I agree with others that the 3rd pic is great!
I shoot a lot of racing sailboats and have found that unless it's really overcast, the following settings really help: ISO 800, f8 aperture priority, spot focus and spot meter. The ISO ensures that the speed will be at least 1/1000sec. The f8 ensures that the image will be within a depth of field envelope that will result in focus. The spot focus ensures that you are getting the intended target and not some random nearby boat etc. The spot meter very importantly ensures that the boat, jet ski, whatever that is the main subject will be properly exposed and not influenced by a lot of water or sky or sail mass. I have found that those settings get me very close and shooting RAW and processing in LR lets me tweak it even closer if necessary. I hope these ideas will give you the basis for some experimentation which you can then tailor to your specific situation.
A great advantage of Canon printers is that they have U.S. based (Virginia) free technical support. I have always found their people to be polite and helpful and they answer the phone in a reasonable time.
I did that cruise many years ago on a Navy destroyer. The river is absolutely beautiful. Plan on spending a lot of time outdoors enjoying it.
The baseball players are probably a little closer than the bears and whales in Alaska. It's too short. Won't work.
I have a Nikon 7000. A few years ago I was in Alaska on a friend's boat in many places where bears, whales, and goats hung out. My 80-200mm zoom was not nearly enough. I had a 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverter along but they really sucked up the light and were not too sharp on top of that. Images were too small to solve by cropping. I have since bought a Tamron 18-400 zoom which works really well for many other venues. I'm not sure if 400mm on a cropped camera is enough for your purposes but it would be much better than what I had on my trip. If you'll be near a city with air service for a few days you might look into renting something long for a week. Cost would obviously be much less than buying especially if you didn't like it. The next time I go, I will definitely rent.
Jcam's images are beautiful! Hopefully between his ideas, mine, and all the others you can solve your issues and become more and more proud of your sailing shots. Once you implement a few ideas that make a dramatic change then you can do other experimentation that will fine tune things as you develop your own routine.
I shoot a lot of racing sailboats. Before changing lenses I would suggest the following: Set ISO to 800. Aperture priority at f8, auto white balance, center weighted exposure, auto focus tracking, continuous high speed shutter release, back button focusing. ISO 800 and f8 will give you a depth of field with a worthwhile margin of error to have the main subject in focus and will yield a shutter speed typically between 1/1000 and 1/8000 sec. 1/1000 is the absolute minimum to deal with a moving subject, a moving photo boat and camera shake. Unfortunately f8 will not blur any distracting backgrounds but it is much more important to have your subject in focus regardless of the background. As you gain experience, you can experiment with lowering f stop slightly. Unless you are planning wall sized posters don't worry about ISO being above 100 or 200. Center weighted exposure will ensure that your exposure is not being overly influenced by white boats and white sails. By all means shoot in RAW so you can adjust whatever is necessary in post. Typical adjustments might include shadows, overall exposure, highlights, more blue in vibrance to accentuate water and sky, certainly sharpening and perhaps camera vivid. For composition, keep in mind that most viewers have seen pictures of sailboats. The attention grabbers are tight shots of PEOPLE in ACTION although a few overall shots including the top of the mast are good to set the stage You'll get the attention grabbing tight shots at mark roundings. Assuming you're a sailor, anticipate where the action will be and shoot in bursts of 4 or five. Your keeper ratio will go down but your absolute number of keepers will go up dramatically. Shooting bursts, 100 shots to yield 5 or ten keepers is a great success. Have a memory card with at least 32gb. Weather mark roundings yield the most action shots. Station yourself above the mark to get tight shots including eyeballs as the boats approach on starboard tack and then round. If there are spinnakers being used you can get some wider shots with spinnakers set and boats moving downwind after the mark rounding. Every set of regatta pictures should include the start. Be a little to windward of the pin end of the starting line and outside where the fleet will make its first tack to port. Shoot horizontal and include mast tops. You won't get any eyeballs from that location but you will get the typical starting shot with all sails drawing. Try a few shots from the committee boat end and you'll see what I mean. They are not typically as interesting as from the pin end. Shots form the leeward mark rank next in terms of typical interest. Be downwind of the mark but in range of your 300mm long end to get wide and tight shots. Finish line shots are usually boring. Get ahold of Sharon Green's and Onnne Van der Waal's books and look at their composition. The images are so beautiful that you may have my reaction and consider throwing your camera overboard. If you follow the above suggestions your images hopefully will be clearer and more interesting. If blur is still a problem, have your lens checked. After all the above if you are still motivated to get another lens, you might consider my Tamron 18-400mm. Sharp enough for me and I love the range to get tight action shots.
I have a Nikon 7000 and tried bbf for the first time last weekend after several articles and books written by credible people recommended it, particularly for action shots. I shot a regatta with small sailboats racing while I was on another boat. (That's another but related issue of shooting boats bobbing up and down from another boat bobbing up and down). I agree with the person who said you have to train your brain and there were a few times when I was still trying to press the shutter button half way. That said, bbf was a great help for continuous focus and had the added benefit of the bbf encouraging me to shoot bursts rather than single shots. My keep rate fell shooting bursts (delete several for 1 keeper) but my total of good images went up significantly shooting bursts. I don't care about keeper percentage but I do care about getting the greatest absolute number of good images. Obviously bursts would not have worked without continuous focus and the bbf made continuous focus MUCH easier. I'm a believer
I have had one for about 6 months and use it with a Nikon 7000. I love it. I really love my Nikon 80-200 2.8 but for many things the short end of that lens is too long and the long end is too short. When I was about to pull the trigger on the Tamron, I spoke to B&H and they encouraged me to take advantage of their 30day return if I didn't like it. I'm not prone to buy something like that with the thought of returning it but since I was pretty sure I would like it I went ahead. It covers all my focal length desires, is light and produces images with which I'm very pleased. I have recommended it to several friends.
I have a G9x. When you press the shutter release half way down it clears the screen and you're ready for the next shot. Perhaps the suggestion to turn off image review would speed things up a little. I'll experiment but I think I like the ability to review the previous shot if desired.
As the father of two brides, I found it very helpful to walk the venue with the bride, groom, and prospective photographer as the last part of the selection process. We discovered in two cases that the prospective #1 choice had shot the location previously and the walk produced discussions of the couples likes, dislikes, and expectations in specific settings. Obviously the time spent together helped to evaluate the chemistry between all parties. The process eliminated one candidate who had not worked the venue, to whom my daughter was attracted because of the "look" of his work. We became aware that his intention would have been to fit her wedding into his formula with little accounting for the couple's uncovered desires.
The most important thing to learn about Lightroom is their phone number for help: 800 833 6687. I've used the help line a lot and it has saved much frustration. It is definitely worth the effort.
If by any chance you are a veteran they will give you a 10% military discount. They don't go out of their way to let people know but will give it if you ask and show some ID.
1t external. Should have bought larger.
VR on. ISO whatever necessary to get a shutter speed of at least 1/1000. You haven't said what the subject will be. If it is something that moves constantly or rapidly then increase shutter speed even more. Give yourself enough depth of field to ensure that a moving subject shot from a moving platform is within the focus envelope at the moment that the shutter fires. Experiment with short bursts if there are only limited opportunities to capture the image.