Join Date: Mar 2008
Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
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We sail on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama. With 962 miles of shoreline and 69,100 acres of water, it is as good as the sailing gets on the Tennessee River System. The lake is surrounded by mountains with peaks from 500-1000 feet above the water. Hundreds of coves for protected and usually private anchorages make the gunkholing excellent. The mountains make for very challenging sailing as there is no prevailing wind and no matter the true wind the wind will vary widely from location to location. I have crept with every stitch of canvas up only to round a headland and face a 30kt blow.
There are two active sailing clubs on the lake, with joint events and good competition, and 4 or 5 marinas for sailboats. There are also active clubs on the adjoining reservoirs (Wheeler, Pickwick, Nickajack) and some regional events. My wife is crewing this weekend on a boat from our club at the 50th annual Dauphin Island Race in Mobile (expecting 300 boats at the starting line).
Our club has a winter race series, so winter is not so harsh as to preclude sailing some of the time. Actually, the wind is best from October-May, summer is time for cruising, camping, and swimming.
If your mast is less than 51 feet you can use the Tenn-Tom to the Gulf or go up throught the Great Lakes.
As a native of Miami, I've heard all the knocks on lakesailors, but one will never set the sails and ride without adjustment very far here, and you will learn to read the water or it will teach you the hard way.
Barge traffic is a reality but it is relatively light (the traffic not the barges).
They will keep you on your toes or on the bottom as they are 600' long and totally restricted to the sailing line due to draft and have a stopping distance like that of a freight train.
It would be a great place for cruisers to spend an active hurricane season. One of the few places left where one expects to be the only boat in the anchorage most of the time.