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The World's Best River Cruises For Superyachts

The World's Best River Cruises For Superyachts

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The St Lawrence

North America

If you think whale watching is only possible at sea, think again. On the St Lawrence River, whales can be spotted as far inland as Quebec City, Canada (in fact the white beluga whale is endemic to the area). The coastline along the northern side of the St Lawrence estuary is also known as the Whale Route because of the 13 species that can be seen, including the largest animal on the planet, the blue whale.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however, as the St Lawrence River – at 1,197 kilometres, the third longest in North America after the Mississippi and Mackenzie – is part of the larger St Lawrence Seaway. This allows yachts to travel from the Atlantic into the Great Lakes, the furthest point being the US city of Duluth, Minnesota on Lake Superior some 2,000 nautical miles away. This river system has few size restrictions – vessels up to 225 metres LOA can make the trek. The 115-metre superyacht Luna has been spotted here, and Northland, the recently launched 31.3-metre Burger, made her way through the seaway last year. “There are a lot of logistics to travelling through the seaway, but it is an amazing experience,” says Northland’s captain, Jeff Callahan. He recommends electronically pre-paying all your lock fees and arranging marina dockage ahead of time and warns that in the Gulf of St Lawrence, right whales are protected by a speed limit of 10 knots, which is strictly enforced.

The St Lawrence offers plenty of cultural interest, with the chance to stop off at vibrant cities such as Montreal and Quebec City and quaint waterfront towns. Man-made diversions abound, from Singer Castle on Dark Island to Tibbetts Point Lighthouse on Lake Ontario, and even golf at the prestigious Thousand Islands Country Club on Wellesley Island. Head ashore in Clayton, New York state, for a tipple at Coyote Moon Vineyards or the Wood Boat Brewery. Clayton is also home to the Antique Boat Museum, which boasts the largest collection of vintage vessels in America.

When to go: June to October, which is also whale-watching season.

What to know: AIS is required for all vessels of more than 100 tonnes and foreign-flagged yachts more than 35 metres LOA are required to have a pilot on board.

Who to contact: Premier Marine Services, premiermarineservices.com; or Debora Radtke at American Yacht Agents, captdeb@americanyachtagents.com

Picture courtesy of Getty Images.

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