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dpierce 04-07-2002 04:44 PM

where to homeport?
Hi All,

Id like to ask all Southeast sailors for some advice on where to homeport a sailboat.

I live in Atlanta and a few months ago, purchased a 30 Hunter in St. Pete. Its berthed there now, and Im planning to move it to a port closer to Atlanta sometime this summer. (St. Pete just isnt realistic as a location given the distance from here!! its a 10 hour drive). Two places have been recommended the Ft. Walton Beach area, and the Savannah/St. Simons area.

Can anyone fill me in on what each area has to offer sailing clubs, opportunities to connect with other sailors, racing (fun, not serious), local waters, winds, etc. Any advice and information would be much appreciated.



Don Foley 04-08-2002 04:54 AM

where to homeport?
I''m an Atlanta-based sailor who deals with the same question. What I found is that within a 10-hour drive you can get from the bottom of the Chesapeake to the the top of ''South Florida'' so that''s become our ''cruising ground.'' We just brought our boat into Jacksonville, a 6-hour drive, from Merritt Island, an 8-hour drive. Next will most likely be St. Simons (5 hours) or Savannah (4 hours) and then up to Charleston (5 hours). We pay a bit more for our transient fees than an annual contract, but we see some great areas. St. Simons, for instance, costs $8 a foot per month for the annual slip, but $9.00 a foot for transient monthly. This is about the same rate difference I''ve paid at other marinas, so I''ve found I''d rather pay a little more, and go explore. Some marinas have a limit how long you can be ''transient'' but I''ve always just used this as a reason to shove off and go find a new place.
If you want to do the annual contract thing, you''re nearby choices are limitted. Savannah doesn''t have much to choose in terms of marinas (Palmer Johnson is the best...but I was just told that they''re not doing annual contracts anymore) but it is the closest drive. You''ll have a hike to the ocean though. St.Simon''s/Brunswick is an hour down the road, only serviced by Delta with expensive Turboprops (you can fly to Savannah on Airtran for $39) but the cruising grounds are nicer. An hour south of this gets you to Jacksonville, which has reasonable priced marinas. Going north, you have Hilton Head (technically our home port) which is expensive and of course Beaufort. We love the Charleston area, but this is getting to the northern end of what we consider and easy drive.
Mostly I''d enjoy the sail from St. Pete to Georgia''s coast and worry about details later. Once you get past the shear madness of south Florida, it''s a great cruise, either up the ICW or on the outside.

Good luck,


dwcargill 04-13-2002 08:05 PM

where to homeport?
Don, have you come across any mooring areas you''d reccomend around Hilton Head or Savanah? I''m not budgeted for a marina slip yet and I''d like to keep my drive from Atlanta at a minimum.

Don Foley 04-16-2002 04:31 AM

where to homeport?
I know of no moorings in either place, but that doesn''t mean there might not be any. I do remember a story about a bunch of liveaboards (most likely houseboats) who dropped anchor somewhere up the Savannah River and called it home.

I would guess a mooring near Hilton Head (if you could find one) would cost as much as a slip anywhere else. Savannah is nice, but all of the marinas (that I know of) are about 8 miles inland. Not a big deal if you''re a powerboater, but for us that''s an almost two hour hike. You could just drive to Jacksonville for that matter.

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