By Michael Guelker-ConeMost of us have a bucket list of things we want to accomplish or places we want to go before heading off to that great marina in the sky. My list of places to visit has expanded along with my experience and the confidence that came with it. Many places on my list are close to home, including Washington’s Swinomish Channel. I kept putting it off because of the horror stories I’d heard of boaters running aground in the channel. In Seamanship and Piloting, I’d been warned that it wasn’t a matter of whether you’d ever run aground but when.
By Emmarie RabyThe crossing from Grand Portage, Minnesota, to Windigo at Isle Royale National Park takes you over 24 miles of open water. Because you can’t see land, you have to navigate using charts and set courses on the GPS. It’s fairly difficult to stay in a straight line with lots of waves and wind pushing you in different directions.
By Rafael BelliardWhen my first mate Linda, the perennial travel opportunities researcher, found the perfect way to round the cape, we decided to make it happen. We would take the trip with back-to-back cruises from Miami, Florida, to Valparaiso, Chile, and on to Buenos Aires, Argentina, which included the much sought-after “rounding of the Horn.”
Learning to slow down and enjoy cruising
By Laura LandisI’ll never make up the 18 years I spent too far from the sea. I left the New Hampshire coast for New Mexico in 1996 and didn’t return until the summer of 2014 when I could no longer bear to be away. Thus began my return to cruising.
Last year was my third year on Artemis, a 1983 Sabre 34 I bought on eBay. The first year was challenging. The second year, I brought Artemis from Oriental, North Carolina, to Yarmouth, Maine. I pushed hard, was mostly alone and never had a real crew.
Cruising New York’s Finger Lakes and canals
By Rodger LitchfieldRather than the usual weekend rendezvous at one port, William Herrick, the District 6 commander, planned a four-day, four-port summer rendezvous to take advantage of New York’s wonderful 500-plus-mile network of canals and inland lakes.
We planned to stop at Watkins Glen on the south end of Seneca Lake and then at Geneva on the north end. After transiting the Cayuga-Seneca Canal to Cayuga Lake, we planned to spend the night at Hibiscus Harbor near the lake’s north end and Ithaca at the south end. From start to finish, we would cruise some 80 miles.
By George ShawDepending on who is counting, the Bahamas consist of about 700 islands, limestone cays and rocks. A dozen have a significant population; others house a couple of families or a few fishermen.
The area is one large plateau of sediment brought in by the prevailing equatorial current as well as limestone deposited over thousands of years by sea creatures who made the area their final home.
Sailing trip around the Dry Tortugas puts book learning to the test
By Dannela VarelAfter many years of boating experience—living aboard, running a marina, working for a cruise line, being a member of two squadrons and completing all USPS courses—I decided to put my boating knowledge to the test.
A local boat, Calypsa, was offering passage from Punta Gorda, Florida, to Belize and back, but I could only join for the Cancun to Punta Gorda leg, so I arranged to fly to Cancun to meet Calypsa at the Hacienda Del Mar Marina.
Sailing through the Panama Canal and back
By Patricia H–F MooreAfter sailing Hope and Glory, our Island Packet 420, down the Central American Coast, we arrived at the Panama Canal Yacht Club in Colon on a dark night to await transit through the canal. We looked around in dismay to find the harbor crammed full of sailboats.
“Let me have a go,” John, an English crew member used to crowded English and Mediterranean coasts, said as he took the helm.
“There’s no space anywhere,” we chorused, but John sailed slowly ahead.
We arrived in Phuket four days early, checked out the vessel and took in the countryside. One day we rode elephants through the jungle and kayaked on swollen rivers. Another day we toured Phuket, visited the great marble Buddha overlooking the harbor and shopped. Our hotel, the Supalai, sat high on a hill above the sea.
1. Pre-plot your course
This is really a double tip, because you have to buy the right charts before you can pre-plot your course. Get an up-to-date chart that shows an overview of the entire area as well as detailed charts of the harbors along the way. Spread the charts out at home, and plot your route ahead of time. Pencil in the courses you’ll be steering along with their compass headings. Navigating will be so much easier.