The World’s Best Mooring Contest

We asked you to send in photos along with a convincing reason for why your mooring's the best in the world. Here, then, are the 10 finalists.

April 7, 2012


Niantic River, Connecticut We had a great stroke of luck when we found our spot on the Niantic River. Totally enclosed,it is a great hurricane hole, and once inside the guardian drawbridges the waters are calm and will provide a worry-free night of peaceful sleep. The hilly surrounding shores make for great scenery. There are several marinas on the river where you can buy fuel and top off your water tanks. The top notch chandlery of Defender Marine is just a few miles away. The Town of Niantic is a jewel in the crown of New England. You can dine on everything from burgers to the up scale, and the bakery across from the cinema is out of this world. Permits may be obtained for clamming or fishing, or if you are after big game, there are several charter boats readily available to take you to deep water. Niantic, at Lat N4110.8′, Lon W7210.8′ is a great spot to start a weekend cruise. Great destinations like Montauk, Shelter Island and Westbrook are but a day sail away, but when you have already reached Nirvana, why leave?


Cocoa, Florida Perhaps my engineering background has made me a clod, but I chose this anchorage 33 years ago and have never regretted it. It is functional. One glance out the rear window and I know the boats are secure. We have withstood hurricanes with no damage. Maintenance, provisioning, everything short of a haul out is simplified and convenient. We can do easy local cruising in the powerboat and anywhere else in the sailboat. One bridge and a set of locks are all that stand between us and the deep blue sea and nothing to the Intracoastal for day sailing. Access to the world is restricted only by our own limitations. We have covered the ICW from Key West to Hilton Head Island, The Abacos many times, and even one round trip to Bermuda. Work, in the past, and now old age control our horizons, but we have enjoyed our kind of sailing since we started in 1937. Not everybody is destined to circumnavigate, but that does not minimize the joy we have had. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and so is fun. We are sited Lat 28.45 deg N, Long. 080.75 deg W


River Dunes, North Carolina Lat. N 35 5’ 0” Long. W 76 36’ 10” Top ten reasons why River Dunes, North Carolina, is the World’s Best Mooring: (in 200 words or less)
10. Perfect hurricane hole nestled on 26-acre harbor with 10′ depths.
9. Floating docks with 13′ pilings and clean, fresh water.
8. Location. Easy day sail, on an easy day, to Cape Lookout Bight or Ocracoke Island, with lots of beautiful gunk holes along the way, for not-so-easy days.
7. Location. Half an hour by car from the New Bern airport.
6. Location. Half an hour by car from complication, congestion, and crime.
5. Amenities. Clubhouse, infinity pool, two hot tubs, workout room, steam showers, courtesy cars, bicycles, guest cottages and quiet.
4. Locally brewed “Sisters of the Moon” 9% beer on tap at the pool bar.
3. Best steak east of Kansas City at the Harbor Club restaurant in the clubhouse.
2. Easy access fuel dock with competitive prices and pump out.
1. J.C. Cappleman, Harbor Manager. J.C runs the River Dunes with an iron fist inside a velvet glove, making sure it all gets done. Whether greeting megayachts and catching their lines, or emptying trash because it needs to be done, J.C. maintains a standard of professionalism second to none.


Mount Sinai Harbor, New York Mooring # 266
Long Island Sound, New York
40.961571,-73.038316 Often the snug fit and safety of our harbor is all we need to shelter us from not only an approaching squall or rapid cold front, but also a world and a pace I sometimes find hard to keep up with. Mount Sinai Harbor is the place where I can hang my barbeque off the stern of my Sloop KIRSA, turning it into a waterfront 5-star restaurant—grilled shrimp and a plump porterhouse! Mooring #266 always has a random selection of microbrews on ice, ready to share with anyone who ties up, turning my sloop into a floating pub. A place where kayakers paddle effortlessly with funky hats, sunshine reflecting inches away into their mirrored shades, with a passing wave. A place for the Coolest Cats on Hobies, to show off some funky jibes. A place teeming with nice people, like a school of September Snappers! The Latitude where the attitude is about being in the moment and enjoying the sounds and scents.. A Neighborhood afloat, where many memories, and more importantly, lifetime friendships have been born…….. So, when in our harbor-hood, stop by, and have a cold one!


Norfolk, Virginia 37* 07′.80 N
76* 14′.42 W Webb, there is no mooring nor cruising ground better than yours except mine on the spectacular Chesapeake Bay! My mooring off Willoughby Spit in Norfolk, Virginia, sits at the mouth of the Cheasapeake Bay. My floating paradise constantly entertains me with an international parade of small and large, commercial and private, power and sail, and military and recreational vessels. Nature awakens me every day as the sun rises above the horizon just beyond the Ocean View fishing pier. The “big E” cries for adventure. So, we cast off with friends to an abundance of nearby snug harbors with rainbows after every rain shower! This mooring is fully equipped for aquatic diversity – my trusty jet ski speeds to neighborhood beach music, my hobie cat screams along the shoreline and my “Carribbean” pink dinghy crawls to a favorite fishing hole. Plus, 9 miles of soft sandy beach with a water temp in the upper 70s is only a short swim away! Best of all, I do not need to travel far to reach my mooring nor become a live-aboard. My mooring is in my backyard directly behind my beach house!


Portland, Oregon Location: 45D 36’1”N 122D 39’2”W We boat all year long. Besides anchoring outside our slip at Portland Yacht Club we are able to go through the locks upriver all the way to Lewiston, Idaho. Better yet, we make the 90-mile voyage to the coastal cities of Astoria and Ilwaco with the ability to move South or North on the Pacific Ocean if time allows. What makes this moorage location great is the variety of cruising options, and of course, the volcanoes, bald eagles, fishing, crabbing and unbelievable scenery!


Put-In-Bay, Ohio on Lake Erie
(41 39′ 11″N – 82 49′ 3″) Welcome to the best mooring on the north coast!Put-In-Bay, Ohio, is a small village located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. It played a significant role in the War of 1812 as the location for the squadron of U.S. naval Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who sailed from the port on September 10, 1813 to engage the British just north of the island in the Battle of Lake Erie.
Today, the island is the favorite mooring of sailors from Ohio and Michigan to Ontario, Canada. While naturally providing its visitors a safe harbor from summertime squalls, the residents of Put-In-Bay provide the answer to a thirsty sailor’s question with a wide array of drinking establishments, a brewery and a winery using island grown grapes. Land lovers can reach the island by ferry service from the mainland while boaters enjoy the water taxi service from moorings or nearby anchorages. Come enjoy the Lake Erie Islands…there’s always a party at Put-In-Bay.


Marina Bay, Richmond, California Sittin’ on the dock of the Bay, so the song goes. That’s the best home port for this sailor, San Francisco Bay. My starting point is a berth in the Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond California (37°54’45”N, 122°21’W). From it, the bay offers activities of unparalleled diversity. I can choose an afternoon trip to the ocean under the Golden Gate, with its assorted headwinds, waves, and tidal currents, sure to stimulate even the most experienced mariner. Alternatively, I could plot a lazy course into San Pablo Bay, or find the solitude of Angel Island. For evening entertainment, I may tack over to the docks of San Francisco’s City Front, where coincidently, a few of the world’s finest restaurants can be found. What makes Marina Bay unique? Well, it has a proud history. Some 70 years ago, the very spot under my keel was the Kaiser Shipbuilding Plant, turning out Liberty ships to support our forces in World War II. Today, the only reminders of its existence are occasional plaques in a serene waterfront park. I’m not alone in thinking the Bay is special. Very soon, thousands will come here to witness the world’s finest sailing, the America’s Cup Races.


Francis Bay, St. John, USVI Our mooring for the last 11 years has been in Francis Bay, St John, U.S. Virgin Islands, which is located at 18.4N,64.7W. The mooring is located in the quiet waters of the National Park so the only sounds are the wind and the boats swinging on the moorings. Although there are over 60 moorings in the bay, there are seldom more than 25 boats/day during the winter and sometimes just us in the late summer. The water is clear and warm at 75-85 degrees, the air temps are between 80-90 degrees, the trade winds are 15-20 knots in the winter and 10-15 knots in the summer. There is no fog, no tides (9″), line of sight sailing to countless spots to explore and snorkel on the North Shore of St John and the BVI. Sunsets can be spectacular, and during the summer we look for the elusive green flash as the sun sets into the water. It is our bit of paradise where we work on S/V Pepper, a St John Island Sloop. The turquoise waters with the lush green hills as a back drop against the blue tradewind skies make this our little piece of paradise.


Wareham River, Massachusetts Just around the corner from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, on the Wareham River is our waterfront property; our mooring. Convenience is a great amenity; we have access to local grocers, coffee shops, fuel, ice etc. Our mooring is in a well protected location and offers easy access to many of our sailing destinations. We have sailed our O’Day 22 from Maine to Rhode Island, but the adventures of sailing the historical waters on Buzzards Bay are endless. The Bay is also the gateway to our favorite harbors, a sail down through the southeast coast to Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay is an annual summertime vacation, another distant place of relaxation we like to sail to is Cuttyhunk Island. On our return home, (to our mooring) we take advantage of the prevailing south wind, set our sails, put in the waypoints Lat. N41’45’07/ long. W70’42’26 into our handheld GPS, and simply follow our coordinates to our home port. Our moored sailboat is also our weekend retreat; it’s enjoyed by friends and family and even our resident feathered-friends, the swans and geese, stop by on occasion for hand outs.

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