. They have even treated their coffeehouse employees to the trip.
But by far, the couple’s favorite times are when they’ve chartered the Independence for a sunset cruise “for just the two of us,” Chris Silva said.
“It’s a thrill,” he said. “The boat really covers some ground. It’s like racing a Ferrari for the weekend versus [driving] your Honda Accord.”
Based in Salem, the Independence sails anywhere on the North Shore, but also does pickups on the South Shore in Scituate for an extra $500. It charters out of Boston, too.
Rates for a private sail are based on up to six passengers. who have the yacht all to themselves. Most charters require a three-hour minimum, and there are also also half-day, full-day, and overnight trips. The main salon has two sleeping berths and dining for eight.
Upon return to the mooring in Salem Harbor, “You can just hang, have a beer, and talk,” Silva said.
Wilson advertises a 20 percent discount for special occasions, such as a birthday or anniversary ($500 for three hours). Wilson can sail people through Marblehead or Manchester-by-the-Sea, past state parks and estates, giving a history of the area along the way.
If two to four sailors have an urge to splurge, they can sail away for a week with Wilson and crew to Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown, or Nantucket for around $7,000.
The prices might keep some people away, but Silva has one reason he enthusiastically recommends it:
“The best boat is someone else’s,” he said.
Kathy Shiels Tully can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.