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Have You Tried Summer Sailing on the Coast of Maine?

Latitude 38‘s illustrious publisher is currently in Maine, where each year he catches up with family and friends and enjoys the contrasting sailing waters upon which he grew up. He sent us this ‘postcard’ …

We were lucky to grow up learning to sail on the coast of Maine and manage to get back each summer for an annual family reunion. This year is no different — almost. The pandemic oppression has lightened up, but not as much as hoped. Still, the coast of Maine remains an incredible place to sail in the summer.

Although we traveled 3,000 miles to the east, some of the West followed us, with smoke from the western states’ fires giving us a few extra-red sunsets and an AQI of about 150 on our second day after arrival.

Western smoke followed us east.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Fortunately, the NW winds returned to blow the smoke away. When the smoke cleared, the damp, lush East demonstrated the sharp contrast to the dry West. While the West has been baking, Maine has been experiencing a cooler, wetter summer, though still with enough sunshine for most summer visitors.

Maine Windsurfing
Crissy Field it is not. Former Latitude 38 intern Addison Tate stopped by for his first attempt at windsurfing in the benign conditions.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

Maine is typically calmer sailing, with daily southwesterly winds that show up most afternoons as the land heats up. But unlike the Central Bay, the winds are often 8-12 knots and might top out at 15 knots of warm, flat-water, summer breezes.

An afternoon family sail on Harpswell Sound on my my cousin’s Pearson 32, Voyager, is always a great time to visit and reconnect with family and friends.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / John

If you include the thousands of islands and inlets, the Maine coast is longer than the California coast, although its three-month summer season is far shorter. We consider ourselves lucky to enjoy the 12-month California sailing ‘season,’ while also fitting in a summer sailing escape to Maine. If you’ve never sailed Maine it’s worth the trip — as long as you come in the summer.

If you want to read more about Maine, take a look at Tim Henry’s account of his visit ‘over East’ in 2019: When West Meets East.


  1. David Cohan 3 years ago

    Our entire family heartily endorses your recommendation to try sailing in Maine! We have been lucky enough to spend all or large parts of 5 summers sailing and cruising in Maine (1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009) and loved it every time. We were typically based out of Bass Harbor, Southwest Harbor, or Northeast Harbor, all on Mount Desert Island, which our daughters still refer to as our family’s “home away from home.” We cruised as far east as Roque Island, and all the way down the Maine coast when heading south. Loved the sailing, islands, coves, small towns, local people, and, of course, lobster. We still miss it!

  2. Peter Bennett 3 years ago

    Maine is beautiful when you can see it. Many years ago we left SF and sailed thru the canal and up the east coast to Maine as my wife wanted to see LL Bean in person. Great trip but we ended up in Portland for over a week as the fog was so thick we could not see the bow of our boat.

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Enjoying the Channel Island Vibe
We were thinking about the summer weather and remembered the season's opening day, June 20, and the annual Summer Sailstice celebration that took place the same weekend.