At the end of the day, however, we had to narrow our focus to those towns that stood out on the top of most everyone's list. You'll note, as one of my fellow editors did, that once we settled on our five, there wasn't anything south of the Mason-Dixon line. Now, this is by no means any disrespect to the south, which is teaming with excellent locales in Florida, New Orleans, Mississippi, and elsewhere. Yet, there's truth to the saying that the length of one's sailing season is inversely proportional to the passion of the sailing scene itself. Our five featured towns are vastly different, but share this one simple trait: the sailors in these towns know their seasons are short, so there's a palpable sense of importance to the racing. They get it while they can, and they get as much of it as possible. These towns are the pulse of American sailing.