Cruising Grounds

Every time my wife Jennifer and I sail to the Beaver Islands, something goes wrong. So why do we keep going there? Initially it was because of where they are, but now it’s because of what they are.First, the “where” part. The Beavers are a dozen islands in northern Lake Michigan, 30 miles from Michigan sailing centers like Mackinac Island, Harbor Springs and Charlevoix.

Barnegat Bay

by David W. Shaw, Posted August 18, 2009
A gentle west wind rippled the placid waters of Silver Bay, glistening in the light of a full moon that truly did make the bay look silvery. I was sitting alone in the cockpit, a cold beer in hand. Beads of condensation from the bottle dampened my palm. It was after Labor Day and the anchorage was deserted, except for me and my two Elizabeths.A flash of light caught my

Soul Sailing

by Wally Moran, Posted July 30, 2009
There are sailors who have spent over twenty summers cruising Lake Huron’s North Channel. They’ll tell you it is always fascinating, still surprising, and still, unceasingly, continues to feed their souls. My first week-long cruise was in 1978, and I now spend up to 10 weeks each summer in the North Channel working as a charter skipper for the Canadian Yacht Charter fleet,

The Gold Coast

by David W. Shaw, Posted June 15, 2009
The Throgs Neck Bridge cast a shadow over the East River off the bow of StewardShip, my friend Dave Steward’s C&C 29 MK II, a fast-yet-comfortable cruiser. A stiff southerly breeze bearing funky scents of the Big Apple filled the sails, speeding us along.Standing at the wheel, I glanced up at the underside of the span, experiencing the usual trick of the eye

Chesapeake Bay: A love story

by Wendy Costa, Posted June 8, 2009
Is it a love story when a widow and a widower fall in love—not with each other, but with the Chesapeake Bay? Two years ago, at the age of 55, I became a widow and got my U.S. Coast Guard license to operate a 50-ton vessel. Herb, 81, recently widowed, and once an expert sailor on Canada’s Georgian Bay, moved aboard Ticketoo II, a 34-foot Catalina, on the Chesapeake

Out the Gate to the Giant Dipper

by Sail Staff, Posted May 7, 2009
Sailors and non-sailors alike respectfully refer to the ocean beyond my home waters of San Francisco Bay as “Outside the Gate.” Along the northern California coast there are miles of rocky coastline separating the few harbors of refuge, which often have challenging entrances. Along the way you had best be prepared for strong winds, fog, and sizable seas. Of course, it may also

Heading Home

by Fred Bagley, Posted April 13, 2009
It’s not because you can’t get there. Or that it’s dinky. In fact, it’s the biggest city on the biggest freshwater lake in the world. It’s just that it is the farthest end of the biggest and baddest freshwater lake in the world.H.O.M.E.S: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Childhood mnemonic for memorizing the five Great Lakes.By now all you Carmen Sandiego

Squall line on Lake Erie

by Sail Staff, Posted April 13, 2009
It was late June, and my wife, Lyn, and I were halfway through an 11-day vacation cruise onboard Fellowship, our Hunter 26 trailersailer. We were visiting the islands at the western end of Lake Erie—South Bass and Kelleys islands on the American side, Pelee Island on the Canadian side—as well as Leamington, Ontario, on the mainland about 15 miles north of

Discovering nature on the half-shell

by Sail Staff, Posted April 6, 2009
We experienced a surreal moment as our family sailed into the Hood Canal, where snow-capped peaks beckon in the distance and temperate rain forests slope to a coastline fringed with sand beaches, gravel bars, and muddy tidelands. A wake rolled across the water’s surface, but there wasn’t a boat or a sound. The source of the mystery wake was Bangor Naval Submarine Base on the eastern shore, home

Hole in the wall

by Duncan Gould, Posted April 6, 2009
From a mile out you see nothing but a sheer rock wall, 150 feet high and running both ways for miles. Run up to the north a bit and a sliver of a crack appears—the Hole in the Wall, one of Langkawi, Malaysia’s hidden jewels. Once you’ve butted through the tidal outflow, a view like a Chinese landscape opens. Mangroves line the shorelines, and limestone cliffs climb 500 feet
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