For those of us with a nautical leaning then there is nothing more relaxing than cruising Charleston harbor to take in the sights and sounds of our city by the sea. Charleston was founded from the sea, lies in the sea and, from time to time, its streets are encroached upon by the sea. So what better way to see the city then from its salty surroundings? Our beautiful city lies on a peninsula rich with its church spires and historic homes. Bounded on three sides by tidal waters, no area is more than a mile from the harbor waves. An early spring and late fall provides a long cruising season and great sailing activities. A large tidal harbor provides plenty of sea room and sights to entertain you along the way.
One of our favorite treats for visiting guests is to book a few hours with Dustin Ryan and his yacht Fate. At 50 foot there is plenty of space for a party of up to 6 plus two crew. Dustin has been operating the cruise for a good while and is intimately familiar with the sights, tides and sandbanks that can fool the novice. He is also a crack surfer and superb photographer so put those phones away and let him snap a few memories with all of you in the shot. Ask him for his shots of "Sun dogs" high in the Sirrus cloud layer.
Setting sail from Ashley River Marina, you will see plenty of Charleston's iconic sights, cruising past the Battery, rounding White Point than heading past the cruise terminal towards the Ravenel Bridge. Past dolphins and cormorant, pelican, tern and skimmer. Pass under the bridge then come about with a few practiced tacks. Out following the shipping channel towards the open ocean past Castle Pickney and Crab Bank then past Fort Moultrie. See Sullivans Island before passing Fort Sumter and heading in between the twin spires of the now unused Morris Island lighthouse and the still needed WW2 era lighthouse on Sullivans Island.
Jibe downwind from the onshore breeze, sails gull-winged, your course convergent with that of a popular tourist schooner, "Pride." Tiller over on to a broad reach, picking up speed and gleefully waving as you pass by her passengers on the starboard bulwark rail.
The light is fading as you head past White Point Gardens, past super yachts and their tenders, riding lights illuminated. Into the Ashley Marina, fenders out to starboard, secure the bow and stern lines, secure the springs. As our harbor cruise comes to an end we say our goodbyes to the captain, off onto the walkway, shoes back on, face tingling from the mixture of sun and breeze.
Note: Now onto the other thing we are known for here, which is restaurants and great beers, so the question of where to head next is easily answered!
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