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  #1  
Old 09-23-2008
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Need Advice for First Time Cruising

I am very new to sailing. It has been a long time dream to learn and I got my chance this summer in San Diego.

Now, my wife and I are wanting to plan an extended sailing trip this next summer with our 3 children. We want to spend at least a month out, maybe 3 months.

We need advice on a good location for newbies. We would like to buy a boat and start cruising from the same place.

Plan on starting in May or June.
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Old 09-23-2008
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Welcome brady... seems rather difficult to answer your fairly precise question, but if considering to buy and start sailing, Clear Lake Shores may be a place to look.
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Old 09-23-2008
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Hi Brady,
We are learning to sail out in Matagorda Bay. Very little traffic with worlds of close places to sail to as we learn. We keep out Starwind in a slip in Port Lavaca and live in Port O'Connor.
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Old 09-23-2008
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If I were just starting out, I think I'd give someone like "Sun Sail" a call and maybe charter a boat for the time out.. being you're just starting out, buying a boat and getting it ready to cruise is a big undertaking, not that it cant be done, just very time consuming.......
It took us almost 6 years to find the boat we wanted and another 4 to get it ready to go......... after 10 years, we're ready to cut the lines...
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Old 09-23-2008
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Panama city florida. Andrews bay is a great place to start. You can sail protected waters from Mobile Alabama to Port Saint Joe Florida. If you get bored you can sail the Chandeleur islands off of Louisiana or even cross the gulf to explore the keys. But for a month or three a newby should have a lot of fun between Port saint joe and Mobile. Turner marine in Mobile is a fairly large broker and their are others in the area also.
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Old 09-23-2008
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Go back to San Diego. San Diego has some great locations within reasonable distances, and boats sell cheaper there. First of all, San Diego harbor itself, but within 10 hours is Catalina Island, and another 10 hours north of that, the Channel Islands National Park consisting of 4 islands in the Santa Barbara Channel.

May and June could be a bit iffy re weather. In May expect heavy N to NW winds, although there are some good days. June is generally overcast. The best month(s) is from August to sometimes through November. I've spent Christmas at the islands in shorts and sunscreen.

If you're new to sailing, hire an instructor to check you out on the boat and your skills. I'm not much for sailing schools, which are too pricey and usually try to charge exhorbitant prices for boats in their charters. An instructor will be half the cost and a lot more informative on a one-on-one basis. Yeah, yeah, won't get certified, who cares? I've chartered all around the world and never been asked for a certification.
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Old 09-26-2008
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Thanks

Thank you everyone for the advice... Florida sounds nice, we have never been there. San Diego is an awesome place and we would love to go back there but the weather during the time we want to go may be the issue keeping us from there.

I live in Texas and didn't even know about those places. lol

Texas is a huge place...
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Old 09-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brady5 View Post
I am very new to sailing. It has been a long time dream to learn and I got my chance this summer in San Diego.

Now, my wife and I are wanting to plan an extended sailing trip this next summer with our 3 children. We want to spend at least a month out, maybe 3 months.

We need advice on a good location for newbies. We would like to buy a boat and start cruising from the same place.

Plan on starting in May or June.
Give serious thought to buying any boat and then heading out immediately. Even a new boat will likely have some issues to be ironed out.

I support the idea of striking a long term deal with a charter company. They can supply a skipper for the first week to teach you that boat and the local cruising grounds. Not owning the boat relieves you of many long term chores and also opens up many more places to cruise like the Virgin Islands. The VI's would be off season so rates will be low. I'd expect a one month rental to cost what a one week rental in high season would cost. If a hurrican threatens, not your boat mon! Just turn it back in and let them do the prep work.
You could even divide your time to several different places. June in the VI and then July in the Cheasapeake and August in Maine!!!
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Old 09-27-2008
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You didn't really say what you were looking for in terms of a sailing area, but since your proposed window will fall right into Hurricane season, I'm guessing maybe not the Carribean unless maybe you consider xort's plan (which actually sounds pretty cool to me).

Anyway, if you are set on buying your own boat to do this, how about the Chesapeake Bay? There are tons of boats available for sail and you could easily spend a couple of months just poking around the bay. If you get tired of the bay, you could head south down the ICW and end up closer to home. Also there are many, many places on the bay capable of addressing any unexpected issues that might come up with the boat.
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Old 09-27-2008
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These are great ideas. Exactly what I was hoping to get. Your input is helping me create a list of places and options we are considering. We want to have our location nailed down sometime in February.

I am considering the suggestions about chartering but we are really wanting our own boat. This will be the first of many adventures for us and it would be nice to have our own.

Already looking at some boats. I can't imagine taking 6 years to find a boat. We have some basic ideas of what we want and a budget. I think when the time comes we will make a descision fairly quickly.

Does it really take 4 years to get a boat ready to cruise? That is a long time.
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