Yachting in New England: A captain, owner, guest and crew guide
Last updated: 26/06/2017
As the weather cools off in the Med, some superyachts head to the northeast corner of the U.S. to enjoy fall and winter in different climes.
Comprised of six unique states and steeped in maritime history, New England extends from the Northern tip of Maine and finishes in Montauk, at the far point of Long Island.
Its states Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, draw ample visitors to their enchanting cruising grounds each and every year, and with winter in full swing, Yachting Pages took the opportunity to catch up with Robin O’Brien, charter broker at Fraser Yachts to discover the region’s cruising highlights.
When to visit New England
Climate and cruising conditions
Cruising is generally great in New England throughout the year, with four very distinct seasons. Annual temperatures average mid to upper 80s (27°C) during the day and cooler in the evenings.
Robin said, “While the summertime is ideal for your visit, the Indian Summer hits in September and October with its magical mix of warm, blue-sky days that end with dramatic sunsets, sudden chill and rising fog.
“The fall is my absolute favourite time to cruise New England, the evenings are crisp, but the weather is generally stable. The leaves are changing, the kids are back in school, so the marinas and restaurants and shops are less crowded.”
Her top tip for cruising the waters? Watch out for hidden lobster pots!
New England cruising and charter highlights
Newport, Rhode Island is a popular starting point for any New England yacht charter – not only because of its traditional seaside charm, but also for its abundant superyacht support services and favourable duty-free charter tax ruling.
The city makes for a great place to dock for a little or a long time, with plentiful superyacht berthing available at the Newport Yacht Club, Bannisters Wharf or Goat Island marinas. It offers superyacht guests a wide range of things to see and do, including a plentiful range of restaurants, shopping and history. A typical morning might start with a cliff walk along the coast, and a mansion tour to fill out the afternoon. The evening is often occupied with live music at one of the many local yacht clubs or bars.
With a quick cruise, visitors could find themselves on Block Island; a peaceful beach-lovers paradise of just 25sqm in total – 17 miles of which are made up of pristine New England beaches, and home to a secret party scene for those who are interested.
Martha’s Vineyard is infamous for attracting the rich and powerful to its shores. Intentionally ‘rustic’ and with a laidback seaside vibe, it offers a great location for those hoping to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. T-shirts and flip flops are the norm here.
The elegant old town and vibrant waterfront of charming Edgartown are well explored by foot or bicycle, while Vineyard Haven offers ample culture, shopping and watersports. Anchor up at Vineyard Haven Marina to enjoy the water before taking in the sunset at Menemsha Beach.
Seaside Nantucket is another favourite New England destination. Popular with tourists for over 100 years, it still offers pristine waters and a welcoming home to many types of wildlife, often spotted along its sand dune beaches and inlet creeks.
The Elizabeth Island chain is also part of Massachusetts, offering spectacular views of the eastward archipelago and its surrounding waters – a great location to drop anchor and enjoy a clam and lobster bake on the deck.
From the Elizabeth Islands, cruise into Conneticut and up the Mystic River, home to the famous Mystic Seaport and the perfect place for a shore-side adventure.
New Hampshire is well known for its varied and beautiful coastline, and local birdlife. Robin let us know that it’s also a great place for tax-free shopping.
Before heading out of New England, Robin recommended making time to cruise up to Winter Harbour in Maine, which, while not for the novice sailer, is spectacular. The setting is enhanced by its traditional Maine fog, and makes for the perfect place to enjoy chilly beachside bonfires. Visit the Acadia National Park and take in the absolute silence amongst the evergreen trees.
Clearing in and out of New England aboard a superyacht
The standard cruising regulations of the United States also apply here in New England: If coming straight from international waters, foreign-flagged recreational vessels exceeding 300GT must file a Notice of Arrival with the National Vessel Movement Centre (NVMC) prior to arrival. This is a separate step than obtaining a Cruising License from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If in doubt, visiting vessels can contact the Office of Commercial Vessel Compliance, Foreign and offshore division, or enlist the services of a local yacht agent.
When navigating U.S waters, non-US crew must have B1/B2 visas. Non-American guests on board must have the B1 visa for business, and the B2 visa for pleasure.
Superyacht berthing in New England
Used to welcoming many superyachts to its shores throughout the year, New England offers a wealth of unspoilt anchorages and modern marinas capable of handling large yachts.
Robin said, “There are many berthing and anchorage points for visiting megayachts, so it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one, but if I had to choose, it would be Penobscot Bay in Camden, Maine as it is quintessentially ‘New England’; a picturesque town that’s filled with small museums and shops.”
Bannisters Whaft, Newport, RI
Offering coveted deep-water berthing at the centre of Newport Harbor. It has 30 wet-slips and an 85.3m (280ft) fixed pier for berthing, alongside ample guest and crew facilities.
Newport Yacht Club, Newport, RI
One of the most historic yacht clubs in the region, Newport Yacht Club has all of the facilities expected of such a renowned facility.
Goat Island Marina, Newport, RI
Goat Island Marina offers a quieter Newport Harbor setting for superyacht guests, with 175 slips for yachts up to 76.2m (250ft) LOA, on-site fuelling and crew and guest amenities.
Vineyard Haven Marina, Martha’s Vineyard, MA
Vineyard Haven Marina offers deep-water, beach-front berthing for superyachts up to 60.9m (200ft) LOA. It has a private boaters lounge, restaurant and crew bar and facilities, with the Mansion House Health Club and New Result Fish Market nearby.
Originally written for MegaYacht News.