by Meredith Laitos

Meredith Laitos is SAIL’s Senior Editor. She sails in and around Boston and specializes in charter destinations.

On Memorial Day weekend in 1972, four sailing buddies came up with a great idea. “Let’s sail from Hyannis to Nantucket, spend the long weekend there, then sail back—and let’s race.”It was so much fun they decided to do it again, inviting other friends to join in. By 1978, there were more than 75 boats on the starting line, and the newly established race committee added a lay-day in

Florida's Nightmare

by Meredith Laitos, Posted September 23, 2010
“We were having our best year ever. People were booked back to back to back. The instructors were starting to complain that they couldn’t get a day off…then the oil hit.” For Peggy Van Sleen of Emerald Coast Yachts (ECY) in Pensacola, Florida, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill has devastated more than just the Gulf of Mexico; it’s crippled her charter company as well.The worst oil spill in
The water may be blue, but Island Yacht Charters, Inc. has gone green. The St. Thomas-based bareboat charter company recently received the 2010 National EPA Environmental Quality Award in recognition of a multi-year effort to make its boats and its base more earth-friendly.Over the course of the past five years, Island Yachts transformed its fleet of 16 Island Packets, ranging in size from

Fitness At Sea

by Meredith Laitos, Posted July 14, 2010
The old axiom that “War is hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror” might as easily be applied to sailing. You may spend hours lounging in a sun-baked cockpit, but you must always be ready to jump into action, to grind a winch, raise a sail or simply brace yourself against 20 degrees of heel as wind and waves threaten to throw you overboard.These explosive maneuvers are the
You’ve taken the sailing courses, received your certifications and spent a few summers crewing on your friend’s raceboat. You’ve learned to tie a mean bowline and trim a pretty mainsail. Still, the reason you first ventured into the world of sailing, to captain a charterboat in an exotic locale surrounded by friends and family, seems just out of your reach—and you’re not alone. In February 2010,
In a classroom on Captiva Island in Florida, six students gather around a white board and watch their instructor draw a diagram of the points of sail. The students range in age from 30 to 70 and hail from Ireland, South Africa, Texas and New York. As their minds take in the new information, a door opens behind them. “Hi, we’re Steve and Doris Colgate!” says a grinning Doris. “Just stopping by to

Better Than Google

by Meredith Laitos, Posted June 9, 2010
Thanks to sites like craigslist, ebay and amazon, we are better equipped than ever to make informed decisions when it comes to what we buy. Rather than blindly purchasing items and services promoted in catchy ad campaigns, we can now make our purchases after studying reviews and information posted by those who know the products first-hand.Nowhere is this more true than in the world of

From Bad to Worse

by Meredith Laitos, Posted June 1, 2010
The Gulf Oil Spill has gone from bad to worse. Since BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sank on April 22, killing 11 workers, it has been spewing a torrent of oil into the Gulf of Mexico—roughly 70,000 barrels, or 3 million gallons, each day. A method known as “top kill,” the most recent attempt to siphon the spill, was deemed a failure, leaving BP and government officials
So you want to plot a course while watching Google Earth, monitoring fuel efficiency, geo-referencing digital photos, checking the weather, tracking the tide and reading a cruiser’s forum to find a good dinner spot? There’s an app for that. In fact, there are hundreds of apps for all of that.Where once you had to combine information from cruising guides, almanacs, weather stations and
Following a mutiny aboard the British navy ship Bounty in 1789, Capt. Bligh was famously cast away in a 23-foot longboat with 18 crewmembers. He successfully navigated his way from Tonga to West Timor in 48 days, equipped with only 150 pounds of ship biscuits, 16 pounds of pork, six quarts of rum, six bottles of wine and 28 gallons of water. The crew had no charts, no compasses and no
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