Moving to Florida Gulf coast
My wife and I bought a retirement house last year in Cape Coral, Fl. We plan to move there in 2-4years. My only sailing experience has been onboard my friends 27ft. Catalina. (Midwest lakes) I completed the ASA basics sailing class which gave me some starters, and my friend has been teaching me a few more things. We are getting excited about moving to Florida. I have several questions (doesn't every newby) and was hoping some of you could share your opinions. Lets start with quesiton #1:
1. Type of Boat?
Sadly, my boat budget took a severe hit in the market crash of 2008. My wife says to keep the total under 25K. I do have cash...so that should help a little. However, it probably means buying an older boat and/or one that needs some TLC. I grew up on a farm and have some skills (mechanics, carpentry and even minor paint/body work). Keeping all of this in mind....what should I start look for in my first saiboat? usuage will primarily be coastal crusing, but as we gain confidence, I would really like to travel to the Keys and beyond. I have friends in the DR, St. Kitts, and even Trinidad. To do this I am thinking a study boat, designed for open water. I believe a 32 - 40 ft. LOA would best fit our size requirements. What are best boats/brands for the money? Sloop, cutter rigging, etc.? Draft...shoal, deep, centerboard or fixed? Best/worst engines? Optional equipment to look for? I think you get the idea? Also, where should I shop? I am willing to purchase anytime I find the right boat. It means paying for slip/storage, but then I could use vacations to get it ready? Or should I just wait until I move and start looking at that time? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. (tom)