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February 28, 2020

Schooner America 2.0 returns to Key West




Like a far-flung mariner returning to his hometown harbor, Schooner America 2.0 slipped gracefully back into Key West’s Historic Seaport Wednesday afternoon, seeking the sunshine and smooth water that surrounds the Southernmost City. The 105-foot sailing vessel spends the summer in New York City, but migrates south for the winter. The schooner offers day sails, sunset trips, private charters, weddings, corporate excursions and team-building trips, said Sunny Andracchio, the Key West representative of Classic Harbor Line, the company that specializes in traditional sailing adventures in Key West, New York, Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. All of the Classic Harbor Line boats are designed and built by Scarano Boat Builders in Albany, New York. Shipwright Rick Scarano was in Key West this week to welcome the regal boat and capable crew back to its winter port. “They left the boatyard in Albany on Sunday, sailed down to New York City, then left New York’s Chelsea Piers and sailed for Key West, leaving Thursday and arriving here Wednesday,” said Scarano, who designed the vessel for maximum performance and efficiency without sacrificing the classic aesthetics and elegant lines of a schooner. “While it’s not a true replica of the original Schooner America, we consider it a tribute vessel,” said Scarano. “These days, there’s really no such thing as a true replica if you want to be able to carry passengers with Coast Guard approval.” Scarano started building the boat in 2009 and finished it in 2011. The same company also built its predecessor, Schooner America, as a tribute to the first winner of the 1851 America’s Cup sailboat race. That schooner was also in Key West until 2011, but is now sailing out of San Diego, said Scarano. Scarano and his team proudly combine the timeless maritime traditions and the unmistakable majesty of a classic schooner with today’s technology and materials, producing a ship that looks as good as it moves. And with 3,500 square feet of sails, Schooner America 2.0 slices through the sea like a paper cut. The 2.0 in the name refers to the high-tech and eco-friendly nature of the ship’s cutting-edge construction materials and propulsion system created one would expect to find a diesel engine. The battery bank provides electric propulsion with smaller diesel assist-generators, Scarano explained, adding that the hull is a sandwich of composite materials with a bit of aluminum. “We pride ourselves on mixing and matching materials for the best fit for each vessel,” Scarano said. “This design and these materials make the boat much, much lighter, faster and stronger.” Docked alongside the Schooner Wharf Bar, Schooner America 2.0 drew a large and admiring crowd when she docked Wednesday. “We want to give our passengers a truly exciting experience aboard one of the most elegant boats in the world,” Andracchio said. For ticket information and sailing schedules, go to sail-keywest. com or call 305-293-7245. mmiles@keysnews.com

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