There are a lot of ships in Florida offering a cruise from the largest fleet of luxury ocean liners to replicas of pirate ships, but in Saint Augustine, visitors can take a relaxing day or romantic sunset cruise on the Schooner Freedom, an unusual boat.
The Schooner Freedom is an authentic replica of a nineteenth century blockade-runner. 150 years ago during the American Civil War era dozens of such boats sailed from hidden Florida ports and sheltered bays to Cuba and the Bahamas, carrying Florida goods and bringing back supplies to keep the Confederacy going.
People willing to risk sailing one of these personal double-masted, gaft-rigged, topsail schooners were exempt from Civil War service. Their owners were controversial for the successful ones became quite rich (Remember Rhett Butler at the start of Gone With the WInd?) until their boats were captured or sunk by the Union navy.
There are a lot of sailed craft powered by motors in Florida, but the staff and crew of the Schooner Freedom hate the hum of the engine so most nights as you watch the sunset over Saint Augustine and you can pretend you are back in the 1860’s.