SAIL NEW ENGLAND - Maine

Sail New England

The rocky coastline of Maine remains one of the most spectacular and appealing landscapes in the world, its natural beauty largely unspoiled by man.

Although the straight line length of the coast of Maine is not exactly short at 228 miles, the tidal coastline of 3,478 miles is longer than that of California (3,427 miles).

Maine lighthouse

This is due to the serrated and jagged profile of the mainland with its many bays and inlets, and the myriad offshore islands (which are claimed to number in the thousands).

These islands range from small granite ledges still visible at high tide to Mount Desert Island, the largest Maine island, inhabited year-round and which encompasses Acadia National Park.

The larger islands have thriving villages serviced by daily ferry service from the mainland. A few have only lighthouses.

There are 3 distinct regions to Maine's coastal landscape and starting from the north these are:

Maine regions DOWN EAST COAST - from the Penobscot River to the Canadian border, with many outstretched fingers of rocky land and offshore islands, but with a remote feel and unhurried tempo

MIDCOAST - from Portland to the head of Penobscot Bay, made up of a series narrow, rocky peninsulas jutting out into the Gulf of Maine

SOUTH COAST - long sandy beaches interspersed with rocky cliffs and resort villages, running from Portland's Casco Bay, down past Kennebunkport and York to the Massachusetts border

The cruising sailor is well catered for in all areas, but will find a particularly warm welcome along the less travelled Down East Coast (so called because when ships sailed from Boston to ports in Maine, to the east of Boston, the prevailing wind was at their backs, so they were sailing downwind, hence the term 'Down East').

Maine windjammer

In addition to cruising yachtsmen, windjammers are a common sight on the waters in Maine, offering summer visitors a taste of life under sail.

In addition to breathtaking scenery, wildlife is abundant here.

Maine lobster boat

Of course there are the ubiquitous lobsters (evidenced by the maze of multicolored pot floats and the traditional small lobster boats checking their traps), but you will also find harbor seals basking in the sun, bald eagles and ospreys, and - right at the other end of the size spectrum - the many species of whales commonly seen from May through October when they have returned north to their feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine.

With so much to explore, a good companion to have on board is a sailing guide that will detail all the harbors and anchorages, marinas and boatyards - and the all important tides.

Maine Cruising Guide

Although there are a number of sailing guides available covering the many and varied coasts of Maine, we have found that the best cruising guide is "A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast", now on its fifth edition.

(Click on the cover picture to the right to go to a website where you can order a copy of the guide)


For a more personalized itinerary for the cruising grounds of Maine, please contact us.

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