A Rich History: Yachting on the Eastern seaboard

Yachting on the Eastern seaboard is a tradition that spans a century.


 The Marina at Yacht Haven Grande St. Thomas offers world-class amenities including side-to berthing for yachts up to 450 feet and can make special arrangements for ships that go beyond that restriction.

From the historic regattas at Newport and Antigua to the world’s largest boat show in Fort Lauderdale, there are plenty of reasons that the East Coast and the Caribbean draw the highest caliber yachts around. Here are some of the ports of call on the Eastern Seaboard that are worth a visit.

The Newport Yacht Club
Newport, Rhode Island

Few places are as synonymous with yachting as Newport, Rhode Island, known as the sailing capital of the United States. Since the 19th century, when illustrious names like the Vanderbilts and Whitneys began building summerhouses on the island, its long-established pedigree has made it a natural selection for boaters eager to be in the center of it all. The Newport Yacht Club hosts the town’s famous sailing cup each summer, making this a definite docking point on any sailor’s itinerary.

Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina
Montauk, New York

Montauk has long been considered the un-Hampton. With its laid-back surf town vibe and beachgrass studded dunes, it is where Hamptonites and Manhattanites come to truly get away from it all. Interestingly, it was not always like this. In fact, Montauk was the original destination of choice on the East End. Developed by Carl Fisher (who was responsible for turning Miami into the Magic City that we know today) in the 1930s, Charles Lindbergh made headlines when he flew his seaplane into the marina at Montauk. It was the summertime playground for the era’s industrial titans, with the Star Island Casino as one of the most popular speakeasies of the day. Montauk’s popularity can be credited with initially driving the Hamptons’ growth as a luxury destination.

Today, the Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina is upholding the longstanding luxury tradition, as the Island Global Yachting resort recently reopened after undergoing a multimillion-dollar makeover that has received rave reviews. The marina is touted as a haven for megayachts due to its 232-slip capacity, which can host 225-foot ships. The pilings and boardwalks have been revamped, and a full range of services and amenities are now available with complete in-slip hook-ups, leading Yachting magazine to bestow upon the marina the honored accolade of one of the “Top Ten Marina Destinations in North America, Mexico & the Bahamas.”

The Annapolis Yacht Club
Annapolis, Maryland

Less well known as a resort destination, but yet an important key stop for sailing and yachting enthusiasts, is Annapolis, Maryland. At 125 years old, the Annapolis Yacht Club is one of the oldest in the United States. What started as a simple canoe club today supports more than 1,500 members and hosts internationally renowned events such as the Star Class World Championship and Rolex International Women’s Keelboat Championship. In addition to serving as the gateway to the Chesapeake Bay, the port of Annapolis serves as an excellent jumping-off place for all points south.

Bahia Mar Beach Resort & Yachting Center

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale is an international capital for yachts and megayachts, hosting the world’s largest annual boat show. As such, the largest marina in Fort Lauderdale can be expected to boast some impressive qualifications. The 400-slip Bahia Mar yachting center opened in 1949 and was the largest marina at that time. In fact, Bahia Mar was ahead of its time and the addition of a restaurant in the 1950s paved the way for other resort amenities, including a fitness center, tennis courts, and swimming pools. Today, under the stewardship of LXR resorts, Bahia Mar is a 250-slip megayacht marina with 100 berths that can accommodate vessels measuring up to 250 feet. The marina is adjacent to seven miles of white sandy beaches, perfect for diving, windsurfing, and waterskiing.

Charleston City Marina
Charleston, South Carolina

Southern charm and award-winning design make this city marina one of the most popular in the South. Located in the historical section of downtown Charleston, the marina features 19,000 feet of linear dock space and covers 40 acres of water. In 2005, it was named the National Marina of the Year and this year, the Jack Nichol Award, which commemorates outstanding design, was bestowed upon the marina. The Megadock, the longest floating fuel dock on the Eastern Seaboard, debuted in 2003 and confirmed Charleston’s place on the East Coast roster of haute yacht spots.

Jolly Harbour

It comes as no surprise that the Caribbean is an extremely popular year-round destination for boats of all sizes. Antigua has a long-standing tradition of sailing and holds the Antigua Classic Regatta every year. Driven to a large degree by the popularity of the island as a boating hub, there are a number of notable marinas in Antigua. Jolly Harbour, acquired by the La Perla Group in 2006, features an 18-hole golf course, shopping, restaurants, and prime real estate. The marina is one of the Caribbean’s largest, located at the heart of the resort, with a special superyacht area devoted to yachts measuring up to 200 feet.

Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts
Turks and Caicos

In addition to St. Thomas, IGY is at the forefront of the yachting lifestyle on a number of other islands. On Turks and Caicos, the company teamed up with Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts to create an unprecedented partnership. This location of Nikki Beach is a resort and spa, but the name is synonymous with the Champagne-popping St. Tropez lifestyle that its clubs gave rise to in Miami, St. Barths and the Mediterranean. In addition to representing high-class hedonism, the Turks and Caicos property, which opened in 2008, is one of the world’s first eco-marinas.

Yacht Haven Grande

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Island Global Yachting has an impressive collection of marinas throughout the Caribbean but perhaps the most exciting of all is Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas. Located alongside the scenic Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, the spectacular facility encompasses a 48-slip megayacht marina complemented by 80,000 square feet of retail space, exciting dining and entertainment options, recreational amenities, and seaside residences. The Marina at Yacht Haven Grande St. Thomas offers world-class amenities including side-to berthing for yachts up to 450 feet and can make special arrangements for ships that go beyond that restriction. Safety and security are reinforced by 18-foot concrete docks and piers. Services include beautifully designed and appointed marina facilities dedicated for crew, owners, and guests including comprehensive nautical provisioning, catering, laundry, florist, and ships’ chandlery.