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  #1  
Old 08-12-2009
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Chesapeake, Lake Champlain, or Maine?

Going to bareboat Labor Day week, just the two of us. Any gut opinions of which three choices in subject would be best? Ease of sailing, picturesque and uncrowded anchorages are top priorities. By "ease of sailing", I mean low stress. Out of five nights, would do 2-3 in marinas. I'm leaning towards Lake Champlain, for lack of traffic and no fog, lobster pots. Charter rates are real attractive in Chesapeake, though, and the Admiral really wants to sail southern Maine.

Thanks for your thoughts,
Mike
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Old 08-13-2009
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I have chartered in both Champlain and the Chesapeake. Winds of Ireland is the only bareboat outfit I know of on Champlain and they were good. Boats not brand new but in good shape. Champlain is is a fun lake to sail on but in early Sept. it is hit or miss for wind (like anywhere else in the NE). very nice anchorages and some good boat-only parks with moorings. bring bug spray though.

chesapeake is great - it goes on forever, at least compared to a 5 night charter. a million anchorages, well marked but probably 18 million other boats out that weekend. i used Haven Charters in Rock Hall. I highly recommend them.

Maine would be great! have to pay more attention though. Big tides, rocks etc.
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Old 08-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mazzy View Post
which three choices in subject would be best? [1] Ease of sailing, [2] picturesque and [3] uncrowded anchorages are top priorities.
Mike,

I have sailed the Chesapeake and Maine: no experience on the lake. While Maine may take the honors in your 2nd category - the Chesapeake is a clear winner of the other two.

I found the lobster pots maddening! Others are more apologetic. Current and rocks are part of the Maine experience. On the Chesapeake the tidal current is almost inconsequential and the bottom is generally soft, forgiving mud.

In terms of uncrowded anchorages unless you are able to quickly become an expert on Maine's (generally unpublished) possibilities, you will definitely find the Chesapeake superior. And if you want to find an occasional transient slip, the Chesapeake wins again. To avoid the "18-M other boats" don't charter in the north bay!

Fog can spoil the Maine adventure; heat and humidity the Chesapeake. For either you take the luck of the draw. Early September mitigates weather for the benefit of both Maine and Chesapeake.

Wayne

Last edited by wwilson; 08-13-2009 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 08-13-2009
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I'll chime in on Lake champlain. If you are looking for uncrowded waterways that is the place, unless there is a fishing tournament going on. You can check the tournament schedule online. Lots of beautiful scenery and history in the area. Ft. Ticonderoga at the south end, Willsboro Bay around the center. Burlington Vt. is a real nice town with lots to do in the evening as far as bars and restaurants. It may be a little short on facilities but you should be OK in the beginning of Sept. If there is a reenactment going on at Ft. Ti you can anchor just south of the fort and dingy ashore. They are fun to watch. Also one of the top Bass lakes in the US.
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Old 08-13-2009
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I only have knowledge of the Chesapeake, but second all that wwilson posted above.

There are outfits that charter boats in Deltaville, VA and while Labor day will be a busy weekend, the odds are if you choose something besides one of the 2 or 3 most popular anchorages you'll be able to find a place either alone or sharing with just a couple of other boats. For a 5 day charter you could choose to visit several of the Chesapeake classics like Onancock, VA, Tides Inn(Irvington, VA), Great Wicomico River, Tangier, VA, Mobjack Bay, St. Marys, MD, Solomons Island, MD. These are just a few of the possiblites.

As far as powerboats, I don't know exactly why, but the bay area near Deltaville is relatively devoid of the Cigarette boat crowd and the ratio is probably close to 50/50 sail to power. Most of the powerboats fall into the categories of Cruiser/Trawler, fishing or working boats, mostly fishing or working. As much as sailors love to slam powerboaters, I've never had much of an issue with powerboats around Deltaville.
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Old 08-13-2009
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Unless there is a drastic change in the weather patterns, the Chesapeake is hot, humid and windless untill about the mid of September.
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Originally Posted by redcobra View Post
Unless there is a drastic change in the weather patterns, the Chesapeake is hot, humid and windless untill about the mid of September.
Could be, but we've been blessed with an extremely temperate season thus far. We've only had a few days in a row over 90 and I've had more heavy air days than light this year.
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Old 08-13-2009
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Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
Could be, but we've been blessed with an extremely temperate season thus far. We've only had a few days in a row over 90 and I've had more heavy air days than light this year.
Yeah it was great until last week, but I think we are stuck under a Bermuda High for awhile. Maybe it won't last.
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Old 08-13-2009
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We kept our boat on Champlain for 2 years... and I've been on the Chesapeake, and I've been through Maine. We've been cruising up and down the east coast for 9 months now, and we'd put Burlington, VT, on Lake Champlain, in our top three for a cruising destination. Between Church St. with restaurants, bars, street performers and little shops, to the moorings, docks and dinghy dock at the waterfront, to the festivals they have on the waterfront, to the nice people, it's one of the best places we've visited. You also have a number of state parks that are beautiful and unique, deep water (no worrying about going aground on Champlain!) it's just a wonderful lake. With regards to Maine, it's also an incredible place to cruise. You just have to watch out for the fog and the rocks, but with Acadia National Park, Monhegan, the waffle/ice cream place in Booth Bay, Camden, Rockland/Rockport and more, there are a ridiculous number of places to visit - and you can't beat the seafood! The Chesapeake also has lots of places to visit, but in August/September you still have to deal with an excessive amount of bugs/jellyfish and possibly heat. I'd personally lean towards Maine or Champlain.
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Old 08-13-2009
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Thanks for the ideas! Chesapeake (Haven Yacht Charters) is a lot less expensive than either Winds of Ireland or Northport Yacht Charters, but the lake is looking like the spot. bugs and me makes for an unhappy sailor. I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of bugs last September down on the Pamlico. Go figure!
Chris, you on your way back north? I haven't followed your blog in a while..
Mike
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