The Best Of Times Page 2

Charter a boat, sail your own boat; stay near home or cross the country to sample the waters. Summer is a good time to do it“To every thing there is a season,” said the writer of Ecclesiastes. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a sailor, and you don’t need me to tell you that this statement should be needlepointed on a pillow in the saloon of every sailboat. Generally,
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Northeast

CHARTER BASES

Maine: Rockland, Southwest Harbor, Rockport

Rhode Island: Newport

Connecticut: Mystic, Norwalk

Vermont: Burlington (Lake Champlain)

New York: Henderson Harbor (Lake Erie, Thousand Islands)

Being There: Midcoast Maine

There’s a reason why Andrew Wyeth, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and other American masters chose to paint coastal Maine scenes and why the Rockefellers (and Martha Stewart) built lavish summer homes there: its history, rocky islands, peaceful villages, hard-working fishermen, and simple beauty—even the fog—feed the soul. All these things make the Maine coast arguably the best cruising ground in the continental United States.

In the south, Casco Bay offers picture-postcard anchorages on its rocky islands, some uninhabited, others with tiny year-round communities of fishermen, many of whose families have lived there for generations. These special places are only a relatively short sail from the hip city of Portland and the outlet-shopping mecca of Freeport.

Farther up (or down, as in Down East), the coast reveals oodles of snug little harbors that provide excellent protection and variations on a basic theme—stunning natural beauty and charming coastal life. It’s easy to spend weeks exploring without ever stopping at the same place twice. And that’s before you reach the jewel of Penobscot Bay—a must-not-miss destination on any cruising itinerary. Here you sail in company with traditional windjammers and dodge the ubiquitous lobster pots before taking time ashore to hike the hills around Camden or shop along Rockland’s Main Street. Only a short sail across the bay, the vibrant communities on the islands of Ilesboro, Vinalhaven, and North Haven are quintessential coastal Maine. Stop in Pulpit Harbor to watch the sun set or anchor in the shelter of the Barred Islands to experience the peace of having a fogbound anchorage all to yourself.

If you time it right, you can experience the magic of power-reaching on prevailing summer southwesterlies through narrow, twisty Fox Island Thorofare. The cruising grounds become more rugged, remote, and (dare I say) more beautiful, the farther east you venture. Here, the relaxed sophistication of Northeast Harbor, the stunning beauty of Soames Sound, and the power of Cadillac Mountain and Acadia National Park are all within reach. Tiny villages in the area have some of the freshest lobster you’ll ever eat and some of the loudest unmuffled lobster boats you’ll ever encounter. But that’s all part of the charm. Bill Springer

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

Northern New England: Our chartering season runs from early June to late September, and our peak chartering time is late July and early August. The best time to sail in Maine, I think, is late August and early September, when the days are usually clearer, the anchorages are less crowded, and you’re most likely to have a good breeze all day. The typical summer wind is a southwesterly sea breeze at 10 to 15 knots, and summer sailors need to be prepared to deal with fog on any given day. Mary Johanson, Johanson Boatworks, Rockland, Maine

Southern New England: We’re open for chartering from the last week of May through Columbus Day. My favorite time to sail here is, hands down, September, when the water is warmest, there are fewer tourists, and the cooler nights make for great sleeping. The winds usually stay out of the southwest until the end of September, rising to 15 to 18 knots in the afternoon—perfect conditions for heading to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Even in Newport it can be hot and humid in August. Brian Blank, Bareboat Sailing Charters, Newport, Rhode Island

Related

Beneyteau-Excess12

Boat Review: Excess 12

Groupe Beneteau, builder of Lagoon catamarans, has introduced a new multihull line called Excess. The first of the boats to reach U.S. shores at the Annapolis boat show was the Excess 12, a 38ft 6in design based on the popular Lagoon 40. The thought process behind this new boat ...read more

Spindriftracing

Extreme Sailing: No Piece of Cake

It can be easy to take for granted the incredible performance of today’s most cutting-edge grand prix racing boats. The latest crop of full-foiling 75ft America’s Cup monohulls, for example, were all up on their foils and even successfully tacking within hours of their first ...read more

Solar-Dinghy-pump-photo

Gear: Solar Powered Dinghy Pump

Tired of forever finding your dinghy or open daysailer filled with water when you arrive to go sailing? For years, sailors and engineers have sought a solution to this seemingly eternal problem, and now it appears the folks at Sea Joule Marine may have finally found it in their ...read more

BestBoatPromo-03

Best Boats 2020

How’s this for a thought experiment: imagine setting a diminutive Tiwal 2 inflatable dinghy alongside a Catalina 545 cruiser? It would be hard to imagine two more different watercraft, and yet they are both still very much sailboats. They are also both winners in this year’s ...read more

Hanse-675

Video Tour: Hanse 675

This past fall at the Annapolis Sailboat show, we had a chance to catch up with Hanse’s  Maxim Neumann, who kindly provided us a tour of the company’s new flagship, the Hanse 675. An impressive, well-built production yacht that boldly ventures into maxi-yacht territory, the ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Be thrifty with propane  If you like to cook on board, the propane tanks supplied as standard with many modern yachts won’t get you far. Whether we bake bread or not, the one thing we all do is boil ...read more