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Sailing

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sailing on an America’s Cup Yacht in St. Martin

One of the most unique opportunities in the Caribbean is the chance to race aboard authentic America’s Cup boats used in the actual competition. In the three-hour sailing fantasy camp called the Sint Maarten 12 Metre Challenge, you have the rare opportunity to step into Dennis Conner’s soft-soled shoes. After an introductory talk about the history of the America’s Cup, four captains choose teams and off you go to your respective boats. The boats include the winning Stars & Stripes yacht which Connor used in the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia; his back-up,  Stars & Stripes '86; and two Canadian yachts, Canada II and True North IV. Once aboard your boat, crew assignments are designated by the captain. You could be chosen to be primary grinders (grinding a winch as fast as possible so that the foresail can change direction), timekeepers, or handlers of the mainsheet or rope. Simulating the America’s Cup, you sail against one other boat around a triangular course, about one-tenth the size of the actual race. Afterwards, you’ve earned your rum punch.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/01/11 at 02:00 PM
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Friday, July 16, 2010

Sail Chesapeake Bay, Maryland

Founded in 1982 in Newport, Rhode Island, J World has since added teaching facilities in San Diego, Annapolis, the Keys, and Sweden. The Annapolis-based franchise is owned by Jahn Tihansky, a former sailmaker and instructor with US Sailing. Tihansky’s philosophy of “more time on the water, less time in the classroom” will turn any landlubber into a sailing aficionado. You’ll learn how to set the sails, practice your knots, stop and start under sail, tack, jibe (controlled, of course), and anchor. More advanced courses will teach salty dogs how to put up a spinnaker, navigate, and moor. Learn to Sail 5-day courses cost $995 per person.
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 07/16/10 at 01:00 PM
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Friday, February 26, 2010

Disappointing America’s Cup

For those of you who caught that small short blurb in the middle of the sports section last week, smack dab between Winter Olympics, basketball, and spring training baseball coverage, the America’s Cup is finally returning to American soil for the first time in 15 years. Software billionaire Larry Ellison and his BMW Oracle Racing team easily crushed the Swiss in Valencia, Spain. But did you take a look at his boat, a space-age trimaran that’s all sail, little deck? This is what the greatest sailing race has been reduced to, creating the fastest object on the water? Call me a traditionalist but I yearn for my childhood where we would head to Newport and watch the likes of Ted Turner and Dennis Connor sail large mono-hulled sailboats that at least looked like sleek yachts, not something better suited for Star Wars. One of the greatest thrills I had was racing on the winning 1986 Stars and Stripes boat in St. Martin, now used as a tourist attraction, racing against other boats from that era. It’s a far better way to introduce people to the exhilaration of sailing races, at least compared to Ellison’s high-priced toy.

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/26/10 at 01:59 PM
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Top 5 Adventures in Florida, Sailing the Keys

With first rate charts and other navigational aids, the Florida Keys are an ideal cruising ground for all sailors, regardless of experience. The famously warm, clear waters of the Keys are a snorkeler’s paradise—shipwrecks and coral parks are plentiful—and secluded beaches number in the hundreds. If you crave terra firma, you can always stop at Key West for a nightcap at Sloppy Joe’s, a favorite hangout of writer Ernest Hemingway.  One full day’s sail west of Key West brings you to the Dry Tortugas, home to Fort Jefferson, which dates back to Civil War days. This is a popular sailing route. If you feel like you’re off the charts, anchor at any harbor and ask the nearest boater for directions. Thankfully, yachting is no longer a sport only for the affluent. Florida Keys Bareboat Charter Company in Marathon bareboat charters a 27-foot Catalina for a cost of $899 per week (7 days/6 nights). 
 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 01/19/10 at 02:00 PM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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