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  #1  
Old 01-24-2007
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Recommended cities for transitioning to cruising

I have become obsessed with the idea of cruising for several years now. From reading many of the posts, it seems like the best way to make the transition is to live in a city where I can buy a boat, work on it, fix it up, etc.

I'm currently living in Minnesota, which probably isn't the best place to be staging a cruise. My question is what cities might you recommend?

I'm 28 and single, so it would be nice to have somewhat of a younger city with activities and the potential of meeting other folks my age.

Some thought I've had:
Southern California: would be great except the cost of living would really cut into the amount I could save for the cruising kitty.

St. Petersburg, FL area: Don't know much about this area as a city. Would I want to live there?

Jacksonville

Carolinas?

Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2007
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Costwise, you'd be better off in North Carolina. Galveston Bay is also an inexpensive place with Houston right near by.
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Old 01-24-2007
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Epic...what kind of work do you plan on doing as only "grunt" type labor jobs are available in many of the cheaper places to keep a boat and work on it.
You mentioned cities so I would suggest the following are decent sized cities (or close enough for commuting to one) and good places for sailing:
1. Tampa/St. Pete
2. Ft. Lauderdale/Miami (EXPENSIVE but Bahamas/Keys nearby!!)
3. Annapolis MD area...(DC commute)
4. Baltimore MD...surprisingly nice!
5. Charleston SC
6. Jacksonville Fl. (protected waters of St. John's river)
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Old 01-24-2007
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I'm an electrical engineering. Hopefully that makes me relatively employable.

I'm not afraid of the grunt type jobs either.
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Old 01-24-2007
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Yep...but with that background you'll build the kitty faster if you can get brain work which generally requires a decent sized town.
Other possibility is Norfolk area with all the military contracting/engineering work in that area. Good luck to ya & welcome aboard!
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Old 01-24-2007
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IM-not so-HO

West Coast, Channel Islands from Santa Barbara Channel to Catalina Channel. You'll find the most diverse sailing conditions from flat calm to severe, usually within the same day. Good preparation for cruising where you'll encounter all kinds of fluff and smutz, you'll be glad you prepared before you leave. The Virgin team trained here.

San Diego is the best place to buy a boat. After coming down through all the weather on the west coast, the wife/girlfriend, books the first plane home and the trip is abandoned, boat is left with a broker with all the equipment and spares. Conversely, it's a clearing port for boats coming from Mexico and the So Pacific. Trip over, boat for sale.

Electrical engineer? what's that? pull wires you'll get work, design systems, got plenty.
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Old 01-24-2007
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One area..

That no one has mentioned is Portland, ME. In the last few years it has really become the Boulder, CO of the east coast for twenty, thirty and the forty something crowds. The city has more resturaunts & bars per capita than any city other than NY and San Fran and 90% are chef owned NOT chains. The city is a classic New England sea port with old brick buildings and great night life. You did say you were 28 right? The sailing season is short, about six months, but there are quite a few live aboards that winter over here. The short season would allow you to do the re-fit work in the winter months. The other benefit of sailing Maine is that it will prepare you to sail just about anywhere. Maine offers fog, ledges, Nor Easters, true North Atlantic weather and very protected bay sailing to practice and hone your skills. I know sailors who have sailed for 40 years who are afraid of Maine. If you start here you'll ahve the confidence to do anything but perhaps the Horn or the roaring 40's.

Cheap rents can also be found and we have a number of high techs like National Semiconductor.. Just a thought for a "fun" city! My wife and I could have chosen any water based city in the country and chose Portland to call our hailing port because the sailing is that much better, more beautiful and peaceful than any US place other than Alaska. I've sailed the Seattle area, Florida, Carolinas, Chess, Newport, Great Lakes, San Fran & San Diego and none of it can touch the 2000+ islands off the coast off Maine. Check out my Maine Coast Photo Galleries athe the link below my signature..


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Old 01-24-2007
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I'd second Baltimore, MD, or Annapolis, MD. With the Chesapeake Bay at your back door, what more could you want?
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Old 01-24-2007
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Duluth is on the biggest lake in the world and connected into the second and third largest. You may be able to find good sailing closer than you think.
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The thing I would keep in mind is what kind of boat do you want and where can you easily find it. I wanted a C&C but they aren't too common on the west coast. Ended up with a boat designed by C&C but built in California. It's not cheap to move a boat across the country. Maybe make a list of three or four boats you like and find out where they can be found in the greatest numbers. You can usually find the mosy of a certain boat near where it's built. And I wouldn't rule out Washington state. I live just north of it in B.C. but there are a lot of cheap boats in the Pugett sound area and a lot of knowledgeable people. It would be nice if you could find work in the industry so you could gain experience and maybe cut down on costs. Good luck.
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