Southern Boating

Fairhope, Alabama

A Welcome Respite

Beneath sprawling moss-draped oaks with their seconds standing by as witness, two sailors from New Orleans marched off fifteen paces between each other and fired. The men were settling an “Affaire d’Honneur” from a perceived slight towards a young lady the previous evening at a post regatta ball on the grounds of the Grand Hotel at Point Clear. The year was 1852, and as the smoke from their black-powder pistols joined the early morning mist, both sailors were left standing and they agreed the affair was settled. The men then returned to their schooners anchored on the eastern shores of Mobile Bay long a destination for cruisers and racers, and today the arts colony of Fairhope is a jewel on those bluffs rising on the Alabama coast.

A welcome respite or starting point for cruisers traversing the Tombigbee River and the Great Loop, Fairhope is well known to “Loopers,” and the town is well appointed to serve transients. Easily located from the water by the historic Ecor Rouge or “Red Bluff” outcropping on the bay, this red clay cliff is the highest coastal point between Maine and Mexico and has been used by mariners as a navigational point since the first Spanish explorers plied these waters in the 1500s. Due south of Ecor Rouge is the channel to the entrance of the full-service Eastern Shore and Fly Creek marinas, as well as the Fairhope Yacht Club.