Fresh Changes Abound in Lake Huron
It's been described as the world's best freshwater cruising ground and one of the world's 10 best charter destinations. Most sailors familiar with Lake Huron's North Channel region will second those opinions. This waterway offers the marvelous combination of a wide-open fairway-usually graced by brisk on-the-beam breeze-and literally thousands of intimate coves and anchorages set against a stunning natural backdrop.
For more than 35 years, Canadian Yacht Charters has catered to visiting sailors wishing to experience the North Channel. Recently, the company, a perennial favorite, has undergone some major upgrades. More than $1 million was invested in a new ship's store and bathhouse facility, and all floating docks have been upgraded and widened. The charter fleet has also seen some major updating.
When owner Ken Blodgett acquired the business some 20 years ago, he inherited a collection of aging vessels in need of some T.L.C. Maintenance has since become one of the company's hallmarks, and as many owners will attest, used boats placed in the program typically improve in condition from year to year. This is partially because of the benign freshwater environment and the relatively short charter season, but it's largely due to the company's meticulous maintenance routines.
Charter guests often comment on the good condition of the fleet, and this reputation has allowed CYC to attract investors willing to place a growing range of new boats into the program. Today, the average vessel is less than 4 years old, and all are turnkey outfitted with amenities that include color chart plotters and flat-screen entertainment systems.
Budget-conscious cruisers can still find such offerings as a vintage Pearson 27, but more common are late-model Hunters and Jeanneaus, including a brand-new 50-foot deck-saloon model. Given a charter season that typically lasts from Memorial Day to just past Labor Day, it can be important to book early, as prime weeks fill up fast. For details, contact Canadian Yacht Charters (www.cycnorth.com).
Sunreef Cats Get Makeover
Sunreef Yachts of Poland has made changes in its catamaran designs that are reflected in 2010 models. With more than 30 units of the Sunreef 62 crewed catamaran sold, the company has incorporated structural and stylistic changes emphasizing innovative design and increased functionality of space.
The new Sunreef 62 has a hull shape similar to that of the Sunreef 70, and two picture windows within the hull provide more light and views to all guest cabins. The general deck space has been increased in width, allowing a wider cockpit and flybridge as well as a more spacious interior. All interior systems are hidden and positioned farther from the cabins, separating guests from noise and machinery. The mast has been moved from the main deck to the cabin top, allowing the saloon to be extended and the visibility expanded.
Cabins are fitted with separate showers and bathrooms and have panoramic windows; each cabin has a full wardrobe and greater storage space, an option for charter guests or owners living on board. Aft to port are full-sized crew quarters capable of accommodating three members; separate access directly from the cockpit preserves guest privacy. For details, contact Sunreef (www.sunreef-yachts.com).