SAIL NEW ENGLAND - Seasons and Snowbirds

Fresh bottom paint

The sailing season in New England starts on Memorial Day.

At least, that's the deadline by which everyone insists their boats must be in the water and commissioned for the season ahead. But many people will have been preparing their boats since Easter, freshening up bottom paint, bending on sails, cleaning away the winter, and will be on the water from earlier in May.

Snowbirds will almost certainly have returned by this time, as weather further south will have become a little too warm. There are also many refugees from The Chesapeake Bay in New England waters during the summer months, here to avoid the stuffy and airless conditions that can make the height of summer almost unbearable there.

4th July Fireworks

As mentioned in the "Destinations" section of this website, a highlight of the boating season is 4th July weekend and there are many locations in New England that hold impressive firework displays over the water.

Favorites close to us: New London, Three Mile Harbor (on Long Island) and Block Island. Displays are spread over several weekends, offering a front row seat from the cockpit of your yacht for two or three major displays.

Unlike places such as the Chesapeake, the breeze in New England is reliable all through the summer, with the prevailing direction southwesterly.

Maine lobster boat

You will read that Maine has a reputation for fog, particularly in July and August, but this condition is highly variable year to year. We've personally enjoyed a 5-week cruise in Maine with only 2 days of fog.

So naturally you should be prepared, but don't be discouraged from all that cruising in Maine has to offer (follow the "Destinations" link below for more detail on Maine).

Labor Day marks the end of the summer boating season for many, with kids returning to school, but the weather will likely remain good through the end of October and some more popular destinations will now be less crowded, revealing a little more of their intrinsic character.

Fall foliage

It's often the turning of the fall foliage that is the signal for snowbirds to head south, with the enticing prospect of following the milder weather and the changing of the colors much of the way down the east coast.

Route south

And the trip south can take many forms and many routes.

So you may choose slow and lingering, simply daysailing, heading through New York, down the Jersey coast, around Cape May and up the Delaware River to the head of the Chesapeake Bay (solid red line) or skipping ahead with an offshore run from Montauk Point direct to Norfolk, VA, for example (dashed red line).

While we believe New England is hard to beat as a cruising destination and for a new boat shakedown, we do understand the desire to follow the warmer weather south in the fall...!

We've taken both routes shown on the chart many times when we've headed south, so please feel free to contact us for further discussion of timings and route options.



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Lagoon 39

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