Sail Away

Climb aboard Yacht Kelpie for a scenic excursion through the waters of Sag Harbor.
Kelpie’s captain, Shannon Carleton, takes meticulous care of the yacht’s decks, hull and sails.

By Gabrielle Echevarrieta

Whether she’s gliding across the globe using the constellations as a compass, or chartering East Enders around familiar waters, Yacht Kelpie skipper Shannon Carleton is both a boating and hospitality maven. The captain has carved out a unique space in a predominantly male-dominated field, fusing her love of the sea with the finer things in life. “Yacht Kelpie is a feminine twist on the charter industry,” says Carleton. “Most of it was sport-fishing boats. I thought, ‘What about luncheons and really elegant themed sailing charters?’ I love entertaining the most, and here I can blend my two passions.”

Kelpie has navigated the world’s most breathtaking waters since 1928. First owned by a private collector before the Great Depression, then used as a WWII patrol vessel, it later sailed the coast of California carrying 20th-century starlets like Elizabeth Taylor. After returning to Europe outfitted with a faster rig, Kelpie was victorious in a slew of regattas from Saint-Tropez to Capri. Carleton fell in love with Kelpie at first sight after discovering the boat in Barcelona two-and-a-half years ago, sailing it across the Mediterranean to its current home in the waters of Sag Harbor. After arriving on the East End, the boat was fully restored to its original pristine condition, with sparkling copper features, crisp white sails and a polished hull. Kelpie is powered completely by concealed solar panels, strategically circumventing the use of generators, autopilot or watermakers to preserve the boat’s traditional aesthetic and promote sustainability.

Yacht Kelpie, a charter offering luxury day excursions through scenic East End waters, sails through Sag Harbor Bay.

Proudly offering a “turnkey” experience, Yacht Kelpie’s white-glove service gives an extra touch of sophistication to the charming nautical setting. Guests supply their own food and beverage prepared by the caterer of their choice, which can be enjoyed alongside Kelpie’s extensive selection of wines and Champagne. The yacht’s deck, outfitted with classic white and polished wood motifs, is meticulously adorned with Pinterest-worthy table settings and an antique 1928 coffee service set.

To accommodate the busy social schedules of Hamptonites, Yacht Kelpie lets passengers choose between brunch, full-day or sunset excursions. On early summer mornings, guests are greeted at the Breakwater Yacht Club with fresh mimosas, then climb aboard for coffee and small bites, like fried quail egg on fluffy miniature buttermilk waffles created by Hamptons Aristocrat. Evening charters offer unparalleled sunset views and gourmet provisions including caviar, fine cheeses and sushi, which is prepared on board by the head chef of Sag Harbor’s Sen Restaurant or Kissaki in Water Mill.