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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Chartering > Chesapeake, Lake Champlain, or Maine?
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Thread: Chesapeake, Lake Champlain, or Maine? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-13-2009 11:56 PM
mazzy Okay, we ended up sailing Lake Champlain. What a great week! When I was researching Champlain, there wasn't a lot of commentary on it, so here's a bit of a (longish) digest as my contribution;

We chartered from Navtours, a firm based in Montreal with a bunch of boats on the Lake in the US under their management. The boat we chose was a Beneteau Oceanis 281. Comfortable for the two of us, easily single-handled as well.

Boat was in good shape, though the inflatable dinghy supplied had a non-functioning outboard, no seat and no oarlocks! We were given a seat from another dinghy, but we didn't realize the absence of oarlocks until it was time to row. Minor inconvienience, I rigged some out of spare cord.

Boat also came with very beefy ground tackle, but without a windlass, so my shoulders were to get a bit of a workout. All that chain will prove comforting, though.

We started at a marina just south of Plattsburg, NY, conveniently close to Valcour Island. Our first night was spent on the hook in Sloop Bay, a beautiful cove on the east shore of Valcour Island, with good holding and protection from all but an easterly wind. As it was the end of the Labor Day weekend, boat traffic was light, and we shared the anchorage with one other boat. In the morning we rowed to a sandy beach and hiked along some of the island's well-marked trails. Water was warm enough for a refreshing swim as well (about 72F).

On Tuesday, after a nice breakfast that Deb managed to prepare on the two-burner Origo alcohol stove, we headed off to Mallett's Bay, on the Vermont side of the Lake, just north of Burlington. A little nervous negotiating some shoals leading to a cut that we had to go through, but all went well. Mallett's Bay was another beautiful anchorage, marred only by a couple of speedboats pulling waterskiers until sunset. Holding was good, and we were the only boat anchored just off of a state park.

Wednesday was a great downwind run to Burlington, where we rented a slip for the night from the Ferry Dock Marina. Because of the chop even inside the Burlington breakwater, the marina owner, Kurt, let us stay tied to the fuel dock for the night. Went out to dinner at the Shanty on the Shore restaurant and had oysters and Maine lobsters on the shore of a freshwater lake. Go figure.

Thursday, the winds were roaring up the lake from the south as we made our way back to the New York side, to Willsboro Bay. We reefed the main and the boat handled well. We clocked 6.2 kt for a while, but we were more comfortable when we had things throttled down to about 5.5 kt or so.

Willsboro Bay was amazing. The western shore is all steep cliffs and huge depths close up to shore. The eastern shore has houses, marinas and reasonable depths. So, we went along the western shore, looking for a place to tuck in for the night. We found a great spot, tucked near a bit of a gravelly beach, with enough swing room between the towering cliffs and depths below 40 ft. Simply beautiful. We spent the afternoon there, but just before sunset the anchor dragged a bit, and we found ourselves slowly drifting away from shore with the anchor dangling in 120' of water! So, after a back-breaking haul, we motored to the other side of the bay, and anchored in 15' for a secure and comfortable night.

On Friday the winds were from the south still, so our return trip north to Snug Harbor Marina was on a run. We stopped for lunch on the west coast of Valcour Island before returning the boat.

I've referenced a .kmz fiie from Google Earth for reference to the anchorages we stayed at, and will make some entries in Active Captain as well.

All in all, a great charter experience!

Mike
08-30-2009 02:30 AM
labatt Enjoy yourself. On the north end of the lake, make sure to stop by the North Hero Marina (Tiki Bar/grill, moorings and/or dock, and anchoring around the corner, and pool if it's not too cold), Burton Island State Park (moorings available or anchor out), Valcour Island (anchorages all around with various hiking trails), and Burlington. Burlington is by far one of our favorite places. Also, if you stop by Willsboro Bay Marina and want to drink for free, walk down Dock 4 and tell most any sailboater there that you know Pelican. Enjoy yourself!
08-29-2009 07:57 AM
mazzy Lake Champlain it will be! Thanks for all the input. I didn't charter with Winds of Ireland, as their phone seems to have been disconnected and their website offers no email address.(I even emailed "webmaster", "admin", and info, to no avail). So we're renting a small Beneteau from Navtours, an outfit based in Monttreal with lots of boats on Champlain, north of Narrowsburg. Should be a good week!
Mike
08-14-2009 01:25 AM
labatt Hopefully only temporarily. My business is being ravaged by the economy, so I need to spend some time on site to try to get things in order. We'll be in Albany late next week and hopefully only have to spend a month or two there. I need to focus on finding customers and business, and then we can head out again.
08-14-2009 12:45 AM
mazzy 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
08-13-2009 10:43 PM
labatt 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.
08-13-2009 09:09 PM
redcobra
Quote:
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.
08-13-2009 07:31 PM
PalmettoSailor
Quote:
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.
08-13-2009 05:46 PM
redcobra Unless there is a drastic change in the weather patterns, the Chesapeake is hot, humid and windless untill about the mid of September.
08-13-2009 03:01 PM
PalmettoSailor 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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