Cruising Grounds

20 MILES AROUND... San Francisco, California San Francisco may be the “most European” American city, but San Francisco Bay and the views of whitecaps beyond the cable-car lines make this more than just a California placename. The ocean beyond the Golden Gate is challenging. Within the shelter of the bay is sailing adventure enough, with its typical brisk and chilly sea breeze and
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20 MILES AROUND... San Francisco, California

San Francisco may be the “most European” American city, but San Francisco Bay and the views of whitecaps beyond the cable-car lines make this more than just a California placename. The ocean beyond the Golden Gate is challenging. Within the shelter of the bay is sailing adventure enough, with its typical brisk and chilly sea breeze and strong currents. Then there are the microclimates. Often, the central bay bears the brunt of wind and fog, while the north shore basks in sunshine. Visitors notice a paucity of gunkhole cruising. Locals say, Yes, but what a spectacular place to sail.

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20 MILES AROUND... Charleston, South Carolina

The city of Charleston, with its antebellum and Civil War attractions, stunning old mansions, and excellent restaurants, is a haven for history buffs and foodies alike. And within 20 miles of the city are the quiet beaches and anchorages of the barrier islands. Sailors can venture into the open waters of the Atlantic or sail the vast expanse of marsh, creeks, and rivers to visit quiet beaches and hideaways.

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20 MILES AROUND... Newport, Rhode Island

The name “Newport” is synonymous with sailing. Quiet anchorages, remote beaches, bustling fishing towns, and gourmet restaurants all exist within a 20-mile sail of this
historic harbor. Enjoy the stronger winds and open water of Rhode Island
and Block Island sounds, or explore Narragansett Bay, where winds tend
to be lighter. Whether you’re after a day’s adventure or a weekend cruise, there’s plenty to keep you busy in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts waters.

FARTHER AFIELD:

Brenton Cove, Newport
Brenton Cove is a quiet place to anchor or moor for lunch or overnight.

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Jungle Medic

Cruising isn't always about boisterous passages or cocktails on the aft deck at sunset. On the contrary, much of our time is spent exploring the countryside and getting to know the local people. This approach enriched the experience for my wife Susan and me beyond our expectations when we moved aboard Sea Trek and began cruising almost 14 years ago. Our passage this April from the Florida Keys, down the coast of Mexico, and through the many Cays in Belize has been wonderful, but that did not compare to our most recent experience on the Rio Dulce in Guatemala.

We had heard of Bryan Buchanan and his wife Riechelle's missionary work in Guatemala—Bryan is a certified paramedic, has done a residency here with a family practitioner, and has also had some dental training. They travel to remote villages that don't have access to medical care and set up a clinic for the day. Bryan is known locally as the "Jungle Medic."

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Pirate or Privateer

It’s not too difficult to look like a pirate. If you work at it, you can have a boat that looks like a pirate ship. It’s quite another matter to be a commissioned privateer with an official letter of marque signed by a state governor and a US president. Thanks to North Carolina and President Reagan, Captain Horatio Sinbad and his lieutenant, Terry Brown, can claim all of that and more.

While in his twenties and working in Detroit, Sinbad built Meka II, a half-scale replica of a pirate brigantine armed with six cannons. “General Motors helped build her, but top management was unaware of it at the time,” he recalls with a pirate’s grin. GM shop workers fabricated metal parts such as chain plates and mast bands.

With his fair skin and blond hair, he bears little resemblance to the legendary Sinbad. He got the name from co-workers in the Windward Islands while working on sailing charters as a teenager and it stuck. He added the Horatio, a nod to the fictional Horatio Hornblower and the real-life naval hero, Horatio Nelson. Tired of being asked for his real name, he legally changed it to Horatio Sinbad.

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The Harbormaster of Gringo Bay

In Clearwater they said, “stop by to see Jennifer.”

In Isla Mujeres, someone commented, “see Jennifer in El Rio Dulce.” “Who is she?” “An artist, with a home on ‘The Rio.’”

In Belize City, on learning that we planned to spend several months on “The River,” another boater advised us to stop by “Gringo Bay,” a small inlet on the south side of El Golfete, the widest spot on the river, and to say hello to Jennifer. “How do we find her,” we asked. “Check the drawing in Freya Raucher’s Guide,” they said.” Westbound, after the river widens, look for the third little bay. Plenty of water everywhere. Her home is there.”

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French Connection: Cruising the French Canals

In July, my husband, John, and I and our son, Jack, sailed across the English Channel, and motored through 176 locks, taking seven weeks to travel from Le Havre in northern France, to St. Louis, on the Mediterranean, on our Moody 38. Below are some notes for a successful canal cruise.

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