Cruising Grounds

D.C. may be a city on a swamp, but the Potomac River offers a surprising variety of sailing options that beats the hour-long trip to nearby Annapolis. 

Great Inagua Island

by Ellen Massey Leonard, Posted April 15, 2014
  Despite its accessible location in the northwestern Caribbean, Great Inagua, the southernmost island of the Bahamas, feels distant and isolated. Morton Salt Company owns about half of the land, and employs most of the inhabitants of Matthew Town, the island’s lone village. The other half of Great Inagua is a national park centered around Lake Windsor.
There’s always an anchorage around the bend when you’re cruising the rivers and sloughs of California’s Central ValleyMuch of our world has lost a proper sense of the journey, but not the world of sail. A friend of mine once told me how he sailed his two boys 80 miles up the Sacramento River from San Francisco. “We went when the boys were 14 and 12,” he said. “Along the way we

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

A Taste of the East

by Nigel Calder, Posted January 4, 2011
You know you are in for a different kind of cruising experience when a) the guide book says: “Do not go ashore onto either of the Koh Liang islands. They are sites for the collection of swallow’s nests to make bird’s nest soup. They are patrolled by local Thais armed with automatic weapons;” and b) the charter base manager (ours was Andy Middleton, who runs the Sunsail base in Langkawi, Malaysia)
When I boarded Mercantile, an 80-foot schooner docked in Camden Harbor, Maine, my iPhone’s battery had about five minutes of life left on it. “Hey—do you have an iPod dock or outlet on board?” I asked a scruffy-looking young man who could have walked straight out of a modern-day Moby Dick casting call.“Aw, lady, you don’t know how much fun yer gonna have once that thing’s

It's a Shoal Draft Thing

by Ida Little, Posted August 14, 2012
Few can enjoy the inner passages of the Florida Keys quite like diehard thin-water sailors, such as Ida Little and her husband aboard Thorfinn.
On May 20, 2009, we were in St. Marys, Georgia, and it had been raining as hard as it could for 10 straight days. The wind was blowing a steady 30 knots with gusts over 40. Everything was soaked.

Glimpses of an Alternate Reality

by Irene Gould, Posted August 11, 2008
Palmerston Atoll, in the Cook Islands, delivers hospitality unheard-of in the real world.We were six long days out of Bora Bora. The wind was like a baby’s breath, and the rolling swells frequently knocked it out of our sails. Progress was slow but peaceful until the western sky filled with the rapidly lowering cumulus of an approaching cold front. We were soon hunkered down in

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
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