Lake Champlain Sailing Pictures

May 2nd, 2009

A number of friends keep asking us about our 2008 charter pictures from Lake Champlain, so here they are.

We have reserved our charter this summer (2009) again with Navtours and have decided to charter for two weeks instead of one.  Maybe we will do better this time and get our pictures up earlier (After all, they are digital).

It  is hard to get a good picture of your own charter boat under sail so here is one of another Beneteau 311 I found.

How do you talk your wife (or friend) into a sailing vacation?

April 6th, 2008

Recently I saw this question posted at SailNet.com and realized that this was probably a very common situation.  In our case I lucked out… my wife, Claire, pushed me to take certification courses at Ocean Sailing Academy so we could charter. (Probably not the norm).  Her interest in sailing is because she knows that I am passionate about it and it’s something we can enjoy together; though I’m sure she would really prefer to sit on a quiet beach for a week.

If you’re not so lucky, you may need to take a few “baby steps” to build interest before you go straight out and charter a bareboat. You might explain how private, flexible and peaceful a sailing charter can be,  compared to a  cruise ship with 1000’s of “strangers”,  little flexibility and probably not too peaceful.
 
The really good news is that in most cases, you will discover that a crewed charter with a handful of friends will actually cost about the same or even less than a “luxury” cruise liner. (I know which I would vote for).  Check out “Yachts vs. Cruise Ships: Day-to-Day Differences” for a basic comparison of a chartered sailboat vs. a cruise ship.

So what are some ideas for baby steps that could stir up some interest?

Idea #1: Share a crewed charter with a group of your friends or if you prefer, just book a crewed charter with your wife and even get training/certification at the same.  The nice thing about a crewed charter (I am told) is that you can do as much or as little as you want.  To find companies that offer these services, go to your favorite search engine (like Google) and type in all of the following words: crewed, sailing, and charter plus the location of interest, i.e. BVI.  Be sure to use the word crewed and not crew.

Idea #2:  My wife and I have not done this yet, but we are trying to get some of our Maine Windjammerfriends interested in charter sailing by going on one of the Windjammer cruises in Maine and letting someone else be responsible for all the details. Check out Maine Coast Windjammer Sailing Vacations – Maine Windjammer Association  .  The Maine Windjammer Association has boats from 46 to 132 feet and can accommodate from 6 to 40 guests.  You can do as little or as much as you like on these cruises.  There are also other windjammers in other parts of the world.  Checkout Windjammer Barefoot Cruises .

Idea #3:  Charter a boat on Lake Champlain in the summer with a crew for a week or a couple of days before you take the boat on your own.  The nights are cool, the water refreshing, lots of places to explore, winds are good, lots of water, but always in sight of land (unless there is fog), no tides to worry about, and lots of safe and easy places to anchor.  We have bareboat chartered on the lake the past three summers and although we find the selection of companies and boats limited, we have had great success with Navtours the last two summers. They have a number of boats just north of Plattsburgh, NY, on Mooney Bay.

Idea #4:  Read the following great ideas on Sailnet.com and you may get a few more ideas: Click Here! 

Please share any other idea or thoughts you have by commenting below.

Our Introduction to GPS

October 7th, 2007

This past summer on Lake Champlain, Claire and I had our first chance to use a GPS on the 32 foot Beneteau we chartered.

We were looking forward to learning how to use the GPS even though we are comfortable using both the boat compass and our own handbearing compass (which I highly recommend you own) to plot our course and position on paper charts. 

During our pre-charter checkout (see our free checklist), we noticed that the GPS GPSlanguage was in French (we only know English).  Since the charter company, Navtours, is headquartered in Montréal and a high percentage of the sailors at Mooney Bay, NY, are from Canada, this is the norm.  What was interesting however, and somewhat comical, was that nobody could figure out how to change the GPS to English (The model was similar to the one shown here).  Disappointed, we accepted the boat and figured we would work on it later.
 
With just a little poking around, we were able to figure out enough to make the GPS helpful, even in French.  I’m sure the GPS actually kept us from running aground when we entered Sloop Cove for the night on Valcour Island.  We cut too close to shore on the north side of the entrance and Claire noticed the shallow area on the GPS plotter.  Later we fiddled with the GPS configuration and Claire eventually was able to change the language from French to English.

The GPS started out as a luxury, a treat, but turned into a valuable tool, something that actually turned our charter into a more relaxed and even safer cruise than we have ever had before. We always planned to purchase a hand-held floating VHF but now we have added a hand-held GPS to our list.

For a brief introduction to the GPS (if you are a GPS beginner like we are), check out GPS for Beginners.

Please comment on any GPS situations you have experienced on your charters or cruises or any recommendations you may have on portable GPS units.

Pictures from our 2007 Sailing Charter

August 31st, 2007

We decided to share some (but not all) of our pictures from this summer’s charter on Lake Champlain at the end of July.  In addition, we have also included pictures from previous years on the Lake.  If you have any “nice” comments, let us know. 

          Westport Marina Mooring Field

To see our photos Click Here.

How to reduce or eliminate headaches before you leave the dock.

August 13th, 2007

 We have decided to share our bareboat check-out list which is based on our personal experience and study.  As our experience grows and we get additional feedback from our readers, we will periodically revise and update the list.

Our hope is that this list will provide a guide for your next charter. If you have developed your own list, perhaps you will find something on our list that you had not considered.

Our typical approach to check-out is to let the charter company go through their list first and then we use our list to uncover or review anything that was missed or that we feel is important.

Maybe something on the list will help you eliminate or reduce some of the headaches that typically happen after you leave the dock.

To view or download the check-out list, go to Free Download.

If you have any comments or think we have missed some important items, please comment to this post.