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  #1  
Old 08-21-2013
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Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

Hi everyone -

My family and I (wife, three kids) are at Step One of our plan to buy a sailboat, live on board, and sail full-time. We're trying to be wise in how we're going about this, and our first step is going to be finding a great, active sailing community to get involved with.

What makes our situation fairly unique is this: for the past 2 years, we've been traveling around the US in an RV. We've gone from the East Coast to the West Coast and back, spent last winter in Florida (had a blast!) and we're currently in Maine until roughly the end of September. After that we have no definite travel plans.

We're now ready to pursue our sailing goals 100%, and we're trying to find a great location with a really active sailing community to settle down in while we learn to sail, look for a boat, make some new sailing friends, etc. The geographical location we settle down in doesn't matter too much - since we're mobile we can head just about anywhere.

So what we're looking for is a city 1) with a friendly, active sailing community where we (complete and total newbies) can easily get involved, 2) with generally decent weather, and 3) that has year-round sailing. East Coast would be ideal since we're in Maine, but it wouldn't be the end of the world to head back to the West Coast.

I'm thinking that some place in the southern US would be best (for the weather and the year-round sailing) but I'm looking for recommendations from you guys. Any particular cities that you've loved for sailing? Any amazingly awesome sailing communities that you can recommend? Anything else we should be thinking about?

Thanks for the help and ideas-

John
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

I'd recommend Annapolis. Almost warm enough for enjoyable year-round sailing. Some people will disagree with me, but I think the sailing community in Annapolis is friendly overall. Rock Hall on the eastern shore is a possibility as is Hampton, VA.

New Orleans and Houston are also possibilites, but it is so hot for so long in the summer that year round sailing can be unpleasurable.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

I'm a wannabe. A great number of the real sailors are out sailing this time of year.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

I don't live aboard, nor do we aspire to, but this podcast interview has some good practical advice:

The Sailing Podcast « Page 2 of 17 « Come and join us on our journey The Sailing Podcast

Scroll down to "Costs of Cruising" It also contains a link to a detailed list of the couple's expenses over the course of a certain period.

I love Rock Hall, but if I had kids, I'd prefer someplace with more for them to do. I think either Annapolis or St. Augustine, FL. I was only in St. A for two days but there seems to be a strong cruising/liveaboard community based there.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

I'd second Annapolis. Very sailing - oriented culture, forgiving sailing grounds (moderate winds, mud bottom no rocks to damage hull if you do go aground), lots of sailing schools/clubs, lots of boats for sail, lots of races to participate in if that interests you. No sailing for 3 months of winter but lots of free sailing-related seminars to keep your aquatic mind active. The downside is that the cost of living is higher than other areas; ya gets what ya pays for.

And, when you're ready to move aboard and start cruising you have lots of places to gunkhole, then easy access to the ICW to head south to the Bahamas/Caribbean.
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  #6  
Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

FORT LAUDERDALE!

Sailing 24 X 7 X 365....

Every marine vendor you can think of has an office there.

A great source of used sailboats!

Close to the Bahamas, Miami, the Keys, Cuba, South America, etc.

Terrible schools, so you will want to home school your children.

But, since "living aboard" only makes sense if you actually cruise a lot, you really should live where you can do that.

Get a slip off of Las Olas Blvd., i.e. one of the marinas along the Isle of Venice, or Hendrix Rd. Those are the man made fingers of land which are built off of the main boulevard of Las Olas, which is the center of Fort Lauderdale.

Century East is the most transient marina there, they will accept all newbies and you will meet the locals there. Eventually you will move on from there, but it is a good starting point.

PS on your way past Boston, from Maine, stop by and say hi!
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

I would say without hesitation: Oriental, NC.
Lots of very quiet waters to sail on, relatively cheap prices, small community atmosphere, great boater support, nice climate allowing you to sail year round while still experiencing 4 seasons, close to both North and South great sailing destinations.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

I know a few folks who sail year round here in Maine. And if you can successfully sail the Maine coast you will be well trained. We do not sail year round but we do sail 7 months of the year.

We enjoy living in this area because we love all 4 seasons and enjoy many outdoor activities. When we finally retire and go sailing full time it will not be to the south. Maybe a winter in the Bahamas but just to explore the many islands. Our first destination will be the Canadian Maritimes.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

Charleston, S.C.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Mobile and Looking for a Great Sailing Community

Awesome! Thanks for all the great replies. I'm getting even more pumped as I sit here reading. =)

We haven't been to Annapolis in our travels, but we did spend some time in Virgina earlier this year. Definitely a great area of the country. We enjoyed it. Florida is a strong possibility as well. We wintered there this past Dec/Jan/Feb, as I mentioned, and enjoyed ourselves.

Thanks a lot for the advice. If anyone else has more, keep it coming!

- John
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