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not-so-old salt
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The admiral and I are discussing options for a move to the east coast. We've narrowed the results to South Carolina and Florida (not keys, gulf or Atlantic side is OK) based on weather, taxes, cost of living and current housing market. (please - no dissertations on those topics. We know there's plenty of opinions)

Both our jobs allow us to work from the house, so we're thinking of getting "the plan" to step #2. (move to ocean locale and gain more big water experience)

Now the question becomes one of 'sailboat friendly' cities in these states. We'd most likely end up with a 40-43 ft cruiser. Live aboard on weekends at first. Eventually (within 5 years) live aboard full time. Our criteria for 'sailboat friendly' in no particular order.

1. Cost of boat insurance.
2. Maintenance cost / availability
3. Mooring/slip fees
4. DIY facilities available (have seen a few posts regarding DIY yards)
5. Access to the ocean

Is there a city/area that is generally accepted as the "sailboat capitol" for those respective states? We've explored the coast a bit in those some of those areas, but we didn't have the sailing bug when we were there.

Thanks for the help.
 

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Tony...suggest you look at North Carolina (Oriental Area) as it has both good sailing, and everything else you want. I can think of nowhere else in the Southeast this is true except Miami/Ft. Lauderdale...and then you have issues of costs and hurricanes.
 

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Telstar 28
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If cost of insurance is a major factor, you'd be much better off in the Carolinas, rather than Florida. The hurricanes that clobbered Florida in the past few years have driven insurance prices up quite a bit from what I understand. Marina/slip/mooring fees are probably a bit less expensive in the Carolinas as well.
 

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I currently live in Florida (Ft. Myers area), and I highly encourage you to avoid it! Here are a few reasons:

1."Southern Hospitality" apparently has it's southern border somewhere north of Jacksonville. Either that, or no one has ever experienced the basic behavior of most Midwestern folk. Both the native Floridians and the imported northeast-ers tend to be on the unfriendly side. My wife was shocked when we were up in Indiana over the holidays, and someone actually held a door open for her (other than me)!

2. Housing prices, while down significantly, are still outrageous IMO. Hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 1/4 acre sand lot with a poorly constructed concrete block home, usually in a gated neighborhood with ridiculous covenants. Maybe I'm a little too libertarian, but if I drop 300-500k on a home, NOBODY is going to tell me I can't park a boat in my driveway once in a while, or have a basketball hoop for the kids, or what kinds of trees I'm allowed to plant!

3. Slip fees are outrageous!!!! Again, my Midwestern upbringing might be to blame, but $10-15/foot/month to keep a boat in the water just seems egregious. For that money, there had better be scantily-clad girls washing my boat every weekend.

5. While the winters are pleasant, summertime is BRUTAL. If you're going to live aboard, sail north or get really good AC.

4. On the plus side, I like the sailing down here, but I have a swing keel boat. Shoal draft can be VERY important in our area, less so in others.
 

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AEOLUS II
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Tony...suggest you look at North Carolina (Oriental Area) as it has both good sailing, and everything else you want. I can think of nowhere else in the Southeast this is true except Miami/Ft. Lauderdale...and then you have issues of costs and hurricanes.
I was going to say the same thing.

Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds are nice, protected and almost year 'round.
 

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not-so-old salt
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Discussion Starter #6
Cam,
Thanks for the suggestion.

We looked at NC (it's third on our list actually) and the income tax is an issue. We'd pay about 1.5% more, assuming we both keep our jobs in this economy. FL is very attractive because there is no income tax. FL has also repealed the tax on intangible personal property (stocks/bonds/etc).

However - given your endorsement, we'll have a look in NC. We actually have some great friends that just bought a house in Carolina Beach.
 

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not-so-old salt
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Discussion Starter #7
I grew up in midwest too....

I currently live in Florida (Ft. Myers area), and I highly encourage you to avoid it! Here are a few reasons:

1."Southern Hospitality" apparently has it's southern border somewhere north of Jacksonville. Either that, or no one has ever experienced the basic behavior of most Midwestern folk.

2. Maybe I'm a little too libertarian, but if I drop 300-500k on a home, NOBODY is going to tell me I can't park a boat in my driveway once in a while, or have a basketball hoop for the kids, or what kinds of trees I'm allowed to plant!

5. While the winters are pleasant, summertime is BRUTAL. If you're going to live aboard, sail north or get really good AC.
1. I grew up in the midwest, so I appreciate your comments.

2. We currently live in a place with virtually no covenants and love it.

5. We don't live aboard now, but we had 50 days of 100+degree weather last summer. Spent a lot of time at the boat - most of it swimming at anchor or at the marina (I bet I don't want to swim in marina's on east coast!)

Thanks!
 

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Tonybin..,I like Oriental, NC, too. I also like Georgetown and Beaufort, SC; however, except for the insurance cost, I lthink you cqn find the best of what you want in Florida. I protected my boat during the hurricanes of 2004 while in Florida and I've already saved half the valve of my boat by bying liability only insurance since the rates skyrocketed. They wanted about 5% of my total value for a year's full coverage! There are areas where you can keep a boat or with a quick move protect your boat in Florida. One of the best of these is the St. Johns River in NE Florida,- Jacksonville area. The slip rental here is half of what it is in South Florida. When I first started living aboard in Florida I was looking for, not only ocean access, but protected inland sailing for an easy afternoon out after work. This narrows it down to Jacksonville (St. Johns River), Melbourne area (Indian River-long distance ocean access), Stuart (St. Lucie River), Miami (Biscayne Bay), Tampa Bay, Pensacola, and Panama City. I left out my home town, Ft. Lauderdale, because it's ocean or nothing, but it does have many well protected docks, especially if you can get under the 55' I-95 bridge on the New River. I also left out the Keys due to expense, crowding and lack of protection. I can dock my 41' as a liveaboard in Jacksonville from $380 to $700 per month depending on the area of town and quality of marina. There are two DIY yards here and more with partial DIY opportunities and a large marine and boater friendly environment. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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I'll second the recommendation to take another look at coastal N.C. The cost of living is ultimately going to be significantly less than Florida, and there are some gorgeous cruising grounds along still-undeveloped shorelines. Four true seasons, but without a real nasty winter. I'm not as familiar with the coastline of South Carolina, but my general impression is that it doesn't have the same kind of river and sound sailing grounds that N.C. offers, little creeks and anchorages to explore, etc.

On the other hand, wait a minute! I should be keeping this quiet!
 

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5. We don't live aboard now, but we had 50 days of 100+degree weather last summer. Spent a lot of time at the boat - most of it swimming at anchor or at the marina (I bet I don't want to swim in marina's on east coast!)

Thanks!
I surely wouldnt want to swim in those marina's :laugher


 

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not-so-old salt
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Discussion Starter #11
Jax

...They wanted about 5% of my total value for a year's full coverage!
....the St. Johns River in NE Florida,- Jacksonville area. The slip rental here is half of what it is in South Florida....I can dock my 41' as a liveaboard in Jacksonville from $380 to $700 per month depending on the area of town and quality of marina. There are two DIY yards here and more with partial DIY opportunities and a large marine and boater friendly environment.
CptForce - Is it still 5% for insurance in the JAX area? JAX is one of the places we've considered. It helps they have an NFL team there. :)
 

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Tonybin..,I like Oriental, NC, too. I also like Georgetown and Beaufort, SC;
I'm an SC native and have quite a few family members along the SC coast. I plan to retire there someday myself.

That said, SC is not really a sailing mecca. Charleston is probably the largest concentration but compared to the type sailing here on the Chesapeake the options seem limited. Also while I haven't throughly researched the area, the looking I have done taught me that marina costs around Charleston are comparable or higher than Annapolis which seems rediculous to me. If I lived in that area I think, I'd be more interested in a racy sport boat that could be land stored. Options for exploring and anchoring out in a large cruising sailboat along the SC coast seem limited at best, but there seems to be ample opportunites for daysailing and racing sailors.

Georgetown is SC's only non touristy coastal town and I like it a lot, but Winyah Bay really only offers limited day sailing and its a pretty good haul down to the Ocean. Most people passing through G'town on 17 only see the papermill and steel mill and don't get off the highway to see how neat the downtown area is, which I'm coming to see as a good thing lest it be overrun also. Once neat place we've seen is a new condo complex that fronts on the main shopping/entertainment area, and backs to deepwater slips. Kinda' cool.

If super laid back is your style check out McCllellanville located about 1/2 way between Georgetown and Charleston. This is true "lowcountry" SC with huge live oaks, covered with spanish moss, lining and overhanging the roads. The community fronts on the ICW with the Cape Romain wildlife refuge between it and the atlantic and National Forest behind so it will never be overrun like much of the rest of the SC coast.

Good Luck!
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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For SC, I'd pick the north end of Hilton Head Island. You have Port Royal Sound, a couple of hours to the ocean, or up the Beaufort River. The best thing about G'town is the Wacamaw River. To me it's the prettiest part of the ICW.

I think the cost of living in NC over FL makes the tax issue moot. And the Neuse River is a great sailing area. From Oriental you have all kinds of choices. Be it a daysail, overnighter, weekend, or longer.
 

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For what it's worth, my wife and I had to go through a similar selection process a couple of years ago. We considered everything along the east coast from Florida to Maryland. While there was good sailing in FL, there were the insurance and weather issues. North of FL, there didn't seem to be a lot of places where there'd be many cruising destinations within reach of our home port, especially for weekends. So we ended up on the Chesapeake.

Not saying that's the only place to go, just relaying our experience with a similar decision.

Best of luck to you!
-J
 

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cost of living % to us average
<table class="data" id="ctl00_mainContent_dgCities" style="background-color: White; font-family: Verdana; font-size: xx-small; height: 69px; width: 100%; border-collapse: collapse;" rules="cols" border="1" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">COSTLIV</td><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">Oriental</td><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">Miami</td><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">United States</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Overall</td><td>106</td><td>137</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td>Grocery</td><td>94.6</td><td>107</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Health</td><td>94</td><td>123</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td>Housing</td><td>123</td><td>190</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Utilities</td><td>115</td><td>105</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td>Transportation</td><td>88</td><td>110</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Miscellaneous</td><td>96</td><td>105</td><td>100</td></tr></tbody></table>
 

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No fair! I need to bench mark these two cities to something that I can relate to. Such as Santa Clara, California (next door to San Jose and part of the San Francisco Bay Area). Can you provide a link to this website?
 

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George...here ya go:
<table class="data" id="ctl00_mainContent_dgCities" style="background-color: White; font-family: Verdana; font-size: xx-small; height: 69px; width: 100%; border-collapse: collapse;" rules="cols" border="1" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">COSTLIV</td><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">Miami</td><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">Santa Clara</td><td style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255); background-color: rgb(61, 51, 34);">United States</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Overall</td><td>137</td><td>164</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td>Grocery</td><td>107</td><td>118</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Health</td><td>123</td><td>156</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td>Housing</td><td>190</td><td>242</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Utilities</td><td>105</td><td>128</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: White;"> <td>Transportation</td><td>110</td><td>123</td><td>100</td> </tr><tr style="color: Black; background-color: rgb(237, 236, 233);"> <td>Miscellaneous</td><td>105</td><td>108</td><td>100</td></tr></tbody></table>City Compare
 

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tonybinTX, Unfortunately, the insurance companies that I research do not discriminate betrween risks in different parts of Florida, even though Jacksonville has traditionally been much safwer for boats than south Florida. As to cost of living, it's a great mistake to select Miami as a representation of the cost of living in Florida. Would you equate Manhattan with Rochester? 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
 

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Thanks, and……YIKES! I knew that our neighborhood was a little “spendy”, but this is ridiculous. I wonder what towns are higher? San Francisco, NYC? I just might have to work on my drawl and develop a taste for grits and hush puppies. Although, my wife has been talking of Punta Mita, Mexico as a place to get away from our high cost of living.
 

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I took a ride through Santa Clara on Monday. It doesn't suprise me that its spendy. It really is beautiful.
 
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