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                                                                                     Ben Ho    Last Updated Oct 2009

When I started trailer-sailing over ten years ago, I found that there was very little published information to guide boaters like myself on such sailing destinations - what are the nice places to go, what type of facilities are available, etc. While the lack of information makes it more of a challenge for exploring and is part of the fun, I decided to start taking notes of the places I visited, so that others may use the information. The following is a summary of the places that I had actually launched my sailboat and had sailed in the area, with ratings based on four categories.

Benís Rating System

 Four areas that I feel are critical to a pleasant trailer-sailing-camping trip are rated:

     -         Boat Launch: including boat ramp and docking

     -         Suitability for Sailing

     -         Scenery

     -         Amenities in the area, such as parks, restaurant, shops

 

 The ratings are:

4 stars: Excellent; First class, as good as it can be.
3 stars:
Good: Above average.
2 stars: Fair: Passable.
1 star: Poor: Donít go there.

     Boat Launch Suitability for Sailing Scenery  Amenities Comments  
    Algonguin (Opeongo Lake) 4 3 4 4 This largest lake in Algonquin has stunning scenery, gorgeous camp sites, and first-class boat launch and facilities. Wind can be unpredictable. Downside (upside to some) - remoteness.  
    Barrie 4 3 3 4 Nice area, close to downtown, beautiful beach, great facilities. Appeal to those who prefer some civilization.  
    Baptiste Lake 2 3 3 2 Near the eastern edge of Algonquin, by Bancroft, this medium size lake is nice for staying at a local B&B or camp ground.  
    Bobcaygeon 2 3 3 2 Quaint little towns, miles of sailing offered by the many Kawartha Lakes which are inter-connected. Stay at one of the camping - lodges.  
    Calabogie Lake 2 3 3 2 This area is popular for boating and skiing in the winter. Stay at one of the nicer hotels and explore the nearby Ottawa area.  
    Couchiching (Lake) 2 2 2 2 If nothing else it's an interesting experience to sail in this area which is smack in the center of Trent-Severn Waterway boat traffic.  
    Elephant Lake 2 3 3 2 Connected to Baptiste Lake, this is nice for exploring for a couple of days. Lots of fish.  
    Eugenia Lake 1 2 3 2 This secluded little lake next to the better-known Eugenia Fall is good for a day-sail, on a nice fall-day on your way to the Beaver Valley. Bad ramp, only good for smaller boats.  
    Fairy Lake 3 3 3 3 One of the smaller Muskoka lakes, this is nice for staying at one of the fancy hotels nearby and enjoying prime cottage country.  
    Hamilton Harbour 4 4 3 4 Hamilton has done an excellent job in revitalizing the water front. There's always a lake breeze. Great facilities but it can get busy. Nice view, if you look at the right directions.  
    Honey Harbour 3 4 3 3 Take one of the private marinas to park your car and launch your boat. A short-cut to Beausoleil compared to Midland.  
    Kingston (Olympic Harbour) 3 4 3 4 Stay away from the tourist-busy downtown marina, and go to the Olympic marina to the west. Great facilities, lots of wind, wave condition can be challenging.   
    Killarney 2 4 4 3 Boat ramp in mid-town has some challenges. Once you sail beyond Killarney and towards North Channel, drop-dead beautiful Georgian Bay scenery comes into view. A must-go.   
    Killbear Park 1* 4 3 3 Water level has dropped so much over the years that most boat ramps are not operational. The one left is right by pounding surfs and jagged rocks. However the area is beautiful and wind is consistent. Nice park for camping - it's full year-round.  
    Long Point 2 3 3 2 This lonely finger of sand that jugs out into Lake Erie has its own rugged beauty. Tall grass, sand dunes, and Monarch butterflies. Avoid the hunting season.  
    Massasauga Park 2 3 3 1 Not a traditional provincial park, this looks big on the map but is a cottage-country area with a few patches of camp sites. Poorly designed boat ramp. Spartan facilities.  
    Midland 3 4 3 4 There's a OK boat ramp at the outskirt of town. Great launch-off point to go to Beausoleil. Severn Sound is a wonderful body of water for sailing. But watch for shoals and submerged rocks - bring a chart.  
    Oliphant 2 3 3 1 This area at the western shore of Bruce Peninsula is high-density cottage country, but the sheltered water dotted with islands, nice sunset, is worth exploring.  
    Rondeau Bay 2 2 2 3 This bay off Lake Erie near Chatham is popular for wind-surfing, but is mostly shallow and weedy and not good for dinghy sailing.  
    Port Severn 2 2 2 3 Once in a while you need to join the tourist crowd and not be a hermit. Stay at the 4-star hotel with their own dock. Avoid the powerboats - the Little Lake is right on the main boat lane.  
    Snug Harbour 3 3 3 2 At the western edge of Parry Sound, this part of Georgian Bay is in the 30,000 Island area and offers lots of sailing/exploring.  
    Toronto - Humber Bay 4 4 3 3 Back to civilization. Sail from here to Toronto downtown and see the dramatic backdrop of Toronto skyline. There's usually a lake breeze. Can get rough under strong onshore winds.  
    Toronto - Cherry Street/ Park 4 3 3 3 Another option to launch your boat to sail around Toronto.  
    Wiarton 3 3 3 2 Nice clear water, good for a day-sail.  

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