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Game, Set, Match! Best Tennis Courts to Visit By Boat

By
Doug
Simmons

Like golf, the sport of tennis possesses a country-club tenor that fits hand in glove with the yachting lifestyle. Here are the best tennis courts to visit by boat where you can serve and volley - or simply indulge a love of the game during your travels.

International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, R.I.

Set in the Newport Casino, a National Historic Landmark that opened in 1880, this shingle-and-stone mansion is Grand Slam ground zero. The on-site museum houses thousands of artifacts including sketches of the first Wimbledon championships in 1877 and tennis fashions from throughout the 20th century as well as two galleries highlighting the 252 Hall of Famers. The Dell Technologies Hall of Fame Open brings the top ATP World Tour players here each July. It's the only tournament played on grass courts outside of Europe. You can enjoy the Hall of Fame's clinics, camps and rental programs.

Where to Dock: Newport Yachting Center (401-847-9047, newportyachtingcenter.com)

Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center, Hilton Head, S.C.

Part of the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, this ace destination repeatedly ranks among Tennis Magazine's Top 10 Tennis Resorts. The 26-court facility recently shortened two courts for players 10 and younger per new regulations from the USTA, and for the addition of the lively sport of POP tennis. There are also eight newly renovated pickleball courts colored with U.S. Open green and blue. The center offers both adult and junior programs, from fast-paced drills to custom programs, as well as court reservations for members and guests. From March to October, Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center adds a complimentary happy hour on Monday nights and free demonstrations every Tuesday.

Where to Dock: Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina (866-400-7894, palmettodunes.com)

Delray Beach Tennis Center, Delray Beach, Fla.

Held here each February, the Delray Beach Open is the world's only combined ATP World Tour/ATP Champions Tour event, drawing both current and past legends for 10 days of action. Or, come for the Chris Evert Raymond James Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic in November, featuring three days of matches with former tennis pros as well as other famous personalities. The Tennis Center, located just west of the Delray Beach downtown area on Atlantic Avenue, has 14 clay and six hard courts, an 8,200-seat stadium, upstairs pavilion, conference room, pro shop and full menu of adult and junior programs, leagues, clinics and camps.

Where to Dock: Seagate Yacht Club at Delray Beach (877-673-6564, theseagateyachtclub.com)

Crandon Park Tennis Center, Key Biscayne, Fla.

The 13,800-seat Stadium Court at the Crandon Park Tennis Center is home to the Miami Open, a 12-day tournament held each March featuring the top 96 men and women players in the world. It's one of the most prestigious competitions in professional tennis, and a bucket-list event for fans. The facility is home to 26 courts overall hard court, European red clay and American green clay. Lessons are offered, reservations are accepted and the courts are wheel-chair accessible. A clubhouse and pro shop are on site, just steps away from Crandon Park Beach, renowned as one of the best swatches of sand in the U.S.

Where to Dock: Crandon Park Marina (305-361-8446, miamidade.gov/parks)

Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Fla.

Along with its world-class water-based activities fishing, diving, paddleboarding, dolphin encounters and the 85-slip marina exclusive Hawks Cay Resort also offers Cliff Drysdale Tennis. One of 28 such programs in the U.S. and the creation of champion player and former ATP president Cliff Drysdale. The specialized clinics and camps, held at the resort's recently renovated Tennis Garden, are led by certified coaches and intended to teach fundamental skills as well as match play, game strategy, team building and camaraderie. Feel those competitive juices flowing? Register for a league or tournament, or just have one of the resort's tennis professionals arrange a match for you.

Where to Dock: Hawks Cay Resort & Marina (305-743-9000, hawkscay.com)

Naples Bay Resort & Marina, Naples, Fla.

This Italian-inspired destination along the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast features an amenity-rich environment with waterfront shopping and fine dining, a Euro-style spa, three swimming pools and a meandering lazy river, a fitness center with aerobic and Pilates studios, a kids' club and a full-service tennis complex with six lighted clay courts. The pro shop here features designer apparel, shoes, racquets and tennis accessories, and the professionally led tennis program offers a variety of options for juniors and adults alike, including clinics, round-robins and private lessons.

Where to Dock: Naples Bay Resort & Marina (239-530-5134, naplesbayresort.com)

The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Longboat Key, Fla.

Whether you want to schedule a friendly game with your spouse, plan a tournament for your group or perfect your swing with personalized lessons, one of Florida's top tennis resort awaits. The beautifully landscaped Tennis Garden at The Resort at Longboat Key Club boasts 20 clay courts maintained by a state-of-the-art water irrigation system for consistently excellent playing conditions. Recharge after a match in the adjacent clubhouse or players patio, or refuel with a bite on the terrace at the Court 21 Café & Lounge. A fully-stocked pro shop offers the latest tennis accessories, apparel and racquet rentals.

Where to Dock: Longboat Key Club Moorings (941-383-8383, longboatkeymarina.com)

Tops'l Beach & Racquet Resort, Destin, Fla.

Choose from more than a dozen individual and group tennis packages (or request a custom one) at this top-ranked racquet resort in Northwest Florida. Each package contains reserved court times and a Tops'l T-shirt, along with options including player-matching service, lessons or clinics, round robins and even food service. Along with 12 newly resurfaced clay courts, the tennis club here has a pro shop, fitness center, private locker rooms, racquetball court, indoor-outdoor pool and sauna with massage therapy. The resort is situated on 52 beautiful acres and bordered by the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and a nature preserve.

Where to Dock: Sandestin Baytowne Marina (850-267-7773, sandestin.com)

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

A pastoral setting of bougainvillea and citrus groves offers a serene, scenic backdrop for the 18 hard courts here. The tennis menu includes complimentary match play as well as daily clinics, family tennis, and a unique video lesson option with replay and tailored game analysis. For guests seeking an inclusive tennis experience, Rancho Valencia offers a Stay and Play package that combines one night in a luxury casita with a per-person tennis credit to use as they see fit. The all-suite, Relais & Châteaux property has been selected by Tennis Magazine as its No. 1 U.S. Tennis Resort multiple times since 2008.

Where to Dock: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa and Marina (619-221-4858, missionbay.regency.hyatt.com)

Caneel Bay Resort, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Few cruising destinations are as pristine and secluded as the U.S. Virgin Islands. To wit, Caneel Bay Resort lies at the edge of Virgin Islands National Park and is accessible only by boat or ferry. Water activities like scuba and sailing beguile, but when you're ready for some shore leave, check out the resort's nine synthetic grass and hard courts. Two are illuminated for evening play, with complimentary rackets and unlimited court time. Lessons and clinics are taught using the proven Peter Burwash International (PBI) curriculum. Other services include player match-up, or a free hitting session with a ball machine or pro.

Where to Dock: Caneel Bay Anchorage (340-776-6111, nps.gov/viis)

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Waimea Hawaii

It's a long crossing for the average yachtsman, but, oh, is the trip worth it. The aptly named Seaside Tennis Club at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel showcases 11 courts right at the ocean's edge, so you can hear the waves break on the black, volcanic rock shore while you break your opponent's serve. All the amenities of a luxury tennis club are present here pro shop, locker rooms, tournament planning, match-making, private and group lessons with a professional instructor plus the Seaside Tennis Club Grand Prix Championship occurs each fall and includes special hotel rates for participants.

Where to Dock: Gentry's Kona Marina (808-329-7896, gentryskonamarina.com)

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REEF FISH IDENTIFICATION — FLORIDA, CARIBBEAN, BAHAMAS

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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.

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MAINE

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Camden Classics Cup

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Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta & Shipyard Cup Classics Challenge

July 23-24

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.

MASSACHUSETTS

Marblehead Regatta - new england regattas - marinalife
NOOD Marblehead Regatta 2021 | Bruce

Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series - Marblehead

July 28-31

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.

Edgartown Race Weekend

June 23-25

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 ‘Round-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.

Nantucket Race Week

August 13-21

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.

RHODE ISLAND

Annual Regatta

June 10-12

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.

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Newport to Bermuda Race

June 17

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.

Ida Lewis Distance Race

August 18-20

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.

CONNECTICUT

Block Island Race

May 27

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 ‘warm 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.

Cedar Point One Design Regatta

June 4-5

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.

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