PxPixel
The Best Of Times Page 7 - Sail Magazine

The Best Of Times Page 7

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:
Publish date:
HR10-080300-Fechart

Florida

CHARTER BASES

East Coast: Coconut Grove, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, Islamorada

West Coast: St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Punta Gorda

Being There: Southeast Florida

Over the years, I’ve spent enough time in the state of Florida—alas, not sailing, but visiting family and friends—to have experienced the soggy temperatures and daily afternoon thunderstorms of summer and to have, on occasion, worn a wool coat in winter. Sailing may be an every-day, year-round activity in the southern part of the state, but I’ve always thought of Florida as a springtime kind of place. The truth of this was proved to me during a week’s cruise from Miami to Key West in late April.

There we found all the elements that make it a joy to charter: Sunshine, all day, every day. Easterly winds every day, but lively enough to keep us moving smartly. Water of a spectacular color—not the aquamarine of the tropics, but the deeper blue of the subtropics—and a temperature that only a Florida native could think was chilly. Clear skies at night without so much as a tinge of ambient light to interfere with the twinkling. Miles and miles of reef. Fish to catch. On our route, it was almost all seascape, bridges, and the occasional uninhabited key. Last but not least, not another boat in sight most of the time.

Sailing down the Hawk Channel, which runs between the keys on the west and the reefs to the east, reminded me of sailing in Belize, where a barrier reef similarly protects the cruising waters from the open sea. Those same reefs—another essential contributor to the joy of chartering—make an excellent playground for snorkelers and divers. Another time, perhaps, we’ll take another route and go ashore to visit the towns of the keys. We barely scratched the surface. Amy Ullrich

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

East Coast: I like sailing in the fall, when the crowds are down, though the best sailing here is in the winter and spring. The wind is usually from the southeast, averaging 10 to 15 knots. Our winter temperatures are warm, 78 to 80; in summer it’s pretty warm and humid and can be very calm, but great for snorkeling and diving. In the course of a week, you’ll no doubt get perfect weather for everything. Pam Anderson, Treasure Harbor Marine, Islamorada

West Coast: The best time here is between November and June, when we have good weather (and not many afternoon thunderstorms), not too much rain, and good winds—usually from 10 up to 25 knots, and there’s normally an afternoon sea breeze. Charlotte Harbor is well protected by barrier islands, so there’s good sailing even when the Gulf is stormy, and there are plenty of gunkholes to explore. John de Keyser, Yachting Vacations, Punta Gorda

Related

Josie-helm-2

Chartering the U.S. and Spanish Virgins

Flying into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands one December morning, three months after Hurricane Irma, I felt like a war correspondent dispatched to the battlefront rather than a sailing magazine writer on an assignment to go cruising.As my LIAT plane descended toward Beef ...read more

Crew-North-27M004

Weather Gear for Inshore Sailing

Just because you’re not planning on braving the Southern Ocean this summer doesn’t mean that you won’t have some dicey days out on the water. If you haven’t got the right gear, a little rain or humidity can make things miserable. As with all safety equipment, “it’s always better ...read more

atlantic-cup-trailer

2018 Atlantic Cup Video Mini-Series

Atlantic Cup 2018: TrailerThis past spring, SAIL magazine was on-hand to document the 2018 Atlantic Cup, a two-week-long Class 40 regatta spanning the U.S. East Coast and one of the toughest events in all of North America. The preview above will give you a taste of the four-video ...read more

3DiNordac_webheader

3Di NORDAC: One Year In

One year ago this month, North Sails launched a cruising revolution with the introduction of 3Di NORDAC. The product promised to deliver a better cruising experience for a market that had not seen true product innovation in over 60 years. Today we’re celebrating the team that ...read more

HB96k_EP

Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP

What SUP?Dinghies and kayaks are all very well, but there’s nothing like a stand-up paddleboard for exploring interesting new shorelines while giving you a good workout. Sea Eagle’s HB96 inflatable SUP makes a fine addition to your boat’s armory of anchorage toys, either on its ...read more

DSC_0031-43

Charting the USVI and Spanish Virgins

When my friends and I booked a one-way bareboat charter with Sail Caribe, starting in the U.S. Virgin Islands and finishing in Puerto Rico, we were a little nervous about what we would find in the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria—even seven months later.When our plane ...read more

SailRepairKit

Know How: Sail Repair Kit

Despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when your sail gets damaged while at sea and needs to be repaired. First, no matter what the job, you will need to do a quick damage assessment, a task that requires a flat wooden surface, sharp scissors and a helping ...read more

01-061018ROAC-8149

Coming of Age at the Atlantic Cup

Midway through the final race of the inshore portion of the 2018 Atlantic Cup, the three boats in the lead—Mike Dreese’s Toothface 2, Mike Hennessy’s Dragon and Oakcliff Racing, representing the Long Island Sound-based sailing school of the same name—suddenly broke free from the ...read more

01_silken_2018-03-08-0052

North U’s Regatta Experience Program

“Want to check the keel?” North U Coach Geoff Becker calls to me from back by the transom. We’ve just suffered our worst finish in the regatta and are absolutely flying on our way back to shore, spinnaker up and heeling at an angle that feels like maybe we’re tempting fate. ...read more