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Midwesterner cruising, is it possible?
Iím hoping the community can provide some insight/feedback on my and my wifeís plans for the next few years. We live in central Michigan, fifty miles from the Saginaw Bay (which for those of you who donít know, connects to Lake Huron). Please ignore the ďexperienceĒ questions/comments as we believe we have that area adequately addressed.
Hereís the issue Iím asking your comments on: Our goal is to leave our home in Michigan and sail in warm waters (the Keys or Bahamas) for December through April. We would spend the remaining months back on the farm. Our intention is do this on a sailboat in the 36 or 38 foot range.
It appears there are two ways to do this. If you have an alternative idea please sing out! I can see advantages and disadvantages with both ideas below. Iím sure there are significant things Iíve not considered. But, in short, the real question is how does a Midwesterner cruise in the winter and live at home in the summer?
Buy a freshwater Great Lakes boat in the coming spring. This has the benefit of allowing us to access our workshop, tools, etc. in prepping the boat for a journey. It also allows us to move the boat through the Eire Canal to the Hudson, something weíve always wanted to see and do. In mid to late summer we would move that boat across the Lakes to New York, across the Canal, down the ICW to South Carolina or thereabout. We would store it there for a month or two and return about 1 December. From there we would meander south, returning a bit north to a safe place to store the boat for the hurricane season about 1 May. We would return to MI, leaving the boat behind. Then, on 1 Dec return to the boat, sail southÖrinse and repeat.
Move the boat out of the Great Lakes in late summer. Store in the south until 1 Dec then sail as in alternative 1. But, when the winter ends, instead of storing in the south for the subsequent spring and summer simply move up the ICW, across NY and keep the boat in MI for the summer. (how long would that trip take?) Then in the late summer/early fall move the boat back south. We would store it for a month or so, until 1 Dec then return and spend the winter. Rinse and repeat. This has the concern of exactly how much time does it take to go from Saginaw Bay, across Lake Erie, then Lake Ontario, then the Erie Canal to the Hudson, then down the ICW to the cruising waters, back and forth.
I donít see an easy solution. Not that this is all bad but each has separate issues. Your thoughtful comments are appreciated.
Thanks for your thoughts and input and MERRY CHRISTMAS!