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Unforgettable Sailing in True New England Style

Welcoming visitors aboard in Burlington, Vermont: Whistling Man Schooner Co.

A small group onboard a sailing boat at sunset in Vermont

Gentle motion, mountain breeze, and cotton candy sunsets. The soft sound of water lapping against the hull cuts through the silence of the afternoon on the lake. Your favorite people with you, soaking up the peaceful moments at the start of an evening sail. Can there be a more perfect way to end a summer day?

Finding ways to explore the natural beauty of the destinations Conscious Travel Collective feature is an integral part of CTC itineraries. Partner businesses who share their love for the environment and offer wholesome ways for visitors to be a part of it all make the trip that much more special. One such partner is Burlington, Vermont’s Whistling Man Schooner Co.

Whistling Man Schooner Co. (WMSC) was established in 1996 in Burlington, Vermont as a way for visitors to see Lake Champlain from the best location: from the deck of a sailing vessel. Since its start its mission has remained the same: get folks out onto the Lake Champlain waters in classic style.

New England sailing nostalgia on Lake Champlain

Whistling Man Schooner Co.’s boats, Wild Rose and Friend Ship, are fiberglass replica sailing ships of the old Friendship Sloop design originating out of Friendship, Maine in the late 1800s. Originally designed as workboats for New England coastal trade, fishing, and lobstering along the Maine coast, Whistling Man cruises instead embrace the peace and leisure that sailing brings. These Friendship Sloop sailboats are sleek and sturdy, with classic lines, rustic rigging, and antique compasses that summon a sense of nostalgia in even non-sailors. An afternoon on Whistling Man’s boats make for a quintessential New England experience.

Sailboat on Lake Champlain at sunset
Credit: Whistling Man Schooner Co.

“It’s such a beautiful place to sail,” Whistling Man owner, Capt. Hannah Langsdale shares, from the winter boathouse where Friend Ship and Wild Rose are stored and maintained in the off-season. Hannah lights up when describing the sailing conditions that call her back each summer. “360-degree views of the Burlington area and the Adirondack and Green Mountains create a wind tunnel for great sailing conditions. It really is an amazing place to sail”

Originally from Maryland, Hannah came to Whistling Man as a deckhand after finishing college, having never sailed before. She fell in love with sailing on the Lake, the Whistling Man community, and she never looked back. When the business was for sale, Hannah, a captain then, happily took the helm.

"Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made, for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid." —Robert N. Rose

Freshwater, salty crew

Like Hannah, the rest of the Whistling Man crew came to the company from all over the eastern U.S. Some are Vermont natives, others hail from around New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. “The crew is awesome, like family,” says Capt. Hannah, “I have the best job, and the best crew.”

The teamwork begins after Lake Champlain has thawed and the boats are launched — long before the cruises are open to the public. Safety drills, vessel familiarization training, and pre-season sails all make up the behind-the-scenes processes to get each crew member ready for the busy summer season. The well-prepared crew make for seamless charters and smooth sailing for all the Whistling Man guests.

If you’re feeling adventurous, their confident Captains and deckhands are happy to let you take the helm, adjust the sails, and try your hand at sailing. No previous sailing experience required but be warned — you just might get hooked on it.

Burlington Community Uplift

Conscious Travel Collective seeks out partners who engage in community uplift. The ones who recognize the needs of others in their home community, and make efforts to serve them. The crew of Whistling Man Schooner Co. are just that type of group.

The WMSC team are an active bunch, with an obvious appreciation for each other, their community, and the outdoors. In addition to working on WMSC cruises, several crew members also volunteer their time and talents for the Sail Beyond Cancer Organization, a non-profit organization that uses the healing power of sailing to serve folks living with cancer and their families.

Likewise, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its peak, and many small businesses and artists were suffering from the required lockdowns and social distancing, Whistling Man Schooner Co. got creative in an effort to support musicians in their community who were struggling. Without the ability for Whistling Man to offer public cruises, and the artists unable to book the live performances they count on in the busy tourist seasons, Whistling Man offered the opportunity for those musicians to safely record in a unique and safe venue: their Friendship sloops.

A talented videographer and Whistling Man friend, Sean Morrissey recorded the performances and shared on Youtube, and the Whistling Man website. The project was named “Tiny Boat Concerts” and truly captured both the serenity of the Lake and outstanding talent of these creatives and allowed all involved to safely continue to share their talents throughout the pandemic. You can check those creations out here.

Sailing with Whistling Man Schooner Co.

Whistling Man Schooner Co. offers sailing in true New England style with public cruises and private charters. Their private charter cruises are two hours each and their season runs from May 15th to October 15th, with daily departures 3-10 times per day, weather permitting.

The private charters are tailored to the party’s needs. Special events like engagements, bachelor parties, work outings, and elopements are common themes of the private cruises. The Whistling Man team is well seasoned and prepared to bring your vision of a New England sailing adventure to life with everything from catering recommendations, decorations, and music selections. Their private charters are two hours long and can be scheduled during the daytime or for a sunset cruise.

Whistling Man Schooner Co. provides a fun escape from the shoreside bustle with the company of, strong sailors, good people, rich history, and the beauty of Burlington, Vermont from the water.

If an afternoon sailing the waters of Lake Champlain sounds like your kinda fun, why not a full Vermont adventure? Conscious Travel Collective’s private travel itineraries to Vermont can bring you along on a Whistling Man sailing cruise — as well as take you through the best of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom’s hidden gems.

You can learn more about private travel to Vermont here.

Icon for Women Owned Business

The author of this blog is the oh-so-talented, Shelagh Hogan.

You can find out more about her work on our team page

If you’re looking for ways to travel with more intention, subscribe to our mailing list, and follow Conscious Travel Collective on IG or FB. We craft private small group travel for those looking for meaningful connection to places and people, so when you are ready to experience for yourself, we are here help make it happen!


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