“We just want to share something we love with our city.” This was the quote from the founders of Sail Knoxville when I asked them what their vision was. They have such a simple and humble spirit. I think a lot of times, entrepreneurs get caught up in creating something successful that they lose this type of honest intention. Sure Sail Knoxville wants to be a great business, who doesn’t, but their true spirit is one of really sharing, serving, and enjoying their boat with people in their community. The founders of this local company made a HUMONGOUS impression on me and my gal pals and I am thrilled to tell you about it!
I brought along my 5 social media friends, the 2 Emilies of New2Knox, the talented artist of Nancy Ann Music, the journalist Katie Bahr, and our new friend who runs ScruffyKnox, Elizabeth. We started in the Sail Knoxville International Headquarters where Amy and Captain Dan went over all the details and rules. Amy said, “Now, I am the Captain’s Mate and my job is to serve YOU. Whatever you need, let me fetch it for you. From drinks, to jackets, to wine-openers, I am your girl to call.” When someone has such a beautiful and gracious heart to serve, well you just let them. Watching her bee-bop around the boat all night with so much energy and joy was adorable. Also, as a guest, this service really does let you enter even more into the moment that the sunset invites you into.
We made our way to the yacht club to find the incredible boat that Captain Dan had purchased while still a bachelor. The boat is called, wait for it, … The Knoxville Girl. She is a 26’ cat rigged sailboat and is the perfect ride for the intimate groups of 6 that they take out. The types of groups and possibilities are ENDLESS. From bachelorette parties, double-dates, anniversaries, even engagements, work celebrations, client experiences, reunions, etc. etc. My favorite feature of Sail Knoxville’s excursion options is to purchase a single ticket on a sunset or sunrise cruise. You will join other people, strangers, and get to bond over something special. If you are new to Knoxville, what a cool way to find community? You can also participate in one of their specialty cruises – a “Wine and Dine” with a private chef on board, a “Massage Sail” with a professional 1 hr massage in the cabin, and even an upcoming “Solar Eclipse Sail.”
Let me tell you what being on one of these sails is like from my experience. From a gorgeous yacht club on Loudoun Lake, you climb aboard, help raise the sail if you choose, and find a cozy spot to sit at the front of the boat. As the sun begins to set, you watch the glowing water and goodness enjoy such a great moment to breathe and be present. Amy described the effect you get from being out on the water as something she also experiences in her yoga practice – “It’s a type of mindfulness, where you quiet all the background noise in your head, and really enter into the present moment.” We were able to experience exactly that and I think everyone does when on the water – you stop thinking and tap into the moment, experiencing what it really means to be a human being (not doing).
Aside from a moment for your soul to breathe while on the water, Sail Knoxville also creates a place of community and we experienced just that as we headed back to the marina after the sun finished its show. With the stars coming out and fireworks going off in the distance, us girls opened a bottle of wine, and asked Amy to tell us her story.
Amy went through a tough battle with cancer and a divorce. Feeling lost, she was in counseling and was told to pick something up from her past that she loved doing. This fighter’s answer was yoga – so she took a class (despite many hesitations). That class turned into a remarkable journey of healing and she ended up becoming a licensed yoga instructor and massage therapist. Her new boyfriend at the time, Captain Dan, was actually the one who encouraged her to move forward into teaching, “You’ve been through so much and there are struggling people who need to hear your story.” These two eyed each other at church for a long time before they finally became the pair we know now. They say “The Day that Everything Changed” in their relationship was when he showed Amy his sailboat. He shared his dream with her for Sail Knoxville and she realized that being on the boat was the same release for him that yoga was for her. They began to make dreams together that day for their future and one year later were married at sunrise aboard The Knoxville Girl.
Hearing her talk and watching my friends open their hearts while all cozied up together in the back of the sailboat was borderline MAGICAL, and definitely unforgettable! Imagining you, my Knoxville readers, out doing the same thing gives me chills because we all need community. We all need to connect with people. We all need to quiet the noise in our heads and enjoy the moment. So, get a ticket on one of Sail Knoxville’s excursions and find those needs sweetly met. Captain Dan and Amy are ready to share this experience with you and officially launch their business on August 14th. Check out their website at www.sailknoxville.com and make plans to join them aboard!
P.s. all the photos were taken by Nancy Ann Wilson of @nancyannmusic – she is incredible. Check her and the other girls out on social media – @scruffyknox, @new2knox, @emfinke, and @katiebahr.