Sailing your home waters in summer is fun; sailing someone else’s home waters is an adventure.
Now, as you read this magazine, is the time to think about where you’d like to spend your summer sailing vacation. Some mighty fine North American cruising grounds offer chartering—the way most of us get to sail outside our home waters—only in May through September or at least enjoy their finest moments at that time of year.
This year we’ve posted our U.S. and Canadian charter company listings on sailmagazine.com. They’re linked to the charter companies’ Web sites, and they’ll be continually updated as new information becomes available.
If you’re looking to go farther afield, think about cruising in Northern Europe, the Eastern or Western Mediterranean, or the Adriatic (Croatia). And think quickly—chartering is extremely popular in Europe, and, though the fleets are large, the boats get booked early. I’d opt to sail the Med in late spring or early autumn to miss the crowds, the heat, the higher prices, and the frequent windless (or, where the meltemi reigns, overly windy) days.
Prime sailing season in the tropical waters of the Pacific falls conveniently in the local winter, March/April through November, with the crowds gathering in July and August. March through September, the dry season, is prime time in Australia’s Whitsunday Islands—plenty of charter boats there, plus access to the Great Barrier Reef.
Finally, if you’re looking for a less-expensive way to cruise the Caribbean, take advantage of the summer specials—lower price, or more days for the same price—offered by just about all the Caribbean bareboat companies. We’ll have an up-to-date advisory in May, so keep posted.