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I'm sure you have heard it said that "you haven't seen Marco until you've seen it from the water". Well that is certainly true, but equally, you haven't truly experienced Marco's waters until you've been sailing. As we come into spring, with probably the best weather of the year, we thought it would be useful to look at fi ve very different sailing char-ters that ply the waters around Marco. We can recommend each of them and believe they'll make your visit to Marco a truly memorable one. Cool Beans Cruises operates two 35ft sailing catamarans from the Isles of Capri, just north of Marco. Choose between a 3 hour day sail, a 2½ hour champagne sunset cruise or a private sail. Each boat is limited to six passengers but larger parties can always take both catamarans in tandem.Captains Kelly and Steve, together with fi rst mate Sharon, have over 35 years experience of navigating the Gulf of Mexico and are programmed to make your trip memorable. With a separate restroom and shower, each catamaran is equipped for a comfortable and enjoyable sailing experience. Complimentary water, wine, beer and snacks are provided. www.coolbeanscruises.com. 239.777.0020America's Cup participant Capt. Hugh Cross has been sailing Marco waters for 25 years and his 22ft Maine Cat with a draft of only 10 inches enables him to get to all the best shelling spots. Board on the beach at the boundary of Eagle's Nest and Marriott resorts and then travel south towards Kice Island or north to Keewaydin Island depending on the winds. Relax on the trampoline area while you listen to the breeze in the sails and look for dolphin and other wildlife. Complimentary beverages on board for the three, 2½ hour daytime cruises or the sunset cruise, when maybe you'll be lucky enough to see that elusive green fl ash. 239.580.8765Insider Tip... If you're the kind of person who prefers to go it alone, you can rent a HobieCat from Paul's Beach Rentals in front of The Charter Club at the south end of the beach. 239.642.1202

Capt. Corey Yuskaitis' 27ft custom designed sailing catama-ran features a 14ft wide shading canopy over the back deck with bench seating for all six passengers. The large trampoline sun-deck that comfortably accommodates all passengers, is also great for observing dolphin, manatees and sea turtles. Suitable for all ages as previous passengers, who have ranged from 2 months to 90 years, will testify! Quarter and half day charters leave daily and complimentary cool drinks and light snacks are available. Shelling on local deserted islands is great and snorkel gear is also included. www.offthehookadventures.com. 239.571.HOOK (4665)Take your turn at the helm of this beautiful 41' classic sailing sloop or help trim the sails as you experience the exhilaration of sailing on Serenidad, the only single hull yacht to set sail from Marco. Capt. Richard Hamm and his mate Dina have plenty of experience and make sure you get the thrill of the wind through your hair as the water rushes past the hull! Serenidad has a large spacious, shaded cockpit with ample room for all six passengers, and comfortable cushions for the large sunny foredeck. There are two heads and a gorgeous inside cabin also at your disposal. Complimentary ice cold soft drinks served on the 3 hour daytime cruise as well as a delicious cheese plate on the 2½ hour sunset cruise. Serenidad is available for private charter or at low per person rates. www.sail-marco.com. 239.272.0939At 53ft, Sweet Liberty, the area's largest cata-maran, can accommodate up to 49 passengers for a half day morning, afternoon cruise or 1½ hour sunset cruise. Leaving from Naples City Dock, next to the Cove restaurant, you will see the spectacular homes of Naples Bay and plenty of wildlife as you make your way to the Gulf of Mexico towards Keewaydin island for some great shelling. Or maybe you will decide to choose the shorter afternoon sightseeing cruise. There's plenty of room to walk about, with inside and outside seating and two restrooms on board. Take your own cooler for drinks and snacks. www.sweetliberty.com. 239.793.3525Sailing is a relaxing and eco-friendly way to explore the serene waters that surround Marco Island and to see the amazing wildlife that calls our waters home. So why not contact one of our wonder-ful sailing charter companies today and sail off into the wide blue yonder for a while?