We walked down to Coal Harbour from our place in the West End on a simmering, sunny afternoon and reached Harbour Green Park just as the Blue Heron pulled up to the dock. Cody from Simplicity Sailing Charters had reached out to me about coming for a sunset sail and I couldn’t possibly turn down the opportunity to get out on the water in Vancouver, especially on a spectacular summer evening in July.
Vancouver Sunset Sailboat Cruise
Owners Cody and Jared Doolan were our crew for the sail and after a brief safety message, we left the city behind and took the water as a light serenade from Jack Johnson wafted from the galley’s radio.
We soon learned that Cody and Jared — brothers from Bend, Oregon — aren’t your average crew or tour guides. Jared’s background is in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering, and Cody’s is in Chemical Oceanography and Ecology. They can tell you everything about the Aloha model boat you’re in to air foils, head sails, and the 150% genoa good for light winds, to why sails move the way they do.
On the tour, your involvement with the sailing is entirely up to you. You can learn to sail or refresh your skills, or simply sit back and relax. Since we were with John’s two nephews who are visiting us from Iowa this week, we did a bit of both (well, the boys did). John was, for lack of a better term, geeking out because in that short time he learned so much about the mechanics of sailing.
We all sat in the calm waters off English Bay as the motor was cut and our movements were left up to the wind. It was peaceful, even as we looped between anchored tanker ships which were fun to look up on Google to see what they were carrying.
Cody brought up a nautical map from the galley to show us the shipping lines and I learned quite a few new things, including that the thoroughfare between Bowen Island and West Vancouver is the Queen Charlotte Channel.
A sunset sailboat cruise sounds romantic, and it is perfect for such occasions — gliding over waves, watching the sun slip behind the mountains — but what made me swoon was seeing our city and our gorgeous region from another perspective.
As the sky turned orange and the Third Beach drum circle began to pipe up, echoing from the shore, we made our way back around the Sea Wall, under Lions Gate Bridge, around Brockton Point, and into Coal Harbour. The salty sea air that was tickling my nose was suddenly pierced with the warm and familiar scent of Douglas Firs and Cedars, emanating from the green slopes of Stanley Park. I said aloud, “I love this city.” My nephew from Iowa replied, “I love this city, and I’ve only been here for 6 hours.”
Packages, for groups up to 6 people, start at $450 and they are all 3 hours or more. Enjoy a late morning sail, afternoon sail, sunset sail (like we did), a sail to Granville Island, a sail to Bowen Island, or a fireworks sail during the Honda Celebration of Light. We’re already planning our next trip out, which will most likely be to Bowen Island to find some great cafes Cody told us about.
Non-alcohol beverages are provided, you can bring your own food and beverages, and when you book the boat it’s entirely yours during your time slot. If you’re ready to go, you can book online and prepare for your lovely experience of Vancouver from the sea. Following Simplicity Sailing on Facebook and Twitter for more information.