Set Sail on the Schooner North Wind

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Set Sail on the Schooner North Wind

Set Sail on the Schooner North Wind

If you've ever been sailing you know that it can be a magical experience. There is no feeling like that of the cool breeze coming off of the water and rushing by you as is hits the sails. It really is something that everyone should experience at least once. And now, a local non-profit is helping to make that happen right here on the Delaware River in Gloucester City, New Jersey. 

The group: Gloucester City Sail. The mission: to give local youth, many of whom have never even been on a boat before, the opportunity to experience being out on the water and learning about the river and its surrounding areas. Taught on board are topics ranging from water science and river ecology, to history of the river, to STEM activities teaching buoyancy and water displacement. Kids are also able to learn about the ship and even able to get hands on while raising the sails. 

The SHip and Crew

The Schooner North Wind is a 75ft steel hull sailing ship. The ship, which can hold up to 30 passengers, was built in 1995 as a replica of a 1700's schooner.  

The boat was previously owned by Philadelphia Sail but was purchased by the city of Gloucester in 2008 using an Urban Development Action Grant. Since then its home has been at Freedom Pier, former location of the US Coast Guard Base.  

The all volunteer crew is made up of a mix of local sailing enthusiasts that include two scientists, a concrete guy, an airline pilot, a carpenter, a teacher, a former marine and various others that have come together to help share a common passion for the nautical world.

In addition to sailing the boat, the committed crew volunteers their time to maintain the boat, create and teach the on-board learning activities, and coordinate and recruit groups of kids for their program. During the 2019 sailing season, the youth sailing programs on the North Wind, which are offered free of charge to children from non-profits, schools, religious groups and government entities, will allow over 200 kids the ability to enjoy a day out on the Delaware River.  

A group of kids participating in an activity trying to float coins in a foil boat built using concepts they learned about buoyancy and water displacement.

Captain Mitch Brodkin showing a group of boys how to steer the ship before allowing them a chance to try for themselves. 

Supporting the Program

One of the main fundraising activities of Gloucester City Sail and the Schooner North Wind is public cruises and private boat charters. Over the course of a season the group offers numerous sails open to the public such as sunset cruises, fireworks cruises and even trips to local Fort Mifflin for siege weekends. Guests are allowed to BYOB and bring food to enjoy while checking out the beautiful surroundings. Some sights seen during the cruises include the beautiful Philadelphia skyline, Penn's Landing, the Walt Whitman and Ben Franklin Bridges, and the Battleship New Jersey. 

It is also possible to charter the boat for your private event. This would be perfect for birthday parties, group outings for your business or even fundraising events as the group offers discounts to other non-profits. In fact, plans are in the works for an I Really Like NJ sail!

In conclusion, Gloucester City Sail and the Schooner North Wind are just another example of local grass roots NJ groups trying to do great things. Through their efforts they are helping bring the joys of sailing and the water, as well as hands on learning opportunities to kids that may not otherwise get the chance. 

To find out more about the ship or its programs, book trips, or buy tickets go to And check back for more info on the I Really Like NJ sail!

Jersey Josh
Blogger and like of New Jersey