The best sailing routes in the best sailing grounds. Here are our top ten itineraries:
The 34th America’s Cup is well under way after Oracle Team USA Spithill won the 2011-12 World Series in Newport on the 1st of July. America’s Cup is a series of races between the best sailors on the world’s fastest boats. It began in 1851 and is one of the most prestigious sailing events in the world.
Artemis Racing, Bar, China Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team, Luna Rossa, Oracle Team USA and Team Korea will all battle it out in San Francisco during the months of August and October to get to the further stages in 2013. The teams are using the AC45 catamaran designed by the ORACLE Racing design and engineering team that can exceed 30 knots. It will later be replaced by the larger AC72 model during the finals. The winning team will receive a trophy made by London jeweler Garrard, that dates back to 1848.
1. The Turkish Riviera, Turkey
Turkey is a unique Mediterranean location with a fascinating cultural history. East meets West in a land of golden beaches, ancient ruins and warm, turquoise waters. The Turquoise coast runs from Cesme to Alanya and includes stunning locations such as Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye and Kas.
One of Italy’s best kept secrets and a paradise for yachtsmen, Sardinia has to be one of the most incredible sailing destinations in the Med. The Costa Smeralda is famous for its beauty, but the whole of Sardinia boasts pristine white sand beaches and impossibly clear waters. The coastlines are littered with hidden bays, rocky coves, caves and grottoes. By boat you can reach hidden anchorages and untouched islands that seem to belong to another world. The sailing infrastructure is also modern and convenient.
3. The Dalmatian Islands, Croatia
National parks, beach clubs, blue caves, medieval fortresses… and that’s just the beginning. The Dalmatian Islands have something for everyone. Hvar, Vis, Korcula and Mljet must be seen, and they are easy to reach from the vibrant cities of Split or Dubrovnik.
4. Ionian Islands, Greece
Greece is a well-established sailing area and there are many cruising grounds to choose from. The Ionian Islands are particularly good for families and beginners who want to sail in short stages. In this part of the Ionian Sea you are never far from a charming port town, a Homeric site or an idyllic beach.
5. Tuscany, Italy
Quintessentially Italian and brimming with culture and architectural splendor, Tuscany is a well-loved holiday destination and a superb sailing area to boot. The Tuscan coast is devoid of mass tourism, and rolling hills scattered with vineyards and olive groves meet colorful towns by the sea. More treasures can be found in the Tuscan Archipelago just off the coast – that is said to have been created when the goddess Venus dropped her necklace into the ocean.
6. Cote d’Azur, France
The Cote d’Azur is the ultimate yachting destination and a playground for the rich and famous. Artists, aristocrats and sailors alike have flocked to the azure coast since the nineteenth century and walked the cobbled streets of Antibes, Cannes and Saint-Tropez. Despite its popularity, the French Riviera has managed to retain its rustic charm. The island groups of Iles de Lérins and Îles d’Hyères make nice contrasts to the busy coast.
7. Kornati Islands, Croatia
Miles of blue dotted with hundreds of green islands. The Kornati Islands are perfect for those seeking a back to basics sailing experience. The islands in this part of Croatia are tranquil and traditional, with small settlements and a lot of natural beauty. Sailors can sit back and enjoy simple pleasures by the sea.
8. The Balearic Islands, Spain
Whether you want to party the night away, release your inner hippy, or find a quiet corner to relax. Sailing between Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca one can find lively tourist towns and surprisingly serene and laid back anchorages.
9. Corsica, France
Corsica, otherwise known as the ‘Île de beauté’ is ideal for those seeking challenging sailing and dramatic scenery. Magnificent medieval port towns tower over blue waters on the wild, often rugged coast. As well as offering exhilarating sailing, Corsica is a dream-come-true for lovers of wine, food and the great outdoors. Places such as Calvi and Ajaccio are effortlessly chic, and the island has an air of low key sophistication.
Montenegro’s unspoiled and indented coastline makes it an ideal sailing location. The incredible fjord like landscape has inspired great authors of the past such as Byron and Cervantes, and cruising along the Adriatic past snowcapped mountains and medieval towns, it is easy to see why. The people in Montenegro are also known to be exceptionally warm and hospitable.
The Chinese dragon boat festival, or Duanwu, began in Southern China around 2,500 years ago, and is now celebrated on the rivers of cities all over the world. It takes place on the 5th day of the 5th Chinese lunar month around the time of the summer solstice, which is the 23rd of June this year. Some say that the festival began after the famous scholar Qu Yuan drowned in the Miluo River, and that the race is inspired by the people who rowed their boats out to try and save him. The festival also takes places to venerate the dragon water deity. In Chinese tradition, the dragon symbolizes strength and vitality, and honoring his spirit can bring rainfall needed for the crops, and prosperity to villages and towns.
The dragon boats are shaped like open mouthed dragons at the front, and are powered by up to 80 rowers. They are colorfully decorated and the eyes of the dragon are painted before the race in order to ‘bring the boat to life’. The team members who win the race will bring good fortune to their community.
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