North America boasts some of the finest cruising grounds in the world. Check out these regions and seasons for crewed chartering. While this Maine charter was set up by Ed Hamilton & Co. (800-621-7855, 207-549-7855, www.ed-hamilton.com and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org), similar crewed-charter experiences can be attained through other reputable brokers. To find a list, visit CW's website (www.cruisingworld.com) and click on "Charters."
New England: It's really three distinct regions-Maine; southern New England, including Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Cape Cod, and the Elizabeth Islands; and the areas around eastern Long Island Sound. High season is from June through October.
Chesapeake: The bay has fabulous estuaries for poking into and great seafood to dine on. Consider this destination in the shoulder seasons of May-June and September-October.
Florida: Set out from Fort Myers to Pine Island Sound on the Sunshine State's southwest coast or head east to Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Another option is Biscayne Bay, a protected area that offers plenty of room to sail and nightlife ashore at Coconut Grove and South Beach, Miami. Peak season is February through May.
Pacific Northwest: Make Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and Gulf Islands your charter destination from July through October; August is the peak month.
California: Depart from Los Angeles and head to Catalina, or explore the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara. Winter months are the peak season here.
Mexico: Sail the Sea of Cortez and take in the ever-changing reds, blues, and purples of the Baja moonscape, or head to the Mexican Riviera, from Puerto Vallarta to Acapulco. Winter months are the peak. Elaine Lembo