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Model Sailboats in Central Park

Model sailboats have been racing on Conservatory Water in Central Park for over 140 years. It is one of the most iconic spots in Central Park and is often visited by locals and tourists alike. And during the sailing season, the pond is populated with spectators, amateur sailors, and long-term helmsmen.

Where can I use model sailboats in Central Park?

Visitors can pilot model sailboats at Conservatory Water on the east side between 72nd and 75th Streets. Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux originally plotted the site for a glass conservatory and reflection pond in their original plans for Central Park. But budget cuts meant the vision would never came to fruition. They decided to eliminate the conservatory and keep the pond to recreate an American version of the popular model boat ponds in Paris. Thus the name, Conservatory Water.

 

What equipment do I need for sailing?

The model boats allowed on Conservatory Water must be wind-powered. They are remote-controlled using the direction of the rudder and the trim of the sail. No other powered boats are allowed. Visitors can bring their own model sailboats to pilot. For some, model boats are a serious hobby and they spend a great deal of time designing and crafting their boats for speed and aerodynamics. You will see all types of masterpieces built and piloted by model boat enthusiasts.

Visitors can also rent boats from a small kiosk just outside of Kerbs Boathouse. For beginners, there will be a brief lesson as well as a page of simple instructions accompanying the model sailboat and remote control. There is no formal minimum age for sailing. All ages can participate as long as they can properly control and handle the remote. That said, you do not need a model sailboat to enjoy the spectacle.

Central Park Model Sailboats

When can I sail in Central Park?

Weather permitting, the typical boating season for central park runs from March to November. If you have your own watercraft you can sail almost any time of day. But if you are looking for a rental, you will need to check the hours at the Kerbs Boathouse. Just note, members of the Central Park Model Yacht Club race their boats on Saturday at 10 AM and the water is often dotted with vessels during this classic spectacle.

What are rental hours?

Monday to Thursday from 11 AM to 5 PM

Friday from 11 AM to 7 PM

Saturday from 1 PM to 7 PM

Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM

The rental kiosk is not open during rain. Hours are also subject to change. So call (917) 522-0054 to confirm rentals before your visit. Please note that reservations are not available and rentals are first-come, first-serve.

Is there boat storage?

City residents who wish to sail frequently can get a permit for storing their boat on-site at the Kerbs Boathouse during the week. Granted, space is limited. It is important to apply early in the season if you hope to get a space. For boat storage and permits call (212) 360-8133.

What else is close by Conservatory Waters?

There are restrooms located at the Kerbs Boathouse. There is also a small café on the east side of the pond with patio seating and an ice cream kiosk on the south side of the pond. Just to the north of the pond is a famous Alice in Wonderland statue and one of Hans Christian Andersen to the west.

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