Geneva & Seneca Lake sailing

Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Hello SBO Members,
I hope we have not lost our sense of reality, BUT we have sold our Oday 272LE here in Florida, and we are preparing to sell our home in Cape Coral, FL too. Our plan is to return home to PA and be closer to our family, BUT we are strongly considering the purchase of a vacation home in the city of Geneva, NY. That change would allow summer sailing on Seneca Lake.

(1) Do any of you have sailing experience on Seneca Lake (or the other Finger Lakes) that you can share?
(2) Have any of you lived in Geneva or the other communities in the Finger Lakes region?

If you prefer the SBO private message system I would enjoy hearing from you. If you answer on this forum I think the conversation would be acceptable as well.

Phil aka: 31seahorse
 
Jul 1, 2010
871
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
We live near Ithaca, and keep our sailboat at Treman Marina on Cayuga. I've never sailed on Seneca, but have power boated on Seneca (as well as Keuka, Skaneateles and a couple of the smaller lakes). The fingerlakes region of NY is a beautiful place to live, though I do question your sanity, as it's snowing, blowing, and 15 degrees here right now.

With 40 miles of length, and several miles wide, the sailing on Cayuga (and Seneca) is good. It can get a little boring, though. Since we're located in the south end of the lake, we can only head north from there. Wind is almost always north or south, so tack, tack, tack into the wind then turn and sail for home. There are few sheltered anchorages on either lake, so cruising from place to place doesn't really happen much for us...mostly day sailing. That said, the area is beautiful, the wineries, and craft breweries extensive and good. If you're into bike riding, and don't mind hills, that too is fantastic. We came up to the area to go to college in the 70's and never left, though we do plan to retire in warmer places.

To break up the sailing "boredom" we trailer our boat to other places. Lake Ontario, is fairly close and has fantastic sailing and great cruising destinations, especially in the northeast corner. Lake Champlain is one of our favorites, a perfect lake for cruising and sailing. We've also trailered up to the North Channel of Lake Huron, another great cruising destination. Sailing in places like these, spoils us. I think we'd be pretty content with Cayuga, if it weren't for these trips. Future trips to include Lake Huron again this summer, Lake Erie, somewhere on the Maine coast, and who knows where else. These destinations can also be reached via the canal system, but require lots of time, stepping and unstepping mast, etc. Trailering is relatively easy.

Good luck with your plans. Seneca is a pretty lake, and has very good water quality.
 
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Oct 13, 2013
182
Wayfarer Mark I GRP Chicago
Can't speak for the sailing aspect as I have never sailed but my grandparents lived on Keuka for 30+ years. I love the area and hope to go back one day. I have spent a lot of time power boating on that lake and the scenery never gets old if you ask me.

From Keuka like sesmith said Ontario isn't far and has some great towns. Check out Sodas Point - favorite place in the world.
 
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Aug 20, 2010
1,399
Oday 27 Oak Orchard
We live near Ithaca, and keep our sailboat at Treman Marina on Cayuga. I've never sailed on Seneca, but have power boated on Seneca (as well as Keuka, Scaneateles and a couple of the smaller lakes). The fingerlakes region of NY is a beautiful place to live, though I do question your sanity, as it's snowing, blowing, and 15 degrees here right now.

With 40 miles of length, and several miles wide, the sailing on Cayuga (and Seneca) is good. It can get a little boring, though. Since we're located in the south end of the lake, we can only head north from there. Wind is almost always north or south, so tack, tack, tack into the wind then turn and sail for home. There are few sheltered anchorages on either lake, so cruising from place to place doesn't really happen much for us...mostly day sailing. That said, the area is beautiful, the wineries, and craft breweries extensive and good. If you're into bike riding, and don't mind hills, that too is fantastic. We came up to the area to go to college in the 70's and never left, though we do plan to retire in warmer places.

To break up the sailing "boredom" we trailer our boat to other places. Lake Ontario, is fairly close and has fantastic sailing and great cruising destinations, especially in the northeast corner. Lake Champlain is one of our favorites, a perfect lake for cruising and sailing. We've also trailered up to the North Channel of Lake Huron, another great cruising destination. Sailing in places like these, spoils us. I think we'd be pretty content with Cayuga, if it weren't for these trips. Future trips to include Lake Huron again this summer, Lake Erie, somewhere on the Maine coast, and who knows where else. These destinations can also be reached via the canal system, but require lots of time, stepping and unstepping mast, etc. Trailering is relatively easy.

Good luck with your plans. Seneca is a pretty lake, and has very good water quality.
My Assistant Organizer Wayne is on Cayuga with his Hunter 30. He will be at Treman this season I believe. Look up BlowMeAway on this forum. Do consider joining us, it's free and you might just get a stampede of sailors to join you down there.
 
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Aug 20, 2010
1,399
Oday 27 Oak Orchard
Can't speak for the sailing aspect as I have never sailed but my grandparents lived on Keuka for 30+ years. I love the area and hope to go back one day. I have spent a lot of time power boating on that lake and the scenery never gets old if you ask me.

From Keuka like sesmith said Ontario isn't far and has some great towns. Check out Sodas Point - favorite place in the world.
I actually bought YOT out at Katelyn Marine in Sodus. Been out there many times. Great area with Fairhaven to the East and Oswego a bit further. Then across Mexico Bay to the Islands and what a paradise. Sodus offers great sailing if Ontario is throwing a fit and if you can hook up with sailors on the Finger Lakes you can always go sailing even if Ontario is being miserable. Lots of shifty winds down in those valleys to keep it challenging.
 
Jan 14, 2014
225
Newport Newport 28 Fair Haven, NY
I'll echo sesmith's sentiments regarding the finger lakes, as I've been in exactly the same. My uncle has a place on Cayuga halfway up so I've always grown up around the lake through the summers, and brought my boat to Treman the year before last for my first season of ownership and sailing. While I can't remember having even one bad weekend, there really is only so far you can go in a weekend, and back. There are some good wind days, and then there are days that it seems to go away. If memory serves from way back, Seneca can seem to sometimes have a little brisker wind patterns than Cayuga, but that might just be my brain remembering incorrectly. But we used to go on both with my dad in his Mac 25 when we were little. I remember a lot of great times, and especially with lots of little places along the way. Even if you don't end up on the water, there are lots of great places to visit in either way, Ithaca, Watkins Glen, the trail, and more. Some places even have dockside availability to sail into for lunch, or drinks.

My boat originally came from Geneva, actually, and was a nice little town to be around while I was working on my boat that winter getting ready. I imagine it's even better in season, in full swing. I do remember watching the water from there, and looked like lots of great sailing, even though I took through the Canal and down Cayuga for my year. Can't really go wrong in the finger lakes, and depending on the boat you get, you are still only a couple hours further from Ontario or many other great destinations, be it over the road via trailer, or even taking time off to drop the mast and go through the canal which has a lot of great stops along the way.
 
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Aug 2, 2005
1,126
Pearson 33-2 & Typhoon 18 Seneca Lake
Thank you, Captains for the responses. For a while I thought most of the Finger Lakes sailors were frozen stiff since there was only one response. I'm glad to hear your thoughts on the wind, weather, sailing options, and the area in general. Just what I hoped for.....again, SBO Members prove themselves knowing and helpful participants. :clap:

We signed the registration over to the new owners yesterday. I took them out sailing 4 times in the past weeks, and it has been great to see their excitement and enthusiasm. Of course, they are young....late 30s to mid 40s!

Our trip to the Finger Lakes area will be late March to maybe mid April. We are looking at properties online and find 85% of them WAY out of our financial comfort zone.

Respectfully, 31seahorse
 
Jul 1, 2010
871
Seaward 25, Catalina 350 Erie, Pa
Cost of living here isn't cheap, for sure, but not downstate expensive either. If you are looking for a place on the water, you will pay a premium. Also do some research on the property tax costs, so you don't have any surprises there. Further from the main villages, real estate will be more reasonable, but access to cheap, natural gas heat will be non-existent. Just be wary in your search, as there is a lot of older housing stock in the area. Unless it's had a lot of upgade and insulation work, fuel costs for winter heat can be huge on an older place up here. Do come up when the weather gets nice. I'm sure you'll want to stay (at least, until winter).
 
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Aug 20, 2010
1,399
Oday 27 Oak Orchard
We are looking at properties online and find 85% of them WAY out of our financial comfort zone.
Most definitely avoid waterfront like sesmith says. Go inland a few miles and the prices are way more reasonable. The taxes and cost of living are high in NY compared to many places but the real estate is actually cheap in comparison. Good luck in your search. The Finger Lakes region is a real gem.