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Wenham Lake, Beverly, Mass.Massachusetts is a paradise for sailors, boaters, rowers and paddlers of all kinds. While Massachusetts is one of the smallest states in the union, measuring just 190 miles from West to East, it boasts a coastline approximately 1,500 miles in length. Additionally, Massachusetts has over 3,000 lakes and ponds that are available for recreational use. Finally, there are 4,230 miles of rivers within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Yachting and sailing

Marina at Rocky Neck, Gloucester, Mass.Given its storied maritime history, it is no surprise that Massachusetts has long been a hotbed for sailing and yachting. The most famous yachting town is probably Marblehead, home to four clubs founded in the nineteenth century: the Eastern Yacht Club (1870), the Corinthian Yacht Club (1885), the Pleon Yacht Club (1887) and the Burgess Yacht Club (1894). When the Boston Yacht club relocated to Marblehead in 1902 it partnered with the Burgess Yacht Club to initiate the famous "Race Week," which established Marblehead as the "Yachting Capital of America" and continues today.

Annisquam Yacht Club, Gloucester, Mass.In addition to Marblehead, yacht clubs thrive in Gloucester, Danvers, Boston, Quincy, Plymouth, Hyannis, and dozens of other cities and towns along the Massachusetts coastline. Of course, one does not have to be a member of such a club in order to sail. There are thousand of sailors with boats at marinas and moorings all along the coast. Smaller sailboats abound on lakes and ponds and kids can learn to sail for free as part of the Community Boating program on the Charles River in Boston.

Untitled Poem

Lake Quannapowitt and lakeside, Wakefield, Mass.These balmy days I sail for sport
The Qwannapowitt sea,
Viewing old Reading on the port,
Fair Wakefield on the lee.
The Island Grove in sunset light
Looms beautiful and fair ;
The fire pines rear their stems of might,
Like turrets in the air.
Blow on free breeze, and bend the mast;
Fill strong the snowy sail;
Yachting on Lake Quannapowitt, Wakefield, Mass. The rudder-bands are sure and fast,
We court the northern gale.
Bear up, strong keel ! the eagle's wing
Flashes through glittering spray;
The golden stars in beauty swing
Above the watery way.

-- J.H.C.

Boating and fishing

Boats at Lake Quannapowitt, Wakefield, Mass.With over 3,000 ponds and lakes, canoeists, rowers, fishermen and power boaters have an array of options for practicing their crafts. Walden Pond may be the best known body of freshwater in Massachusetts. Its wooded location and easy access from urban and suburban communities makes it very popular for swimmers and fishermen. Of course, Henry David Thoreau has assured it place in American history and literature and, thus, in the imagination of the public at large.

Speed boat regatta, Lake Quannapowitt, Wakefield, Mass., 1929North of Boston, too, there are multitudes of lakes and ponds, not all of which are available for recreation. Some of the best known are, Wenham Lake, Chebacco Lake (Essex/Hamilton), Flax Pond (Lynn), Lake Quannapowitt (Wakefield), Pleasant Pond (Wenham), Sluice Pond (Lynn), Breed's Pond (Lynn) and Putnamville Reservoir (Danvers). The area's rivers are available for all forms of aquatic recreation. These include the Merrimack River, the Ipswich River, Essex River, Annisquam River, Mill River, Parker River, and the Saugus River.

Boating on the USMC pond, Beverly, Mass.Boating has never been limited to rural areas, of course. Residents have always taken advantage of recreational opportunities on sub/urban lakes and ponds. The recently reinvigorated "Shoe" Pond in Beverly, for example, on the site of the former United Shoe Machinery Corporation land (now the Cummings Center) was a popular locale for small boats.

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