For the last several months I have written about things that my husband and I did and like to do. Now it is your turn. What do you like to do and how to go about doing it?
First of all are you sailing with children? How much time do you really have to devote to your hobby or passion of being on the water? So many times our “free time” is dictated by our jobs, our children’s obligations and so on. The first thing that you must do is to try to set aside time for living and sailing on your boats. Yes, I do honestly know that this is not always possible. We all tend to allow everyday instances to get in the way of just cutting the ties and going off as you have always wanted to do. However, you are really in control of your life and how you wish to spend it.
Now that the spring weather soon will be here, some can begin thinking of taking their boats south or chartering a boat in the area of their choice. Some, I’m sure will choose to fly off to some islands and lay on the beaches and others think about chartering either a power or sail boat somewhere here in Florida or in the Bahamas Islands or the Caribbean. Neither of these decisions is done spontaneously. You must plan for such events. Many of you do not have long periods of time to sail off into the sunset. You must plan for such exceptional experiences. One of the most common and comfortable ways is to charter a boat in the area in which you would like to sail See what options are available to you and what arrangements you need to make if you want to charter a boat. Most of all make sure you charter with a reputable company such as the Moorings. Check the charter company first or ask for references.
Many boating magazines have chartering ads touting the benefits of their services. Secondly, you must consider the location of these charter boats and how you would get there and how long you can stay. For example the island of Tortola in the British Virgins has a large fleet for hire and you then have the option of visiting both the British Virgins as well as the US Virgin Islands. In the Bahamas, you can visit Nassau, the Exumas, as well as the Abacos Island chains.
You may choose the amount of time you can explore the Bahamas, but you can not see it all in two weeks. Whatever time is available to you can be worthwhile because the islands are truly lovely and offer so many opportunities. No matter who you may talk to, each one has his own favorite island and the reasons for it.
You do not have to leave the U.S. to travel to sailing hubs with interesting places to visit. There are many charter businesses located all up and down the east coast and the west coast of Florida. You can leave your vessel at home and just pack your bags and drive or fly to your charter destination. A trip north to see Maine and Massachusetts can be just as exciting and worthwhile as traveling south. Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and the outer islands are a boater’s haven. You can easily stay two weeks in those cruising grounds and never be bored.
If you prefer to sail closer to home, Chesapeake Bay is another boater’s paradise. You can sail throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC for two weeks and not have seen it all. These developed areas have everything for the boater both, sail or power.
Here you can charter any kind and size boat you prefer. There are too many amenities on the Bay for me to list in this short article.
If you like fresh crabs, there is an abundance of restaurants which serve them or you can buy very fresh caught crabs, shrimp, clams and just about anything you can think about and bring them to your boat. You could spend a month or more cruising up and down the Chesapeake and stopping in all the many inlets and sanctuaries and not see it all.
If sightseeing is what you want to do, you have an abundant selection of where to go and stay at a marina, on a mooring ball or at designated anchorages. There are docking facilities in Washington DC just outside of the Capitol. Imagine a view of our Nation’s capitol adjacent to your vessel.
Charter boats abound in this very boater friendly part of our country. Some of the many charter boat companies are well known. If you plan to charter, check out their references so you are not disappointed when you arrive. You can find ads for charter boats, either sail or power, in the back of motor or sailing magazines. Some charters can come with a captain or bare boat where you are the captain. The charter boat can come pre-provisioned or you do the provisioning yourself. Nothing could be simpler. If you want to sail in places too far to reach from here for a two week cruise, there is nothing stopping you from doing it. Chartering is the way to go, if you want to sail “bareboat”, with out a captain to distant sailing grounds.
Contact the more popular companies that have been around for some time like, “The Moorings” which has boats all the way down the Island Chain. If you are reluctant to captain your own charter, many companies can supply a captain for you. It’s your choice. Go on line or look in various cruising guides or magazines until you find just the right fit for you and your family. You can go, “Bareboat” or with a Captain. Your choices of destinations are endless from Maine to the Tropics and just about anywhere in the world.
Frances is a Commodore of the Seven Seas Cruising Association and a member of Sailing Association of Marco Island and AP United States Power Squadron.