Some nice simple tips on planning a charter vacation
1. Don't assume sailing is for millionaires
2. Don't forget your license
3. Don't ignore the details
4. Don't book in highs season
5. Don't assume you'll be sick or bored
There are lots of blogs and web sites for hard core sailors dedicated the laser racing, the Americas Cup, Transatlantic sailing, Round the World and all that serious stuff. This blog is for the rest of us. It's about the joy of messing about in sailboats.
On Saturday evening, we anchored just outside the harbor at Cuttyhunk, in the shelter of Penikese Island. These small islands lie at the Southwestern end of the Elizabeth Islands, at the Western entrance of Vineyard Sound. It's an idyllic spot - a small vacation town, on a small bit of rock accessible only by water.
Our skipper and buddy Phil, told us of a great mate of his who gave up a career in banking to return to teaching. He lived at the Western end of Martha's Vineyard and taught at school for troubled teens on Penikese Island. Every day he would motor his Boston Whaler across the Sound to this remote little island and spend the day working with some pretty disturbed teenagers. A nice commute on a lovely day in May not sure it's for the faint of heart in Feb!
On Sunday, we reached towards Newport across Block Island Sound, bopping along at a steady 6-6.5 kts. Things got interesting when we closed on Newport. The wind had veered and we were on a broad reach, with a 3-4 foot swells hitting us on the quarter. I was helming and pretty concerned about avoiding an accidental jibe. You have to be careful coming into Newport as there are reefs on the Eastern edge of the entrance and a lot of traffic. We rounded Brenton Pt, jibed verrrrry carefully and then entered Newport.
Sailing into Newport always feels special. I have sailed into Cowes and Annapolis but the entrance to Naragansett Bay is unrivalled in my opinion. It's flanked by gentle low green hills with some of Newport's smaller but maybe more elegant mansions to starboard. Newport is beautiful in the distance but as you round Fort Adams you get the full impression of the place. It always makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.
The wide bay is flanked at one end by Harbor Court, NYYC's home for the summer and at the other end by some of the biggest sailing yachts I have even seen. Between the two, there are boats of every size - little Cape Dory Typhoon's, Hereshoff S-Boats buzzing around, Hinckley's, Swans, various smaller racing boats and many types of cruisers. You get the picture. For sailors, there's nothing like it.