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International Cruising Boat Expo at Essex Features 'The Other Great Loop'

Author Cheryl Barr of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, has written the definitive guide to what she calls the Down East Circle Route; which includes some of North America’s most historic and spectacular destinations.

There's another "Great Loop" you know, and this one includes New England. Author Cheryl Barr of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, has written the definitive guide to what she calls the Down East Circle Route. This beautiful cruise through idyllic waterways includes some of North America’s most historic and spectacular destinations, including Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (shown above). The route, the kind of boat that you need and how to prepare for the trip will be explained in detail at the International Cruising Boat Expo in Essex, Connecticut, in June.

 Captain Cheryl Barr

Captain Cheryl Barr

Cruising Boat Expo, an event in the tradition of PassageMaker magazine's TrawlerFest series,will be held June 2-7, at Brewer Essex Island Marina. Barr's "Downeast Circle Route" seminar will be presented Friday, June 5, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

(The boat show part of the Expo, which will features dozens of new and used power cruisers and sailboats runs Thursday, June 4, through Sunday.)

Barr's cruising slideshow will take you from New York City up the Hudson River and Erie Barge Canal to the St. Lawrence River. Cruise with Captain Barr along these beautiful inland waterways to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula, through the spectacular Canadian Maritimes and into the Gulf of Maine. Cheryl’s book covers it all and her lecture will excite you with all the cruising potential that the Canadian Maritimes have to offer.

Here's what Esther Pope of Soundings magazine had to say about Barr and her book:

After a frustrating, often wind-against-tide cruise down the St. Lawrence River in 2001 with no guidebooks, Capt. Cheryl Barr decided to write her own. “A Complete Cruising Guide to the Down East Circle Route” follows a 2,400-mile clockwise cruise from New York City to the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence River, through the Canadian Maritimes, then south along the New England coast.

 Click to see seminar options and buy tickets.

Click to see seminar options and buy tickets.

"The Down East Circle is great for both experienced and entry-level cruisers. Any sound yacht equipped for Intracoastal Waterway cruising can do it,” says the 47-year-old Canadian, who holds a Yachtmaster certificate from the Royal Yacht Sailing Academy on England’s Isle of Wight.

After research cruises aboard Road to the Isles — a 62-foot steel Herreshoff schooner she and her father built — and Marita — a 50-foot custom Jack Gilbert-designed power yacht — she compiled her findings. “When I made my first Down East Circle cruise, no one knew anything about that route,” Barr says.

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Her book contains harbor and navigation information, charts, current and tide data, and short articles about the region’s wildlife, historical sites and geology. “I wrote whatever I thought would pep up a navigation guide, which tends to be dry,” she says. “My second edition includes waypoints, more harbor and navigation information, and better charts, tide and current tables. Some improvements were suggested by cruisers, dozens of whom have made the circuit.”

Barr initially sold her books at boat shows, including PassageMaker magazine’s Trawler Fest, and from the trunk of her car. Eight years later, most sales are through her Yacht Pilot Publishing website (, fueled by word of mouth, blogs, seminars and magazine articles.

Most Circle cruisers agree with Bill and Judy Rohde of Bayfield, Wis., who blogged about their trip.

“We continue to make heavy use of our ‘bible,’ Capt. Cheryl Barr’s outstanding book, ‘Down East Circle Route,’ ” they wrote. “Don’t even consider making this trip without it on board.”

To aid those wishing to expand their cruising into the Bras d’Or Lake and Newfoundland waters, Barr painstakingly researched her home waters and published “A Cruising Guide to the Canadian Maritimes” in 2006.

Barr was smitten by the sea at age 7, when her family rebuilt a tired wooden “Newfie” schooner in Nova Scotia and cruised the Caribbean for several years. She has sailed the waters of the U.K., Australia, Caribbean and Canada. In the mid-1980s she trekked through Australia and Southeast Asia and later backpacked through the South Pacific islands.

For information about the International Cruising Boat Expo call 954.703.4789 or email us at