- Feel the lure of the sea -

The sights and sounds of harbors and sailboats instill yearnings for adventure, bring the lure of the sea and stir a mixture of these feelings in the heart of the gazer. A poem by Christopher Sousa reads:

“Precious few have answered our ocean’s calling,
Shouting out with eyes bright and bawling.
So take this proposal and fly like the dove,
To come with me and be my love.

Sailboats – a sight that sparks an adventurous spirit in Galveston Bay at Kemah

In the harbors along Galveston Bay, sailing adventures await those who hear the call of the ocean. While owning a yacht may not be in the cards, sailing lessons, day and night charters, as well as exotic sails, are there for the taking.

Blue Marlin Sailing School, owned by Captain Dave McCabe, is the oldest sailing school in the Houston, Kemah and Clear Lake areas. A U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, as well as a transatlantic sailor, McCabe answered the ocean’s calling when just a small boy. Today he teaches his craft and conducts charters in Galveston Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and numerous exotic spots in the Caribbean.

Sailing aboard The Blue Marlin in Galveston bay are Captain Dave McCabe and sailing instructor Debbie Hughes.

McCabe, with 60 years of sailing experience, offers sailing lessons and leisure sailing days and evenings, as well as full-boat charters, which include a captain at no additional charge.

“Leave the stress of work and life behind; wind down and just savor life. Everyone is given the opportunity to sail the boat. If you are not so inclined, then just come and enjoy the afternoon. For those who have sailed, this is an excellent opportunity to refine your ‘hands-on’ sailing skills,” McCabe said.

Full boat charters are available for a 4-hour cruise day or evening. This is an exciting outing for any occasion such as private parties for birthdays and anniversaries, team building or recognition of business associates. Couples may enjoy the beauty of a Texas sunset, plus the tranquility of sailing under the stars and moon on Galveston Bay.

Sailing in exotic places is for those adventurous folks who dream of far away places including the Caribbean, where they stop at a different island every day and either cook and eat on the boat or enjoy local cuisine. Additional fun activities while there would include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, hiking, shopping, island tours and, of course, enjoying the magnificent sunrises and sunsets.

Debbie Hughes, a professor at Lone Star College-Kingwood, has been a sailing student with McCabe for nearly 50 sails, where she learned seamanship; handling of the lines and sails; reefing the sails; points of sail; sail trim; tacking; jibbing; rules of the road; boating safety; man-overboard; heavy weather sailing; anchoring and night navigation; motoring; docking and aids to navigation. She not only took sailing lessons, but has progressed to assisting as one of his sailing instructors. Hughes has decided to work toward her captain’s license as a long-term goal.

“It will take a while, but you have to start someplace. It’s a wonderful experience and takes me outside my normal life in the classroom,” Hughes said. “I really enjoy it a lot. Any day on the water is a good day. I’ve come to know that all my troubles seem to float away when I’m on the water,” she said.

Blue Marlin Sailing School is said to be the only one to offer both day and night sails.

“The captain teaches us to sail with our eyes closed,” said Hughes.

Jay Bolan from Atascocita, right, gets sailing lessons from Captain Dave McCabe, owner of The Blue Marlin Sailing School in Kemah. Photos by Trilla Cook

In his free time, McCabe is director of Heart of Sailing, Galveston chapter, and Hughes works as a volunteer crew member. HOS has provided free sails in the form of recreational therapy to more than 360 children with disabilities this year. By the anniversary of their second year in May, more than 1,000 kids will have been served by this local chapter. Children from Including Kids in Atascocita, the Sostack boys from Kingwood and several Villagers from the Village Learning and Achievement Center recently enjoyed free sails.

For more information about Blue Marlin Sailing School and Heart of Sailing, call 281-507-1867 or send e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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