In late August. ASA and the Manhattan Yacht Club will once again partner to deliver guests a luxury sailing yacht experience aboard the Sailing Yacht Arabella. Sailors will depart Newport, Rhode Island for the offshore destinations of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cuttyhunk.
This Grand Tour of New England is about celebrating sailing and the end of summer. This season it is about overcoming the obstacles that we have faced so far in 2020. Our social distancing has helped to lessen the spread of COVID-19 and this sail will be a reward for our patience.
As we emerge from our pandemic cocoon we will seek out the fresh air and look to get some wind in our sails. While we may not be able to roam as freely as we may like we can head to the water and go sailing. We say “#saillocal” and find a school nearby to help you work on your sailing, teach you some skills or just introduce you to some new sailing friends.
Sail the Great Lakes
At over 95,000 square miles, The Great Lakes make up the largest body of freshwater on the planet. Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Michigan comprise over 10,000 miles of seashore and include over 34,000 islands. These interconnected bodies of water are a haven for water enthusiasts and a haven for boaters. Sailors find an assortment of anchorages and itineraries available for even the most experienced of cruisers.
The American Sailing Association has over 20 schools and affiliates operating in the Great Lakes Region that offer sailing courses, charters and sailing clubs.
Schools in the region are teaching everything from ASA 101 Basic Keelboat Sailing to ASA 114 Cruising Catamaran to ASA 120 Radar Endorsement. In other words, you can learn it all on the Great Lakes.
Spend a day in Newport, Rhode Island and you will be drawn to the sailing lifestyle. Black Rock Sailing has offered up a taste of what Rhode Island Sailing is all about.
Why Sail Rhode Island?
Rhode Island, the tiniest state in the Union, is known as the Ocean State – as it is blessed with 400 miles of coastline where you will find countless nooks and crannies, and dozens of picturesque New England harbor towns to tuck in and explore.
Narragansett Bay is a world class sailing mecca that is blessed with consistent sea breezes most afternoons and calm cool nights that make for good sleeping aboard. At the heart of Narragansett Bay, you will find Newport, RI – one of three major sailing hubs along the US East Coast.
It is by no accident that the Volvo Ocean Race (now the Ocean Race) has decided to return to Newport for the third time in a row. New England boaters flocked to Rhode Island in droves in recent years, making it one of the most successful stopovers in the series. ASA 104/114 students aboard Black Rock Sailing School’s training catamaran were able to witness the re-start for the final leg across the Atlantic up close and personal – an experience that they will never forget!
Rhode Island has a rich history in boat building and maritime trade. To this day, some of the best sailing products in the world are built in the state. The government supports them with all sorts of incentives to attract the best in the industry.
Organized racing exists all over Narragansett Bay. In beautiful Greenwich Bay, an offshoot in the upper Narragansett Bay that is home to ASA affiliate, Black Rock Sailing School, you will find numerous sailing clubs host sailboat racing every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and many Saturdays throughout the summer. As well as some gorgeous anchorages off of Goddard Memorial State Park and the surrounding sandy coastlines.
On a typical day in Rhode Island, you could sail past numerous traditional schooners carrying tourists, mega-yachts of all shapes and sizes, Navy ships, and lobster and fishing vessels. You may also be passed by a fleet of historic America’s Cup 12 meters, Volvo Ocean Racers, or the latest high tech foiling sailing craft.
The bay has numerous picturesque bridges – often the backdrop of photos you see online and in sailing magazines.
Beautiful Block Island is a couple hours sail from the mouth of Narragansett Bay – as are other sailing jewels like Buzzard’s Bay and Martha’s Vineyard in nearby Massachusetts.
When Is The Best Time To Sail Rhode Island?
Rhode Island’s sailing season typically starts in late April or early May and runs through October, but as with many places in these latitudes, the peak season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The city of Newport’s population booms from 25K during the winter, to up to 100K in season as folks from around the country come to experience the beauty that the state has to offer. The rich and famous come to have their weddings here, and many have summer homes throughout the state.
It takes months for the ocean water temperatures to warm, so the BEST months to sail in Rhode Island are September and October when you can enjoy warmer air rising off of the water and excellent seasonal winds!
Is Rhode Island Best For First Time Cruisers or More Experienced Sailors?
Generally speaking, all of New England is much more challenging than say, the British Virgin Islands. Strong currents, dense fog, high winds, rough seas, and unforgiving rocky coasts and rock strewn waters can exist. A sailor must pay close attention to weather forecasts, as well as tide and current tables. One must be quite a savvy navigator too!
That said, first time cruisers should feel right at home within Narragansett Bay. For the most part, you will find sandy or muddy bottoms, making for excellent holding in the many anchorages, and most, if not all coastal towns have transient moorings or marina dockage available. Apps like Dockwa or Snag-a-Slip make reserving a place to stay quite easy.
The northern half of the bay rarely fogs over as the surrounding land usually heats up and burns the fog off. The bays protected waters provide calmer conditions overnight and throughout the mornings, and more sporty conditions most afternoons if the sea breeze kicks in for a few hours.
The lower half of the bay, closest to the ocean can have frequent dense fog. Areas like Newport, Jamestown, Dutch Harbor, and Block Island can be fogged in, at any time, for hours – if not days. These southern shores consist mostly of granite rocks, and have numerous rock outcroppings, there is a LOT more boat and commercial traffic in these parts, stronger currents, and only more experienced sailors should venture out in these conditions!
Come and experience all that Rhode Island has to offer! The mostly rural settings have anything from quaint New England homes to massive mansions surrounded by woodlands, grassy fields, and beaches.
Explore Newport’s Mansions and historic harbor, pull into the scenic Kickimuit River anchorage or moor in one of the many quaint harbor towns like Jamestown, Dutch Harbor, Wickford, East Greenwich, and Bristol Harbors. Sail down the scenic Sakonnet River, and out into the ocean to Cape Cod and the Islands, Block Island, or nearby Long Island Sound.
Rhode Island has so much to offer sailors, and there are three ASA sailing schools located throughout the bay! Some offer week-long liveaboard courses, as well as day classes.
An Update from Croatia The situation in Croatia is really good, it makes us very happy. Our borders are open and we are all ready to start our activities. Of course, everything will be different, but we believe and hope for a good future, and the sea and sailing are certainly the best and safest choice. – From Adriatic Sailing Academy May 19, 2020
Croatia is a sailing destination that is on many bucket lists and rightly so with its miles of coastlines and deep history. This part of the Mediterranean is home to over a thousand islands for exploring and rich from a collision of cultures. Nestled in the North Adriatic Sea, Adriatic Sailing Academy offers Charters and Sailing Instruction.
ASA asked Adriatic Sailing Academy about Croatia, the sailing community and learning to sail in this region of Europe.
You might be daydreaming about a sailing vacation so we have put together a resource to help you plan your next great sailing adventure.
Whether you have just begun to sail and have recently earned your ASA 101 certification or if you have already mastered ASA 114 and are a veteran of bareboat charters this resource should help you. There is something for everyone here with information on flotillas, sailing education courses, and bareboat charters.