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post #11 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Close to home so you can use the boat as often as possible

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post #12 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

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Originally Posted by Cruiser2B View Post
The conditions you describe are not the best for a beginner..... But yes San Francisco bay does offer alot, I was just out there this summer, but it is only a fraction of the size chesapeake. Sailing New England would be a great spot too, but the season is fairly short.
I would say pick the weather and living conditions you require and move your sailing there. Here on the Ches...it hot and humid. SF bay is cool and lots of wind but cost of living is a bit much and very populated,.......
You know, the OP did not ask about cost of living, nor about how crowded the area is; he asked about sailing.
I have sailed the Chesapeake, (didn't live there; just cruised it a half dozen times) and frankly I found it pretty boring. Certainly a lot of lovely anchorages and great places to anchor, moor or dock after a day on the water, but it seemed conditions are pretty mild if it's not a blustery day. If there isn't a front coming through, then what you go out into is pretty much what you'll be sailing that day. Mostly?
The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers add to the diversity of Bay sailing giving an untold amount of inland cruising grounds.
Bay sailing is year round, and it's not got those hot, sticky and windless summers of the mid-Atlantic states.

Last edited by capta; 12-17-2012 at 09:30 PM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

I don't think I would suggest the Keys for beginner sailing. Especially if you are singlehanding. I just went on a singlehanding down there this past year and it was fun but it was pretty darn challenging.

-Two tides a day so you swing on your anchor a good bit at night
-Good bit of places to run aground
-Not a good place to be in hurricane season (especially if your a few days from your vehicle)
-It a little intimidating overall

Now if I hadn't been alone I think it would have been alot more laid back and I wouldn't have been so stressed.

Also, it depends on what size boat your on to. I was on my Montgomery 17.

Small is beautiful, simple, cheap, and easy......

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post #14 of 26 Old 12-17-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

If I may...

The west coast of Florida is, in my opinion, a perfect place to learn to sail. From Tampa Bay south to Fort Myers or so, specifically. You can start out in small dinghies in the smaller bays, sounds and inlets, where it's shallow, but there is much to explore. You can graduate into the bigger bays (Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor), and bigger boats if you like. You can explore up and down the coast via the Intracoastal Waterway, and stay in protected waters the entire time. When you're ready, you can venture out into the Gulf - and from there, as you know, you can go anywhere in the world that water can take you

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post #15 of 26 Old 12-17-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Thanks for the feedback. Yes, Lake Michigan can get brutal. I'll try to put up a pic and vid of how fast it turned and caught some people in just a day right after July 4th. I was getting smack from family on why I didn't bring the 20' Bayliner up there for a family reunion. The pic and vid will show why, as I'm a cautious guy.
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post #16 of 26 Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Partial to Florida... I'd pick beautiful waters with plentiful beaches to take a break on...
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post #17 of 26 Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
You know, the OP did not ask about cost of living, nor about how crowded the area is; he asked about sailing.
I have sailed the Chesapeake, (didn't live there; just cruised it a half dozen times) and frankly I found it pretty boring. Certainly a lot of lovely anchorages and great places to anchor, moor or dock after a day on the water, but it seemed conditions are pretty mild if it's not a blustery day. If there isn't a front coming through, then what you go out into is pretty much what you'll be sailing that day. Mostly?
The Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers add to the diversity of Bay sailing giving an untold amount of inland cruising grounds.
Bay sailing is year round, and it's not got those hot, sticky and windless summers of the mid-Atlantic states.
No, he did not say anything about living costs, but to recommend to someone to go or migrate to the bay area and not make them aware of the cost of living and the traffic from the congestion of the highways would be irresponsible regardless of how good the sailing is.

I am sorry you found the Ches boaring, many find it quite peaceful, including myself. While it does not offer the big wind of SF bay everyday, we do have our fair share of great sailing days, especially for a beginner like the OP. Personally I found New England to be the best so far, but since my life isn't centered around sailing and I have to live and work, I consider the Mid atlantic a pretty good place for me and would recommend it to anyone starting out. Good jobs, good sailing, cheap moorage/slips, reasonable living costs and centrally loctaed to great cruising places. I guess we can be thankful you are there and I am here...win - win situation.


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post #18 of 26 Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

Lake Michigan, I sail first of April till first second week November. Then you can trailer sail a smaller boat before and after those dates until freeze-up which is not very long anymore. Grand Rapids area has cheap living and easy access to boats. Crew on bigger boats daysail your own small boat.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

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If you can go anywhere, consider the Chesapeake - fairly long season, lots of interesting nooks and crannies to explore, small tides, and soft bottom if you run aground. Downsides: light winds in summer, expensive.
As long as you stay in your boat, you can't get hurt, but definitely get towing assist. as you will run aground in soft mud.
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post #20 of 26 Old 12-18-2012
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Re: Best Beginners sailing grounds?

As was said by a few prior the closer to home the better. We started on a small man made lake less then an hour from our house (good when you forget to bring your sails back to the boat). It made the 1st mate comfortable knowing if something went wrong she could swim to shore. Being our 1st boat was a C-21 there was enough room to enjoy the 13 weekends we spent learning to sail and that it was more then something then a hobby.

The east coast waters have been great for sailing but we learned quick that things can go wrong and was very happy that we learned how to handle things first on the lake.
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