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Old 10-07-2010
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Help needed in FL/NC from AK. :D

Sounds crazy I know. But, we have done a bunch of reading, spent the last couple months dingy sailing, read more posts on forums than I could possibly count, and our plans are getting more firm now. But, now we need your help, especially those out east. First, the plan...

We now both have jobs that will allow us to take significant time off in December, and well over a month in Summer, mid June - early Aug. We are planning to boat during that time in NC/Florida and later the Bahamas as our confidence increases.

Of course at first we did the usual drooling over big boats with lots of teak on deck, old shoe, bluewater capable (cause one day we might...). But, after reading many almost identical questions on the above, cooler heads have prevailed. Now we are thinking smaller, easier to sail, much cheaper to purchase and upkeep etc. The Catalina 27-28s, Ericson 28, etc seem the best way to go. It seems like we would be able to reasonably buy one for under 10k, with reserves left over. Thinking we would store it on the hard when out of state (advise here please).

But a dark reality has set in reading about folks shopping for boats. How long it takes. So, we are thinking that it will take LOTS more research, and help. Our first couple trips south may end up spent looking at boats and hanging out on the beach or other such fun. So this is where we need suggestions and help. We have a great friend in Ft Lauderdale who is a captain and can help.

So the thought is, get a list of boats we want to see on the internet etc. Plan to come down starting this December and look at them. Accept that we may (likely) won't find a boat and start again next summer. Is this even realistic?

You may be wondering, why would folks with such great sailing in Alaska want to go somewhere else. Think cold! We love Alaska, skiing, snowmachining (mobile in lower 48), winter camping, but after many years we need a couple months in the heat.

So our use would be almost entirely "boat camping" or that is how we see it. Sitting in a slip doesn't hold much interest for us at all. We would want to be out exploring, and heading in for supplies. We have a little girl, so a boat with a quarter berth would seem the way to go. We are used to all camping out of a very small trailer (those tiny teardrops) so are used to close quarters, but want us all to have our "space". We are both over 6' tall so we understand that bumped heads are likely in our future, but what boats are a tad bit taller?

So the questions; Is finding a boat in this manner realistic (we know it will be difficult).Specific boat suggestions and experiences? And, any suggestions on a good place to base out of with close access to beaches and allowable mooring/anchoring would be a bonus. And, would storing a boat on the hard be the best solution as we will be gone from it so much a year?

Sorry for the LONG post, but I see so many "help me pick a boat" threads that have no info on why/how/where it will be used.
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