Marinalife is proud to announce the winners of its 2015 Best Marina Contest. The 6th annual contest honors the top marinas in the industry that go above and beyond in customer service and hospitality and makes the entire boating experience memorable. Thousands of votes poured in from Marinalife readers. We are excited to announce the following winners!
Best Large Marina (over 100 slips)
1ST PLACE - River Dunes in Oriental, North Carolina
River Dunes is located just off the Intracoastal Waterway at MM 173, slightly north of Oriental. This well-protected inland basin harbor, currently offering 125 slips, provides an ideal location for all types of boaters with an accommodating staff that strives for the best experience for every customer. Marina guests have access to world-class amenities including a Harbor Club with fine and casual dining, a pool, a fitness facility, spas, steam showers and a laundry. The marina features state-of-the-art floating docks, high-speed gas and diesel pumps and an 8-foot depth throughout. Convenient location, five-star facilities and outstanding customer service make every stop at River Dunes an unforgettable experience.
2ND PLACE - Southport Marina
Southport Marina in Southport, North Carolina is located on the ICW at MM 309 and offers boaters over 200 in-water slips, 220 dry-stack slips, a full-service boatyard and a 75-ton lift and is within walking distance to restaurants, shops, and attractions of downtown Southport. The marina is also host to the annual U.S. Open King Mackerel Tournament each October.
3RD PLACE - Wentworth by the Sea
Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle, New Hampshire has 150 slips, and guests have access to a heated pool, tennis, golf, an on-site resort and easy access to historic Portsmouth. The thing that sets the Wentworth apart from othersis not only its great service and attention to detail, but when boaters arrive, they get a real sense of community.
Best Small Marina (under 100 slips)
1ST PLACE - SOUTH JERSEY MARINA in Cape May, New Jersey
South Jersey Marina in Cape May provides first-class accommodations and services for boats up to 140 feet. In addition to hosting some of the East Coast's largest sportfishing events, the marina is geared for the transient boater with outstanding spa-like bathrooms, showers and a state-of-the-art laundry facility. A first-class restaurant, ladies' boutique and an outside lounge area are on-site as well. South Jersey is also the closest major marina to the downtown historic district of Cape May. Its 75 slips are serviced by an experienced and dedicated staff committed to providing the best boating experience possible.
2ND PLACE - Harbour Town Yacht Basin
Harbour Town Yacht Basin in Hilton Head, South Carolina is situated in the heart of The Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island's popular destination for resort-style accommodations and activities, and the ideal place to base your boating adventures. The Sea Pines Resort is proud of its amenities and of a hard-working staff that loves what it does. It ensures all boaters receive the finest in facilities and services in the Hilton Head Island area.
3RD PLACE - Key West Harbour
Key West Harbour in Key West, Florida offers dry slips in hurricane-rated dry-rack facilities and 100 wet slips accommodating vessels up to 100 feet with access to a pool and on-site restaurant and bar. Key West Harbour is a perfect haven for boating with picturesque views of the Atlantic. Stay in one of the beautifully furnished ocean-front sites, dine at The Club at Key West or spend the day sunning at the beach or the pool.
The days are growing shorter, and the final weeks of summer are upon us. So, before the school bell rings, Marinalife is wondering if you’ve checked off everything on your must-do list this season. If you’re looking for ways to wrap up summer, consider the following ideas for last-dash, fun activities.
- Learn how to do a back dive, canon ball or jump off the back of the boat into the water. Rope swings are also an invigorating option.
- Have a tiki party on a boat and serve your guests tropical blender drinks. Bonus points for Hawaiian shirts and grilled pineapple or savory Polynesian snacks.
- Pick a dozen crabs on your boat or at a waterfront dock bar, along with all the classic fixins’ of corn on the cob, hushpuppies, coleslaw and a cold brew. If crabs aren’t your preference, a lobster, clam or crawfish boil will do just fine.
- Ride down a giant slide, roller coaster or death-defying ride at a waterpark while letting out a mighty yell.
- Body surf in the Atlantic waves or build a sandcastle strong enough to withstand the tide.
- Explore a hidden cove or a dream destination that you’ve never visited before on your boat.
- Go fishing and catch something big enough for dinner.
- Get pulled on a raft or inflatable behind a boat or learn how to waterski.
- Catch lightening bugs in a jar to make a glowing lantern. But be sure to poke holes in the lid and release them when the fun is done.
- Under the stars, go to an outdoor movie, music festival or seafood feast.
- Learn how to shuck an oyster, clean a fish or pick a crab, then invite friends over to taste dishes made from the fruits of your labor.
- Invent a nautical cocktail to commemorate the summer of 2022.
Available on Google Play, the Apple App Store and Galaxy Store
This fish finder app lets anglers discover saltwater and freshwater catches with the snap of a picture. Take a live shot or import photos and the AI technology works its magic. Learn about marine habitats and check weather conditions including winds, tides, water temperature and barometric pressure. (Free download; premium subscription is $29.99/year) fishverify.com
SHELL MUSEUM: IDENTIFY SHELLS
Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store Take photos of your shoreline discoveries and this innovative app helps you figure out what they are and the sea creature that built it. Thanks to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Sanibel, FL, beachcombers can now identify most common shells found across Florida beaches in seconds. ($1.99 download) shellmuseum.org
ARGO: BOATING NAVIGATION
Available on Google Play and the Apple App Store
This navigation and social boating app offers satellite, terrain and NOAA map features, depth and contours, trip planning, voyage tracking and a captain’s log for itineraries. Find points of interest such as fuel docks, anchorages, marinas and restaurants. The social boating features helps you connect with the boating community (Free download) argonav.io
REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION — FLORIDA, CARIBBEAN, BAHAMAS
This guide has been a leading birdlife guidebook for decades. Vibrant photos, detailed descriptions and range maps illustrate a lively key for bird-watching excursions. The book is compact, easily portable and studies most species in North America. (Prices vary) kaufmanfieldguides.com/birds.html
THE TRACKER’S HANDBOOK: HOW TO IDENTIFY AND TRAIL ANY ANIMAL
By Len McDougall
Whether you’re hunting for dinner, hiking or being an avid nature lover, this guide makes animal tracking easy. Discover North American species such as the American Elk and Whitetail Deer. Identify footprints, habitats and range. This book isn’t just for hunters; it’s for explorers of all kinds. ($34.56)
Point a smartphone to the sky and suddenly you appear in your own planetarium with this stargazing app. Sky Guide locates your position and follows the stars in real time while superimposing constellations and figures interactively. Find planets in rotation, discover where Pisces is currently rising or catch the next meteor shower.($1.99 download) apps.apple.com/us/app/sky-guide/id576588894
OCEAN ANIMALS COLLECTION SERIES
National Geographic Kids Children will become overnight marine biologists with this fun learning series. Young readers can spot sea otters, manatees, turtles and much more. Teach your kids about aquatic habitats with photography and unique fun facts on each species. ($17.99)
This outdoor set brings out kids’ inner scientific explorer. Examining bugs, plants, dirt, weather and more. Activities include testing various samples and tracking findings in a science log. Kids can enjoy after-dark exploration with the UV night scope. ($45)
What do a media mogul, movie maker and American President have in common? Taking part in yacht racing, one of our nation's oldest sports, and New England, the cradle of this sport in America. Ted Turner won the 1977 America's Cup in Newport. Roy Disney sailed from Newport to Bermuda with record-breaking speed in 2002. And in 1936, JFK earned a winner's cup racing Stars in the Hyannis Port Yacht Club race to Edgartown.
With more than 6,000 miles of shoreline, survival built on the sea from olden days of fishing and trading to today's seasonal tourist dollars, it's a natural that racing sailboats is a time-honored tradition and rite of passion for most New Englanders. Many sailors here boast blood as blue as the surrounding seas, yet everyone can find a home to race. Here's a sampling of some of the region's best-known regattas.
Competition and camaraderie combine in this relative newcomer event sailed in Penobscot Bay and celebrated shoreside in downtown Camden. Over 100 sailboats, everything from vintage yachts to very fast one-designs like J/46s and J/42s, race. Classes are available for day sailors and cruising yachts, too. Dockage at Lyman-Morse is included in the race fee, so the party starts ashore when the racing ends, says organizer Mackenzie Lyman, who adds the marina operator and boat-builders have rebuilt the waterfront after a fire in 2020. Spectators can have just as much fun. Maine's Wind- jammers offer two-hour tours to view the racing, while landlubber's best bet is watching the parade of sail as dressed yachts with costumed crew parade through Camden harbor on the morning of July 30.
A trend toward classic yacht racing and a nod to the area's deep sailing roots combined for the first time last year at the Shipyard Cup. This new addition to the nearly 50-year-old annual regatta put lots of eye-candy on the water. The 1926-built NY-40, Marilee and 1937-constructed 12-meter America's Cup contender, Gleam, plus classic Boothbay Harbor one-designs like the 21-foot, Geerd Hendel-designed, 1938-launched sloops, are expected back this year along with contemporary race yachts. We invited several America's Cup contenders to join Gleam this year on the start line, says co-chair Bob Scribner. Spectators can observe from Spruce Point, McKeown Point or Southport. A narrated parade of participants in the inner harbor starts at 10:00 a.m. on July 24.
The 1889-founded Marblehead Race Week joined with National Offshore One-Design concept a few years back, and the result is close to 200 boats racing. We now have all our regular classes like J/70s, Rhodes 19s and Viper 640, plus there are usually one or two guest classes like RS21s, Skuds, 2.4's and J/24s, that hold regional championships as part of the week, says Leslie Rousseau, race committee chair for the host Boston Yacht Club. We expect to see the return of Jud Smith, two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and local J-70 favorite. Spectators on land can get a bird's eye view of the racing from Chandler Hovey Park on Marblehead Neck. Those with a fast center console can watch the boats line up to start off Turkey Point in Middle River or set their chutes at the windward mark in Middle River.
Since 1938, celebrity-studded Martha's Vineyard is home to this week of combo coastal, offshore and round-the-island racing hosted by Edgartown Yacht Club. The history, charm and summer activity on Martha's Vineyard is a meaningful draw, in addition to fantastic wind and ideal sailing conditions, says Alex Nugent, one of the event's co-chairs. Plus, we typically host a big welcome party that's sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. New is the âRound-the-Sound series of races, which features 20-some nautical mile coastal sprints around Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound and replaces the around-the-buoy series. There's monohull and multihull, racing and cruising, double-handed and many-handed entrants including teams from state and federal service and maritime academies.
Nine days of racing, parties and awards ceremonies take the concept of race week to the extreme. There's something afloat for everyone: kids in Optis and 420s, women in Rhodes 19s, kiteboarders, radio-controlled model boats and some of the country's top sailors competing in high-performance big boats and classic wooden yachts. This year we celebrate the 50th Opera House Cup Regatta, the grand dame of classic wooden boat regattas. The Cup, named after a legendary Nantucket restaurant, attracts some of the finest wooden boats on the East Coast and Europe. There is a big awards party on the beach after the race, says Diana Brown, chief executive of Nantucket Community Sailing. The Parade of Wooden Boats offers a brochure that describes each participating boat. The public can watch the parade from Brant Point Beach.
Hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) out of its facilities in Newport, this is North America's oldest continuously held sailing event going on its 168th year. The format features two days of buoy racing, prefaced by a race around Conanicut Island. The sight of 100-plus spinnakers running north in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay from Fort Adams, Castle Hill or Beavertail Light is breathtaking. Entries are invited to one-design classes, and boats more than 24 feet race under a variety of handicaps. The Annual Regatta is one of my perennial favorites, says Paul Zabetakis, NYYC commodore and a regular participant on his Swan 42, Impetuous. The race management is impeccable with multiple course configurations. Few other venues offer the perfect combination of offshore racing in Rhode Island Sound and inshore racing on Narragansett Bay. The Saturday night regatta party is one of the biggest occasions of the Newport regatta season with sailors converging on Harbour Court for cocktails and dinner.
The lawn at Castle Hill Inn in Newport and Fort Wetherill in Jamestown are ringside seats to watch nearly 200 vessels start in the East Passage on a 635-mile passage south to Bermuda. Fort Adams State Park also provides close-up views of many of the boats as they depart from Newport Harbor. The fleet then sails past Brenton State Park as it clears Brenton Reef and turns to the southeast. Charter boats and private yachts assemble to watch the start from the water as well, says John Burnham. It's one of the oldest regularly scheduled ocean races, happening biennially since 1906. This year, three high-speed multihulls -- two MOD 70s, Argo and Snowflake, and the 78' trimaran Ultim'Emotion 2 -- are entered, and each has a good chance of breaking the elapsed time race record of 34h:42m:53s set in 2016 by the 100' maxi yacht, Comanche.
The fleet goes where the wind blows. The Ida Lewis Distance Race is like no other in that the Race Committee chooses from among four different courses, based on the weather. Each course incorporates some of the most storied cruising grounds in New England and is just long enough for the fleet to be offshore overnight, yet not so long to prohibit inviting family and friends to join for a first-time adventure, says Anselm Richards, event chair. The goal: get about 60-some teams to compete on race boats 28-foot and longer in double-handed, youth, collegiate and different handicap classes back to the dock in under 24 hours. The start happens off Fort Adams and ends inside Newport Harbor, where each team is handed a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco.
Stamford is the start of this Memorial Day weekend regatta that for many sailors kicks New England's offshore racing season. The 186-nautical mile course down Long Island Sound and around Block Island and back also acts as a âwarm up' for many teams that are racing some two weeks later in the Newport to Bermuda Race, says Kate Wilson Somers, who handles media for the event. The race marks its 75th anniversary this year and is organized by the Storm Trysail Club, based in Larchmont, NY.
A 20-year+ tradition on the first weekend in June, this one-design keelboat event hosted out of the Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT, can draw as many as 800 competitors on over 100 boats. The key is that all the boats in a class are the same; no handicap scoring is needed. This makes it easy to watch, as first over the finish line is the winner. Currently, the event is open to J70, J88, J105 and J109, and Beneteau 36.7 fleets, but other fleets are welcome if they meet the requirements, says Joyce Oberdorf, who handles the club's communications.