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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 03-16-2008
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Best midwest cruising

I have been considering buying a boat for a year or two. Sailed a 22' Chrysler for 20 years in central Iowa before selling several years ago. Now I am retired and am considering buying a boat for cruising and sailing.

I have taken several chartering classes and am certified up to 36'. We have chartered in the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin and also in the BVI.

If I bought a boat, I would probably get something in the 30' to 35' for cruising. Figuring out what boat is the next part of the puzzle.

It doesn't seem to make sense to buy a boat and live in central Iowa. All there would be is day sailing and overnights.

My wife would agree to move somewhere so that we could live near the sailboat. Where would that be? Our families and friends are all mostly in the Midwest.

What would be the favorite spot for sailing with the Midwest as the preferred location? Not sure if I have the guts to make the move but I am 57 and if we don't do it soon we won't ever.

Your thoughts appreciated.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Of course, whoever you ask will defend the sailing waters they're accustomed to. My biased opinion is, with some exceptions such as The Great Lakes, the only areas of our great country that offer any serious cruising potential, are the 12,380 miles of ocean coastline.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Great lakes

The midwest is a pretty big place. You need to consider many other factors in your life as well. Winters can be fairly long in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. Lake Michigan offers a lot of oppertunity as does Huron, Superior and Erie. All can be accessed from some location in Michigan. Right now property is down in Michigan and when one reaches the age of receiving Social Security Michigan does not tax those benefits. Water is warmer as well, given the prevailing winds. Just giving some input, I live in the Milwaukee area and we have a lot of cultural activities and airport access, but higher taxes. You have a lot of factors to define and consider.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Somewhere in northern lower Michigan would be a great location to have centralized access to some of the best cruising grounds in the Midwest/Great Lakes. I'm personally very fond of Leeland, Traverse City, Charlevoix/Boyne City and Petoskey. Each of these cities offers access to a decent sized regional airport, cultural activities, excellent port facilities/areas, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Midwest. They all (except Leeland) also offer large sheltered areas for sailing when the big lake is too nasty. And don't forget these added bonuses of living and cruising in the Great Lakes: affordable real estate and freshwater (not as tough on your boat).

From these locations, you would have easy access to the following excellent cruising locations: Manitou Islands, Beaver Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore, Mackinac Island and the Straits, Door County and any number of nice little ports along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

Of course you'd also have access to these other great cruising areas if you had the time and desire: Pictured Rocks National Seashore, Apostle Islands, The North Channel, Chicago and anywhere else in the world you desired to go by way of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

The caveat to all of this is that there are probably better overall cruising areas in the world and the Great Lakes has a relatively short sailing season (~ May through mid-October). However, we all have to balance our sailing lives with our careers, families, income and any number of other factors; which can make the Great Lakes a perfect fit for the right person.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Door County, Wisconsin has been rated one of the top cruising ground in the country by both Sail magazine and Cruising World a number of times. I am somewhat biased since I have had our boat there for a number of years. We also kept our boat there when we lived in Kansas City. Move north 4 years ago to be close to the boat and do more cruising. Season is somewhat short, but it is fantastic while it lasts.
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Old 03-17-2008
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I have to agree with Kwaltersmi. I grew up in Michigan doing all of the outdoor things including sailing and powerboating. My job took me to other States and when I had the opportunity to come back a couple years ago I jumped at it. BTW I also lived in Iowa for a few years so I can make a comparison. Michigan hands down.
The economy here right now has been in the toilet for a few years so a lot of the "vacation homes" are up for sale and though the asking price is right up there, the real price can be much lower. May still seem a little expensive compared to Des Moines but there is a lot more to see than cornfields.
Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.
IMHO Lake Michigan is better sailing and the beaches are a lot better. Basically from the state line north is one big beach. Lots of harbors and lots of things to see.
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Old 03-17-2008
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Though not technically Mid-West, there is the Tennessee River system. Access to 6 major lakes, as well as a route to the Gulf of Mexico. Also, it's just a tad warmer than the Great Lakes.
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