Any sailor will tell you that the worst day on board is better than the best day ashore. But even the saltiest of “old salts” will admit that an occasional excursion among the landlubbers does the spirit good. If nothing else, it makes a return to the sea spray and gently rocking motion even better.
Most old hands on boats are also always up for adventure. “Want to go sailing?” The question usually prompts more takers than there are bunks available for any voyage. If you’re planning the ultimate long-term adventure but don’t want to totally disconnect, a boat cable package from GetDirectTV.org can ensure you’re never away from your favorite news and entertainment. If you’re considering something longer than a day trip, what constitutes a dream destination?
A couple of weeks, or the winter?
The Northern Out Islands of the Bahamas, the Abacos, offer sailors the opportunity to be as social or as solitary as they choose. Great Abaco Island acts as a kind of barrier between the protected, shallow Sea of Abaco and the open Atlantic. Marsh Harbour has the airport and the only traffic light. Numerous smaller islands of the 120-mile long chain offer quaint towns with a distinctly British soul beneath their island dress.
Photo of a rocky beach front of Abaco Islands, Bahamas by Flickr user Steve Beger Photography
Cruisers love the unspoiled cays (pronounced key) here. Each one, large or small, is unique. The harbor at Hope Town boasts an active cruising population year-round and a celebrated red and white striped lighthouse. Climb to the top, and look out on this island empire. To the east is Africa.
Cays with names such as Green Turtle, Great Guana and Treasure Cay tempt visitors with their bars and their Wi-Fi. Others with no names offer reefs to explore and fish to catch. Lobster are abundant. If they’re in season, dare to catch them barehanded!
Twice a year, a celebrated social event occurs. The Barefoot Man concerts at Nippers on Great Guana Cay attract fans from as far away as Miami and the Virgin Islands.
The other side of the world
Rovinj, in the Adriatic, may not be a year-round destination, but it’s a favorite of many sailors, including racer Sir Russell Coutts. The RC44 Championship Tour was held in this beautiful spot for two years, and Coutts notes it is “quite a juxtaposition to have these high-tech boats sailing in what feel like ancient waters.”
Photo of Rovinj by Wikimedia Commons user ChrisV
Croatia has more coastline than most countries and 1,185 islands to explore.
The historic Old Town Port is enchanting, with churches, restaurants, shops and markets. The harbor is welcoming, and a Venice-like ambiance makes a visit here worthwhile. It’s a brief journey to one of the nearby islands to drop anchor. Swim and snorkel, laze on the deck, enjoy a glass of good Croatian wine and enjoy the sunset. There are numerous regattas here, as well, and even inexperienced sailors have an opportunity to join a crew and gain skills.
Uninhabited and beautiful
With the only settlements on the mainland, New Zealand’s Bay of Islands is the ultimate escape. Leave the mainland behind, board your vessel and never look back. You can swim with bottlenose dolphins, pass through Hole in the Rock off Cape Brett, fish or dive the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior. On the mainland, there’s a lot of history to savor in the towns, along with good food, local wine, arts and crafts, and great beaches.
Photo of Hole in the Rock in Bay of Islands by Flickr user mattlemmon
Do you have a dream sailing destination? Please tell us about it in the comments!