With a fresh breeze blowing as you manage the interplay between the wind and waves and your rudder and sails, there’s nothing quite like sailing. However, as a more involved boating experience, a sailing excursion should be well thought out. Unpredictable weather in particular can pose a problem for sailors, so choosing a destination can often make or break your voyage. To help you plan the perfect excursion, Boatline has compiled a list of 11 of the top sailing destinations in the world.
1. Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Referred to as the “sailing capital of the world,” and a previous America’s Cup host for nearly half a century, Newport is a premier destination. With easterly breezes and temperate weather from May through October, Newport provides comfortable conditions for all types of sailors.
2. Adriatic Coast, Croatia
With crystal clear waters and innumerable areas to explore, the Adriatic Coast along Croatia is a sailing hotspot. From the cities of Pula to Dubrovnik, sailors can boat along a beautiful coastline, with reliable winds occurring typically in the afternoon. Home to more than 1,000 islands off the coast of the mainland, there are a plethora of remote areas for a sailor to explore.
3. Whitsunday Islands, Australia
Located next to the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are perfect for dropping anchor and exploring the marine life that inhabit the area. With white sand beaches and a pristine environment, Whitehaven Beach is the top destination to relax in the area. A major draw to these islands is the consistent weather year-round, though the water tends to be chillier from May through August.
4. Zanzibar Island, Tanzania
Rich with a history of expeditioners and traders coming from around the world, Zanzibar Island has plenty to do for different types of sailors. Mnemba Island, known as “Millionaire’s Island,” is a lavish getaway for those seeking a luxurious escape. If you desire a more recreational excursion, drop anchor and explore the diverse history Zanzibar has to offer. If you are feeling adventurous, island-hopping dive trips are a top highlight, offering reef, wall, and wreck diving across 30 different dive sites.
5. South Georgia Island
Home to unique land and aquatic life, including penguins, albatross and elephant seals, South Georgia Island is an interesting destination for sailing. Cruise near abandoned whaling stations and you might find pods of various types of whales, including humpbacks, sperm whales and blue whales. This destination has some of the most turbulent waters in the globe, where winds can jump from zero to 100 knots within a few minutes. Take caution because this can pose a challenge, even for experienced sailors.
6. Greek Islands
If you are seeking a culmination of stunning landscapes of Grecian towns, ideal weather, and a place for a great meal after docking your sailboat, the Greek Islands meet all your needs. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, sailing through this archipelago should be a breeze. Budget yourself for about two weeks. With so much to do and see, you’ll want to have sufficient time to soak up everything in the Mediterranean.
7. Sicily, Italy
Another great destination in the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily boasts great weather and unreal landscapes to enjoy from your sailboat. Roam the volcanic coastline and you’ll see why this is a sailor’s paradise. Wind speeds typically pick up in the mid-summer, providing the perfect sailing conditions mixed with warm waters for dropping anchor and swimming.
8. Bay of Islands, New Zealand
With endless places to explore along the New Zealand shoreline, the Bay of Islands is one of the best destinations for an adventure-seeking sailor. Known for its diverse wildlife, travelers will find themselves amongst whales, dolphins, and even penguins. Dock your boat and explore the vast number of islands to feel almost completely isolated from all civilization.
9. British Virgin Islands
Known for its reef-lined shores, warm winds, deep blue waters, and stunning tropical beaches, the British Virgin Islands are a classic paradise for a Caribbean-style sailing getaway. The winds are at their weakest from late summer into early fall, so traveling during the winter and spring months will provide optimum wind conditions that are most ideal for sailing.
For the sailor seeking a more exotic experience, travel to Thailand and explore the shores. There, you will find pristine beaches, colorful marine life, and extraordinary rock formations, as well as the Phi Phi Islands. Sailing during the southwest monsoon season typically provides stronger winds, so make sure to sail from May to October for a more thrilling experience.
Known for its bright blue waters, granite rocks, and giant palm trees, Seychelles is a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean. During the months of May through September, southeasterly winds typically blow between 10 to 20 knots, providing cool and windy conditions ideal for sailing.
Journeying to any one of these locations around the world will surely give you a thirst for exploring more remarkable destinations. If you are ready to set sail and are interested in sailboats or any other watercraft, check out the new and used listings on Boatline.com. And, if you want to spend some time on the water stateside, visit Boatline’s Summer Destinations Resource Page for more waterside locales.