Home

Reviews

  •   This was our third trip with Cap'n Bill and the wind was little to none. Sound like a recipe for a boring afternoon? WRONG!, it was as exciting as ever.
    The boat is beautiful and immaculately maintained. The vistas are striking and one never tires of seeing them. Steering your own course over the water is always fun.
    But what keeps us coming back compared to all the competition is Bill himself.
    Want to learn about sailing? Ask a guy doing it his whole life.
    Want to know the history of Yorktown? Ask a guy who's studied it for years.
    Want to know about the osprey nests you pass? Ask a student of nature.
    Want to discuss any other topic (as we did)? Ask a 40+ year veteran of the newspaper business, a great conversationalist on any topic.
    Want to lay back and listen to the whistle of the wind through the sails? You got it!
    I've said in prior reviews that this was not our last voyage with Cap'n Bill and indeed it was not. More

    James G
    7/07/2019
  •   Thank you sooo much for our wonderful cruise. Your teaching was so well done it was seamless from just having fun!!! My granddaughter really enjoyed helping with the sails and I will never forget feeling the boat come alive when I was at the helm and she heeled over to the wind a little. An unforgettable and addicting experience.To watch my family enjoying the day was a joy I treasure. That you were able to give us so much for such a reasonable price was even more appreciated.Thank you.

    sharon p
    7/06/2019
  •   This was the highlight of our vacation! Captain Bill was so much fun and very knowledgeable! His sailing class cruise was so much fun and we learned a lot about sailing! This is a private charter so my mom, daughter and I were thrilled to have this family adventure and personal time out on the river!

    Juanita D
    7/03/2019
  •   We had a wonderful sailing afternoon with Bill! Everyone had their turn at the wheel, which was a lot of fun. Great combination of sun, sailing and history. Thanks Bill!

    Nancy M
    7/03/2019
  •   Hey Bill: Thanks so much for a wonderful experience! We truly appreciate your professionalism and enthusiasm. You are gifted as an educator, instructor and entertainer. The fact that you can integrate what you likely consider hobbies seamlessly is undoubtedly a testament of being a master sailor. I am sure without your acupressure bands and you graciously allowing me to steer towards a fixed point on horizon that you might still be swabbing the deck (or even below). I was oblivious that Freda was genuinely afraid when the “tilt o’ meter” got rolling. I had full confidence that you had complete control of the ship at ALL times. The illusion of shared control is like the father who lets the child ride on their knee on a tractor. If you would allow me to offer what is 100 percent intended as a constructive criticism, please take the helm if you perceive a passenger is not relaxed. I am not the most perceptive individual (gross understatement); I did not “get it”. It is safe to assume that there may be others out there as clueless as me. I really do not want to make this sound like a lousy review - for nothing could be farther from the truth! I can recognize someone who prides himself on perfection. I am honestly just trying to communicate what I would want to hear if in your position. Since I have such a low probability... Hey Bill:
    Thanks so much for a wonderful experience! We truly appreciate your professionalism and enthusiasm. You are gifted as an educator, instructor and entertainer. The fact that you can integrate what you likely consider hobbies seamlessly is undoubtedly a testament of being a master sailor.
    I am sure without your acupressure bands and you graciously allowing me to steer towards a fixed point on horizon that you might still be swabbing the deck (or even below).
    I was oblivious that Freda was genuinely afraid when the “tilt o’ meter” got rolling. I had full confidence that you had complete control of the ship at ALL times. The illusion of shared control is like the father who lets the child ride on their knee on a tractor. If you would allow me to offer what is 100 percent intended as a constructive criticism, please take the helm if you perceive a passenger is not relaxed. I am not the most perceptive individual (gross understatement); I did not “get it”. It is safe to assume that there may be others out there as clueless as me.
    I really do not want to make this sound like a lousy review - for nothing could be farther from the truth! I can recognize someone who prides himself on perfection. I am honestly just trying to communicate what I would want to hear if in your position. Since I have such a low probability of causing you any angst, I figure I will take even a slim chance of a positive effect. Please take it as a respect for you and your pursuit of perfection.
    God Bless and God Speed in all your ventures and adventures
    Sam Crockett More

    Sam C
    7/03/2019
  •   The marina is convenient, with plenty of parking just steps from the dock. Captain Bill met us at our car and personally escorted us to his boat, settling us right in, stowing our things, offering water, showing us a safe and convenient spot for our...More

    andgone
    6/26/2019
  •   Captain Bill offered an awesome sailing experience which was the highlight of our Bachelorette weekend. This definitely beat out joining others on a large boat. It provided a private and intimate experience. Thank you!

    MGDowell
    6/25/2019
  •   Six of us, enjoyed a wonderful sail on the York River with Capt. Bill recently. Our knowledgeable host, allowed us each to "take the wheel" and sail in perfect conditions some 15 miles that afternoon, tacking to and fro and learning about the river today,...More

    Adventurer427220
    6/24/2019
  •   This trip was absolutely wonderful. Sailing with only 2 other couples on the 32 foot sailboat was amazing. Capt. Bill engaged everyone on the boat and allowed full participation at the helm and trimming sails. A three hour excursion up the York river and back....More

    Leslie B
    6/23/2019
  •   Whether you are a visitor to or a resident (as we are) of the Williamsburg area, this is a wonderful way to spend the morning or afternoon. The sail boat is a gorgeous vessel and the captain (Bill O'Donavan) is well versed about the history...More

    remeds
    6/23/2019

Charters

Choose from 6 Unique Sailing Charters

Rates

3-hour cruise departs daily at 11:00 and 2:30

  • Couples

    Semi-private

  • $150
  • Perfect for couples or friends
  • 3 hours sailing charter on York River
  • Cold bottled water provided, food welcome
  • Boat may include up to two other couples
  • Families

    Family

  • $250
  • Up to six people
  • 3 hours sailing charter on York River
  • Kids 12 yrs+ recommended
  • Cold bottled water provided, food welcome
  • Groups
  • $350
  • Up to six people
  • 3 hours sailing charter on York River
  • Sailing lesson optional
  • Cold bottled water provided, food welcome

wcs-sticky-logo6

 

 

Make Your Reservation by EMAIL

Let's Go Sail! Williamsburg Charter Sails departs twice daily April - November for skippered cruises. Reservations are first-come, first-reserved. No booking fee, Visa and MasterCard accepted. Complete the reservation form below. You'll receive an email confirmation when your trip is secured.
* indicates required field

FAQ

Email bodonovan8@gmail.com and you'll get a prompt reply.
You’ll enjoy 3 hours of safe and comfortable sailing on a modern single-mast sailboat. An optional short narrative outlines the decisive battle of the Revolutionary War.
Along the York River, off historic Yorktown.
Drive south from Williamsburg on the Colonial Parkway for 15 minutes.
Check out the Captain's Blog rail on this website to see how people enjoy great fun and conversation with our luxury sailboat charter, in a safe and unique setting. Call up Williamsburg Charter Sails on Facebook for photos and stories.



  1. Safe and comfortable 3 hours

  2. Adult sports adventure

  3. "Sail About" fun at 11 & 2:30

  4. Full bathroom on board

  5. Unique family adventure

  6. Check off your bucket list

  7. Great for special occasions

  8. Enjoy nature & sightseeing

  9. Take short sailing lessons

  10. Buying a boat? Try this first


Come as family or your own private group of up to six people.
Yes, we welcome one, two or three unrelated couples at $150 each.
Yes. We'll send you the best shots for free so you can post or print them as you like.
We typically sail at 11 and 2:30, but it depends on your schedule.
A cooler with bottled water and ice is on board for your drinks, along with the full amenities of an appointed interior salon.
Yes, a working head plus hot and cold water. There’s privacy to change into bathing suits.
Bring a sweater and jacket in the fall.
Yes, certified US Coast Guard PFDs are provided.
Kids 12 and under can be problematic on a sailboat. They will have to wear life jackets regardless. It’s your call.
 Sorry, no. This is a family-friendly enterprise.
At York River Yacht Haven marina, we can get a wheelchair within several feet of the transom to walk him or her on board, with no climbing. It's quick and easy.
No, six maximum. Coast Guard regulations preclude any more, including children.
Oh sure. Bottled water is provided too.
We’ll try to reschedule your sailboat charter. Sometimes an afternoon shower interrupts a sail, but only briefly. If the trip is washed out, you won't be charged.
They usually pop up in late afternoon, so an 11 a.m. departure is best.
Request a day and time by calling 757 876-8654 or emailing bodonovan8@gmail.com. It's that easy.
Certainly. Give us a shout.
They are typically 5-15 mph, which is excellent.
Then the sails are easily shortened or "reefed" to ensure comfort and safety for all while still retaining speed.
 Yes, heeling is one of the many joys of sailing because it connotes speed. But no more than 10 or 15 degrees, to ensure everyone's comfort. Anything beyond that is hot-dogging.
Absolutely not. Nor would you be exposed to such conditions. Safety and comfort are paramount to enhancing the fun of our sailing charters.
No, never. Safety is paramount.
Yes, a bimini awning covers the back quarter of the cockpit.
We form up in Yorktown or Gloucester Point, depending on various factors. See LOCATION tab for directions. Yorktown is at Riverwalk, while Gloucester Point hails York River Yacht Haven, 8901 York Haven Road.
Yes, consider us a sailing vacation from the every day. Executive team-building, class reunions, wedding parties, even burials at sea are all welcome.
Seven days a week, from mid-April to mid-November.
It's highly unlikely, since the waves on an inland river are much gentler than those found on the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean. For those in doubt, take Dramamine the night before to get it fully into your system. We also have motion sickness wristbands and ginger gum on board.

About

Meet Your Captain

Captain Bill
coast guard licenseBill O’Donovan holds a 50-ton captain’s license with the US Coast Guard. Need sailing lessons? He is a certified sailing instructor with the American Sailing Association. He has undergone sailing instruction by J School in Key West and by the American Sailing Association in South Carolina. He has sailed the York River nearly 20 years, where he teaches an adult class for the community-based Williamsburg Area Learning Tree.


Our Fleet

When you join us for your sailboat charter, you’ll sail on a 32-foot modern Hunter complete with in-mast furling and oversized sails for maximum speed. Sophisticated controls reduce the size of the sails to minimize leaning and ensure everyone’s comfort. A giant colorful spinnaker is raised for light downwind running. Yanmar 18 horsepower diesel powers the boat in creeks.

With sailing instruction through our sailing school you'll learn what will enable you to sail most any boat. The boat meets all US Coast Guard standards and has shipshape equipment, including color-coordinated lines and well-marked blocks.

With our many charter sailing options, we have the right tour whether you're visiting our area from out of town and in search of a unique vacation adventure,  an employer wanting the perfect corporate retreat or a local looking for a fun family chartered sailboat trip.

Press

Original Article-The Local Scoop "Williamsburg By Sea"

“ The tranquility of being on the water, the rush of being propelled by the wind, and the joy of gliding over the waves alongside dolphins—those are just a few of the reasons why Bill O’Donovan enjoys sailing.

“It’s the idea of being on the water,” O’Donovan says. “There’s something about that that’s magical. There’s a certain solitude to it.”

Read More

Location

We Sail Across from Yorktown

York River Yacht Haven

York River Yacht Heaven

Take the Coleman Bridge across from Yorktown to York River Yacht Haven at Gloucester Point. Follow the map for 17 miles from Williamsburg. For GPS directions, type in “York River Yacht Haven.”

View York River Yacht Haven Directions

York River Yacht Haven

757-876-8654