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Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

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Toronto, ON
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Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

We are planning a week's stay near Gananoque, and hope to visit many islands and towns in the Thousand Islands region. We'd hoped to rent a sailboat, either for a day or possibly for a chunk of our stay (since dock space is available where we are staying). While I've found many places that rent kayaks, canoes, and powerboats, sailboat rentals don't seem readily available. Are there any? Or are the waterways inhospitable to sailing? Perhaps it is too rocky or the winds are too unpredictable for sailing to be popular there?

Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

Hi Nevarco,

Welcome to the GANANOQUE (1000 Islands Region) TRAVEL FORUM

And I see that you are NEW to the TA FORUMS… so a BIG Welcome Aboard as well !!

Cuising, Boating, and Sailing (along with many other water pursuits) are indeed popular activities in the 1000 Islands.

But as you’ve guessed navigation here can be a bit tricky… a combination of the winds, waters and rocky shoals… and the fact that water in the 1000 Islands by nature isn’t very deep to begin with… and it really isn’t a spot for amateurs !!

Consequently… not a lot of Sailboat Rentals happening in the region.

I know of two companies that do rent out boats…

For the “well seasoned” sailor Kingston Sailing Charters can do a bare-boat charter on the “Virgin Gorda” a Nonsuch 30 Ultra fully equipped and ready to go.

Kingston Sailing Charters = www.kingstonsailingcharters.com/index.php

While other less experienced sailors can find a wide variety of sailing experiences at Ahoy Rentals (also in Kingston) with everything from personal small sailing vessels (perfect for a day upon the water) thru to Skippered Sailings (Day Trips – Picnics – Sunset Sails) and Bare-Boat Charters on vessels 26 to 30 foot range.

Ahoy Rentals = http://www.ahoyrentals.com/

In addition to sailing rentals… there are also several companies in the 1000 Islands Region that do all sorts of other boat rentals as well (Canoes – Kayaks – Fishing Boats – Pontoon Boats – Day-cruisers - Cuddies – and Houseboats). If you need more info on that, just ask.

*NOTE - the 1000 Islands Region is a large area... Kingston thru to Cornwall (aprox 175 Kms)... although the core region is Kingston thru to Brockville (aprox 80 Kms)... You'll want to bare this in mind if you plan to take on a bare-boat charter... could be a lot of distance to cover to get the boat back at the end of the rental term.

Hope this is helpful,

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

Edited: 05 July 2011, 11:28
Toronto, ON
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2. Re: Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

Thanks for the terrific info! I should have specified we're talking about small sailboats, 16-20' range. I had found Ahoy but nothing else - perhaps that's the full extent of the options! The place we're staying (Misty Isles) used to have a sailboat in their rental fleet, but sold it last year due to underuse.

We're both experienced sailors, and decent navigators, but perhaps treacherous and unfamiliar waters means we should confine our sailing to a day in Kingston where I'm guessing it's opener than up on the river. We'll save most of our sailing appetite for later in the summer when we'll be up on the Georgian Bay, where a sailboat is available with the cottage (Forest Harbour Cottages).

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

Hi Nervarco,

You are very welcome… glad to help.

As someone who loves the 1000 Islands, and spends a good amount of time there… I would agree that the two areas (Kingston & Gan) are quite different… infact many say that the Frontenac Islands found around Kingston aren’t true 1000 Islands in the pure sense… the Frontenac Group are dominated by farmland while the Islands found farther to the east are clearly dominated by rock… (lol, an island in the 1000 Islands definition means it must be above the water line 365 Days a year, and able to support 2 trees… on some islands the latter proves to be the big challenge).

Still all the same, both areas are very nice in their own right. I’d suggest that with a good amount of time in the region, that you should explore all the options you can !!

Sailing off of Kingston for a day would be lovely… and getting out into the St Lawrence either on one of the local cruises (highly recommend Gananoque Boat Lines or Rockport Boat Lines) to see the islands OR better yet, renting a day-boat or taking a charter (many resorts offer them)… is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Because seeing the 1000 Islands by water, is truly the absolute best experience !!

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

PS… Do us a BIG Favour… and when your holiday is over come back and give us a bit of an UPDATE on how you made out (and if you rented anything)… could go a long way to helping out other boaters.

As well… I’d love to hear more about Misty Isles… I drive past it frequently, but have never stayed or done a “DE Visit”… so learning more from a TA Member that I’ve chatted with here in the FORUM could be worthwhile.

PPS... If you are looking for a night out with nice views and good food... check out The Ivy Restaurant at the nearby Ivy Lea Club. This hidden "gem" is a great spot for either casual fare on the lower patio, or finer cuisine in the Dining Room or on the Back Porch (dress in the DR is smart casual... patio anything goes).

Edited: 05 July 2011, 16:03
Toronto, ON
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4. Re: Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

Thanks! Will definitely try the Ivy Restaurant, sounds like a great find so nearby.

And yes, we'll be seeing the area from the water even without the sailboat. Planning to do the Gananoque boat tour, plus a kayaking tour and probably some independent kayaking or canoeing in the local vicinity.

Thanks for your amazing help, in this thread and many others I've been reading. Makes the trip seem much more "real" to hear all these details!

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

Hi Nevarco,

Thank you for your kind words...

Here are some other local spots I much enjoy in the region...

KINGSTON

*Parks Canada Bellevue House (a National Historic Site) - The former of Sir John A Macdonald when he was an up & coming Lawyer and Politician in Kingston... a pretty spot with Parks Canada Interpreters in the summertime... really gives some insight into the man and how much of a visionary he was all the while "battling bouts of binge drinking" (although when you hear the stories of his tragic personal life... it is easy to see why on occasion he turned inward to the bottle for comfort and to "forget" the pain) = www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/bellevue/index.aspx

*Old Fort Henry (St Lawrence Parks Site) - Especially so if you can catch the Sunset Ceremonies or one of the Tattoos = www.forthenry.com

*Wolfe Island – Take the FREE Ferry from Kingston across to Wolfe Island in the middle of the St Lawrence River at the mouth of Lake Ontario. The Ferry will give you great views of Kingston… and Old Fort Henry… remember to bring your camera. Drive around it as it is an interesting spot (especially the windfarm)… the Island is also home to Don Cherry… lol, probably Kingston’s most famous resident after Sir John A.

*Kingston Waterfront - Always a happening spot. Several Festivals throughout the summer... and ships that anchor in from around the world... July & August you might catch sight (or have a chat) with a "Looper" who is sailing the Great Loop around North America... from the Intracoastal Waterways of the East Coast up from Florida, thru Canada's major Rivers, Canals & Great Lakes... till they make their way southward again thru the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico (fascinating stuff)

Tourism Kingston = http://tourism.kingstoncanada.com/en/

GANANOQUE

*1000 Islands Playhouse = www.1000islandsplayhouse.com

*Stonewater Pub (formerly Paddy’s Pub) = Decent music on the weekends… this whole in the wall spot is a Gan favourite for light-hearted fare and entertainment http://www.paddyspub.com/

1000 ISLANDS PARKWAY

*Think about renting bikes (your resort may even have some)… the parkway is a great place to peddle.

*Take drive… this is afterall considered one of the prettiest drives in Canada. Bring your camera… you can stop at any of the many turn-offs… or anywhere else you please as long as you pull your car well off the road.

Wikipedia – 1000 Islands Parkway = …wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand_Islands_Parkway

*Smugglers Glen Golf Course = www.smugglersglen.com

*1000 Islands Skydeck – found on Hill Island… you can get there by taking the exit off the Parkway for the 1000 Islands Bridge near Ivy Lea. The Skydeck is on your left after you pass over the first bridge (you`ll still be in Canada). The combo of the Bridge and the Skydeck are a great way to get a whole other perspective of the 1000 Islands from above = http://www.1000islandsskydeck.com/home.php

*Mallorytown Landing (Parks Canada – St-Lawrence Islands National Park) – Primarily a boat launch to the ISLANDS of the St Lawrence National Park… it does have some interesting interpretive displays, and hiking trails.

*Browns Bay (St Lawrence Parks Site) – Gorgeous large trees (nice shade on a hot sticky day)… nice picnic area and an amazing view (that is Singer Castle out there). Also the only Day-Use Park along the 1000 Islands Parkway that offers up a Beach… there is also an interesting old-fashioned stone Seawall.

ROCKPORT

*Stop in for a pint at Cornwall’s Pub… a friendly spot with great casual food and cold beers (and decent wines)… and depending where you sit… a decent view of the comings and goings on the water (including their neighbour Rockport Boat Lines)

*Take a walk around the village... you'll find lots of scenic nooks & crannies, and some park benches with fabulous views !!

BROCKVILLE

*Buds on the Bay for cold beers and a view of the River off the top deck

*Keystone Pub for cold beers and a bit of history

*Don’s Fish & Chips – Probably the best Fish & Chips in all of Eastern Ontario!! They make them the old fashioned way, and serve them up in newsprint. They have take out only… there are picnic tables at nearby Blockhouse Park (see below)

*Check out Blockhouse Park (across the Marina from Buds on the Bay… entrance is near the Railway Tunnel)… The Park isn’t much, but it does jut out into the River… so it can be a great spot to view of the comings and goings on the River… and one spot where the Big Ocean-going Ships (Lakers) pass nearby… lol, you’ll see lots of folks just sitting and watching / waiting with binoculars for just this reason.

EAST OF BROCKVILLE

The St Lawrence Seaway Valley (spans from Montreal to Brockville)… and primary spots along the way include… St Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre (Cornwall) - The Lost Villages (Ault Park) - St Lawrence Parks (Long Sault Parkway ~ Nice Campgrounds & Picnic Areas) – St Lawrence Parks (Upper Canada Village) – Great Lakes-St Lawrence Seaway (Iroquois Lock).

RIDEAU CANAL & WATERWAY

The Historic Rideau Canal runs just over 200 Kms from Kingston thru to Ottawa. The majority of the Locks and most interesting small towns and villages along the way, can be easily accessed via Hwy 15 (the Rideau Heritage Route) just north of Kingston. Besides offering up the opportunity to see a bit of history, beautiful scenery and again some pretty boats… Parks Canada has nice facilities at each Lock for Picnicking.

My personal faves heading out of Kingston within a short drive would be… Jones Falls – Chaffeys Lock – Davis Lock – and “The Narrows”. All being well marked… and anywhere from 2 Kms to 10 Kms off of Hwy 15 (NOTE – to get to “The Narrows”… one has to turn-onto Hwy 42 and then make an immediate right onto Hwy 14 ~ Narrows Lock Road).

If you have time for further explorations… the Villages of WestportPortland – and Merrickville are lovely (one can make a loop in that Merrickville sits directly north of Brockville).

--- --- ---

You can find info on the St Lawrence Seaway Valley and the Rideau Canal & Waterway… elsewhere here on TA.

But as always… if you need any further info, just ask.

Cheers!

Wine-4-2

6. Re: Sailing in the Thousand Islands area

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