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  #1  
Old 03-20-2006
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evogel is on a distinguished road
BEST Sailing in Florida for possible relocation from New England

My husband and I have been sailing for about four years in New England from Bal Harbor in ME to Newport in RI. We have a great time and take at least one long trip each summer. We are considering moving to Florida and would like to know where are the best sailing locations there so we can look into possible locations to live. Any suggestions would be welcomed. We sailed in Tampa last week but did not find the coast as charming as in New England. I guess we are spoiled with so much to do up north but only six months out of the year.

Thanks,

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Old 03-20-2006
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h20ski is on a distinguished road
Biscayne Bay has great sailing but is certainly not charming. but you would be close to the Keys for some great, longer trips.
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Old 03-20-2006
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Tampa has the best sailing community it seems. The keys are great IF you have a shallow (4-4.5') draft and can get around inside. Biscayne Bay is great if you like having a great big city nearby....but the best place for sailboats is about 50 miles east in the Bahamas!
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Old 03-21-2006
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We sail out of Harbor Town Marina in Merritt Island. We have great access to either the Atlantic or the ICW. Our portion of the ICW on the St. John's river is very wide and fairly deep. If you are less than 6' draft you can sail quite a ways out of the channel and not have to worry about depth. As long as you are sailing South, the bridges are all fixed at 65' for quite a ways down. There are also a lot of spoil islands to explore. For summer day sailing, though, we prefer the Atlantic. Port Canaveral is an easy inlet to transit with just one easy lock and a draw bridge - there is not much current at all in the inlet. It is really fun to go out past all the big cruise ships, gambling ships and even the occasional submarine. The water is beautiful turquoise blue and there is good fishing about 5+ miles out. Along the coast it is shallow enough (20-25') that you can drop a hook for lunch, clean your bottom and watch the dolphins and rays jump out of the water. I don't know that it would meet your "quaintness" requirement - but we love the sailing here.
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Old 03-21-2006
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i would definately recommend southwest florida. although i am just getting into sailing myself, i grew up on boats around here. If you don't mind living in the big city (which i hate) then fort myers is great because it so central to everything. You have the caloosahatchee river right here, and just north of that is the charlotte harbor, which offers boca grande, punta gorda, englewood.... Closer to us we have the outer isalnds of captiva, sanibel, cayo costa....

its really beautiful, and when there aren't millions of gallons of Lake O freshwater being dumped, the water can look so green you feel you are in the florida keys.

if fort myers is not the place for you, there are smaller towns just north, which is where i am moving to in the next year. Englewood, Venice, Nokomis, and Punta Gorda are all great, as well as Pine Island. As you get a little north of here, the entire area of Sarasota is just as great for sailing.....

Good luck!!
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Old 03-21-2006
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Forgot to mention.....

You are right about Tampa. Of all the cities in Florida, it is the least appealing to me. St Pete and Clearwater are great but Tampa is just all around unattractive.

Also, I would recommend staying away from Naples. If you are looking for a retirement area with lots of rich northerners then its great. But other than that, stay away. Very rich and snobby. Not a fun place.

Basically, anything and everything between Tampa and Naples is what I would recommend as the best place to live/sail in all of Florida!!
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Old 03-24-2006
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best florida sailing

The best sailing close to Florida is New England.
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Old 04-06-2006
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Ft Lauderdale is the only place you can find housing and dockage with out being a millionair. If you got it then come here to the Keys $350.000 will buy you a dock and thats all just the dock. check out www.waterfrontnews.com check the classifieds for Miami and Lauderdale and places in between the sailing is great deep water of Lauderdale and allot of boats. They call Ft Lauderdale the Venice of America my home for twenty six years. I lived on the New River which is changing very quickly.
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Old 04-07-2006
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my two cents

Having sailed the Florida west coast for about fifteen years, I'd have to say the nicest area is Charlotte Harbor. There aren't necessarily the most jobs there, though (which explains why I don't live there). If you're not looking to retire, you might check out the Tampa and Sarasota areas. I know what you're saying about Tampa. A lot of people feel the same way. But the south end of Tampa Bay (below the Sunshine Skyway Bridge) is beautiful, and as others have pointed out, there is a very strong sailing community in St. Pete.

Personally, I think that where you prefer to live is more important than where you decide to keep your boat. Find a place that you like, and the sailing the will follow. Everyone has their favorite area. But the truth is that if you keep your boat anywhere from St. Pete to Ft. Myers, you'll have lots of excellent options for sailing and cruising. If you want to get a better idea of your options, check out two good guides, Clairborne Young's "Cruising Guide to Western Florida" (the "Bible" of cruising for this region--hands down), and a little book called "A Guide to Anchorages in Southwest Florida" by a group called the Boaters Action and Information League (BAIL). Both are available on-line.

Good luck and happy cruising.
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Old 02-06-2014
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Re: BEST Sailing in Florida for possible relocation from New England

wavinback (and others),

I would love to sail in Charlotte Harbor, but there are no bareboat charters available there. Any idea how to rent a 30-34 foot boat in that area?

The closest place I could find is Sarasota bay. I only have 2 days to sail, so will I reasonably have time to get to Charlotte Harbor and back? I have a wife and 3 kids (one of whom is good enough to co-captain), and I want to show them a really nice time, great views, fun sailing, maybe a hike or two, a swim or two, perhaps dropping a fishing line, etc.

My sense is that 2 days isn't quite enough to get down and back to Charlotte Harbor and still have time to explore the harbor. So what's a good 2nd-best option for a 2-day bareboat charter in SW Florida?

Is Sarasota Bay a good option, or would you recommend St. Pete instead? I'll be based out of Siesta Key for the week, but only 2 days to sail, so I could drive an hour north to St. Pete and sail out of there to Tampa Bay area (dodging commercial traffic, from what I hear, no?). Any recommendations for a 2-day route from St. Pete?

One good options is to rent out of Sarasota, sailing in Sarasota Bay for a while, anchoring at Mar Vista for the night, heading out to the gulf via Longboat Pass to experience a bit of gulf sailing, and then back into the bay through Longboat Pass. I worry a bit that the kids might be antsy doing nearly 16 hours (8 hours x 2 days) of sailing around the bay without much in the way of islands and coves to explore.

What are your recommendations?
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