Philosophers and poets alike are fond of comparing sailing with the difficulties of navigating life. A Roman pundit in the first century AD is recorded as saying, “If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.” George William Curtis, a 19th-century social reformer and author, wrote, “It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.” And then we have Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) telling us that “Not to have control over the senses is like sailing in a rudderless ship, bound to break to pieces on coming in contact with the very first rock.”
Well, for “smooth sailing from here on in,” at least literally, consider the Tivoli Sailing Company. Captain Jerome Hollick has been sailing for 25 years, teaching for nine years and operating the business based in Saugerties since 2007. He offers sailing lessons for adults, a summer adventure camp for kids and catered cruises for romantic souls who simply wish to enjoy being on the Hudson River in a sailboat with someone else at the helm.
The Company’s Champagne Sunset charters and the dinner and lunch cruises are the most popular options, says Hollick. The sunset cruise offers a two-hour sail for two people, with music, crabcakes and bubbly provided, for $160. The same rate applies for an Engagement Charter, where the big question can be popped along with the champagne while cruising down the river. A proposal might also go over well on the Midsummer Moonlight Sail, a three-hour cruise on the Hudson under the stars by moonlight. Rates are $75 to $105 per person, depending on whether the trip is catered or not. Prices for the lunch or dinner cruises vary with the menu selection.
Adult sailing lessons are offered on Mondays and/or Wednesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every week throughout the summer until the end of October. Lessons are customized to the individual: whether they need just a quick refresher session or an in-depth beginner lesson. Individual sessions cost $50 per hour per person, with a minimum of two hours. The Beginner Package is a 26-hour course of 20 hours on the water (five four-hour sessions) plus three two-hour classroom sessions for $800. The Club Package suits those (the majority, says Hollick) who don’t have their own boat, and costs $1,650 for the entire season.
The Tivoli Sailing Company has two boats: a 24-footer for the kids’ programs and a 29-footer used mainly on the charter trips, says Hollick. The ten-week Adventure Sailing School for kids is sold out for this summer, but at some point the Company may be adding the larger boat to the program, he says, which will open up more available spots. There’s a waiting list for any openings through cancellations.
“We’re having our best year yet with the camp,” says Hollick. “We filled up in record time this year. The parents like it because we have a two-to-one student/teacher ratio, so the kids don’t get lost in the shuffle; and the smaller the program, the more the kids open up. We’ve had all age ranges, and put kids together from 5 to 14 [years old], and they all get along.”
The program is holistic in approach, melding the practical and technical aspects of sailboat navigation with an appreciation of history and ecology, with a good dose of pirate lore and “maritime warfare” (pelting each other with water balloons) as well. Grounding information in real history makes everything come to life, says Hollick. Even though the kids were resistant at first when they heard that they were going to have a lecture about warships recently, in the end they couldn’t get enough of it, he says, and the program even ran late that day because the kids were so into asking questions.
The Tivoli Sailing Company has two locations, in Saugerties and Tivoli, a mile-and-a-half apart. It will pick up in Rhinecliff, but only with a $500 minimum. Hollick says that he likes to build a personal relationship with his clients, and thinks of his business as being “an engine” to benefit local tourism and the economy. “The dock in Tivoli was built by a bunch of us,” says Hollick, “for public use as well, which helps foster the local economy. We don’t take up any space in the town, but people come in to drop their kids off and go out to dinner, or they get off charters and go to the B & Bs. We’re really like unofficial tour guides.”
The Tivoli Sailing Company operates from docks in Saugerties and Tivoli. Adult sailing lessons, romantic cruises for two and summer sailing camp for kids are among the activities available. For rates and more information, call (845) 901-2697, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tivolisailing.com.