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About Us

Family Owned & Operated

Buffalo Sailing Adventures is a family-owned and operated company established in December of 2008 operating out of Buffalo, New York. The Spirit of Buffalo is a 73-ft. coastal sailing vessel which is the only square rigged, topsail schooner sailing out of the Historic Buffalo Harbor.

Ric and Kathy Hilliman started their passion for sailing as teenagers. Weekends were spent at Sherkston Beach, where they rented small sail boats. While raising three children in Tonawanda their passion continued and they invested in their first sailboat, a hobie cat. They spent many weekends sailing the Lake Erie, the Kinzua Dam, and Allegheny Reservoir with their children.

Their next boat was a 32-ft. sloop which was kept at the Small Boat Harbor. During the summer, their evenings and weekends were consumed by the waters of Lake Erie.

While studying for Ric’s captains license, he volunteered on the Buffalo Fire Boat Edward Cotter. Serving as the captain of the Miss Buffalo, the Lockport Canal Boats and the Moondance were the focus of Ric’s summers.

Later when the children were on their own, First Mate Kathy & Ric packed their bags and moved to Key West for a season. They both worked on schooners similar to the Spirit of Buffalo. That season was the turning point of their lives. They bought Sea Dragon and have been sailing her during the winters for the last 11 years in the western Caribbean.

Our Vessel

Spirit of Buffalo was built by Rover Marine Lines. She sailed her first five seasons in the day sailing trade out of Lewis, Delaware, then transferred to Georgetown, South Carolina in 1997 where she sailed on the Winyah Bay.

In late fall of 2008, she was purchased by Buffalo Sailing Adventures and was brought from South Carolina to Baltimore. The winter was spent preparing here for her transit up the Hudson and through the Erie Canal to her new home, Buffalo. She arrived in Buffalo during the first week of May 2009.

The Spirit has provided many people the opportunity to enjoy and see Buffalo from a different perspective… from the water. She can be identified by her tan bark (red) sails.

Vessel Specifications

Year Built 1992
LOA 73′ 0″
LOD 65′ 0″
Beam 16′ 0″
Draft 5′ 11″
Displacement 68,000 lbs
Passenger Capacity 42
Hull Construction  Steel
Spirit of Buffalo docked at sunset
Spirit of Buffalo sailing as the sun sets