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Over Hill Sailing Club
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The last couple of years I have left my boat in Florida so as to be able to visit folks and to sail in warmer climes. What I have found is that I am doing a lot LESS actual sailing down there. It seems like there are hundreds of really big, really expensive sailboats covered in canvas and plastic that never hoist a sail. Along the eastern coast of S. Florida, in and around the ICW, it seems there are not that many places to put the sails up and go. Inshore waters are very shallow and most of the inlets from the ocean are far from wherever the boat is. Most are shallow and nasty except for the few class A inlets. Even if you can get to the ocean for a sail, The Gulf Stream hems you in for weeks at a time from getting offshore if there is any sort of north wind. I am really missing the NE, with its abundant sailing waters and short season.
 

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An hour out, an hour back makes a 2 hour sail a bit of a pain.
 

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In my opinion bigger boats require more crew, and much more effort to move and stop for a short day sail. At the same time, every where may be different, but is more common to see people busy in a lot of non sense stuff...for instance wasting time in social media. Somebody could say I'm wasting time right now, may be true, but I'm sick, so need to be at home reclusion.
Just can't wait to get to the boat, hoist the main, unfurl the jib and splash the waves!!! I did a lot of sailing last winter up here (Rio de la Plata), but also enjoy sitting in the boat at mooring, watching the move in the marina, with some Caipiroska at my hand.
Cheers...
 

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You mean, your boat is in FL year round and you do not have one in the Northeast, but you live in NY?

I've known several who have tried that and given up eventually. I would have been tempted, if not for seeing it universally fail. Our boat is in the water from Apr 1 to Nov 1 each year, then goes on the hard. We find it substantailly less expensive to just charter a bareboat for a week in the winter, which is about all the time we have to get away anyway. Even two weeks chartering would be less expensive that putting ours down there for the season. Beyond that is a dream of having time to get away anyway.
 

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I have contemplated the Snowbird thing for awhile now. I have come to the conclusion that Sailing in the Northeast ( from the Chesapeake north) provides the most enjoyable sailing for me. My thoughts when I pull the plug on work (for the second time), is to sell the house stay on the boat and cruise up here "in season", and find a warm hidyhole for the few months of winter.
I will probably rent, until I determine I like a location enough to buy something.
 

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Sounds like a tough situation. I would not have guessed South Florida less than ideal for sailing but hearing your story I get it. Seems the solution is either match the water to the boat or match the boat to the water. If day sailing is your thing maybe something smaller and shallow draft than an Albert 35. I would never suggest a cat to an Albert owner but for myself it would be a "whatever it takes" kind of thing. gotta sail. So either a different boat or different water. Maybe move closer to Keys. I got a nice shoal draft classic I'd trade even for the A35 :)
 

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Not sure whether you are limited only to the ICW in SE FL, but there are other places in FL that have better sailing...I would suggest the Ft. Myers or Tampa/St. Pete area...or in the panhandle from Carrabelle over to Pensacola...not to mention the keys...
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for those replies. I will definitely have to check out the west coast of Florida next time down there. Maybe I'll see how much mud I can stir up going through the Okeechobee Waterway:) I have heard that Texas, around Aransas is pretty nice too, less developed than Florida.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter #10
You mean, your boat is in FL year round and you do not have one in the Northeast, but you live in NY?

I've known several who have tried that and given up eventually. I would have been tempted, if not for seeing it universally fail. Our boat is in the water from Apr 1 to Nov 1 each year, then goes on the hard. We find it substantailly less expensive to just charter a bareboat for a week in the winter, which is about all the time we have to get away anyway. Even two weeks chartering would be less expensive that putting ours down there for the season. Beyond that is a dream of having time to get away anyway.
Yes. Thought I'd try keeping her down there so I could escape winter occasionally when I felt like it. I did not anticipate the lack of actual sailing that went along with the idea. It is really nice to visit down there but it seems I have given up sailing in exchange for a floating vacation home:) I'm retired and have lots of time but get tired of being aboard after a couple of months, especially when the sailing is so limited. My boats have always been in the NY area, either on Champlain or on LI and I have, for many years, cruised the NE, from NYC to Maine. The cost of keeping the boat down that way is a bit more expensive than up here but not by enough to make a real difference. Another thing I miss is being able to work on the boat at any time. I don't like the idea of only working on the boat when it gets moved to the "work area." That seems to be the custom down there. It results in having to squeeze any work into a limited amount of time.
 

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What about St Augustine? Is that too far north? Thats a pretty town close to a good chanel to the ocean.
 

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Move the boat back to LIS. A bit of a drive from the Adirondacks, but if you're retired, it will be way more accessible and infinitely more useful. Bareboat down south in the winter.
 

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I take your point. I've visited Stuart/St Lucie area frequently (by land) and there are many boats, but it's a hike to get "outside" and then you're kind of captive to what the inlet is like. And a sailing venue with "two coasts" such as LIS, Mass Bay, Narragansett Bay, Chesepeake et al, can make "one-coast" sailing seem unchanging and repetitive

Maybe think about small inland centerboard boats? Nothing wrong with a nice sail off Jensen Beach at the US Sailing Center, in a hot little 2-person boat, like a Vanguard 15. Or a Laser. Or a windsurfer?? Or (strike me dead for suggesting this on a sailing board) take up rowing in a nice shell or fine-ended rowboat? You can go anywhere and get some exercise, too. Or go out on a (shudder) powerboat filled with fellow scuba divers. the northerly current works for you, since you can "drift dive" with the current while the boat follows you, very relaxing.

And don't ignore lake sailing a little farther north, say around Eustis.

I doubt I've won any converts here. But yeah, most of the sailboats I see around there are on their way to or from somewhere else.

I second Pensacola, a hidden gem of a town and sailing scene. But you do get winter there--the Gulf Stream giveth summer (and a bad chop in a northerly) to the East coast and winter to the Gulf of Mexico. But there a lots of nice winter days on the Panhandle, just not exactly beach days.
 

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One way or the other, it sounds like you need two boats. No, no, put away that shotgun. It doesn't have to be twice the expense and complexity.
Having an Alberg 35 in the northeast and being able to stage it in several locations from southern Chessapeake to Canadian maritimes would give you a sailing season of about 8 months and allow you to drive to where ever it is moored. Then, if you must sail December through March you could charter or keep a shallow draft (catamaran?) down in far south Florida where open water access is not so laborious.
Remember the home port concept is for people still tied to the world of work. You, however can drive a couple of days, spend a week or so on the boat sailing, maintaining, and relaxing and then drive back home. Kind of a three way adventure. Occasionally you can relocate to another operating base, rinse and repeat.
Chartering during the "hard" times can give you a really big change of venue, a totally difference sailing experience.
Would that it could be me.
John
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter #15
What about St Augustine? Is that too far north? Thats a pretty town close to a good chanel to the ocean.
I keep the boat at Green Cove Springs, right across from St. Aug. on the St. John's River and use the St Aug. moorings every year when going south. It's a 30 mile hike from GCS to the St. John's Inlet which IS a class A but the distance is considerable for a day sail:) Not only that but the bridge situation in Jacksonville seem to be totally unpredictable. The old FEC RR bridge seems to close at will for days at a time and the Main St. Bridge requires 2 hour notification. It also gets COLD in Northern Florida.
 

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In my opinion bigger boats require more crew, and much more effort to move and stop for a short day sail.
Cheers...
I hear this all the time and honestly, I don't understand it. I've run sailing vessels of 80 feet with just two aboard without any problems, sailing or docking.
Presently my wife and I sail a 53' ketch without any problems at all. Actually, with all the mod cons like roller furling and self tailing winches, this boat is easier to sail than the first boat of size I sailed in the early 60's, a 27' King's Cruiser.
We can get underway in about 15 minutes and the majority of that time is spent pulling up the anchor. No more sail covers to remove, sails to hank on, lines to run or boom crutches to remove. Perhaps a minute to take down a sun cover; that's it.
We even sail off the anchor almost every time and even more often drop the anchor under sail. A day of sailing is spent sailing, not getting ready to sail or putting her up for the night.
It's not about how big a boat one is sailing, it's about having it properly set up for sailing.
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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Discussion Starter #17
Move the boat back to LIS. A bit of a drive from the Adirondacks, but if you're retired, it will be way more accessible and infinitely more useful. Bareboat down south in the winter.
Most likely, I'll move her back to Champlain in the spring. I can drive over in an hour to work on her. That's a main reason I have a boat. She needs a new coat of Awlgrip which I've been putting off for too long. I'd rather do that near home on my own schedule, picking the right weather to roll/tip. Although I hate the long slog down and up the Hudson, I've done it plenty of times to get to my favorite sailing areas.
 

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You mean, your boat is in FL year round and you do not have one in the Northeast, but you live in NY?

I've known several who have tried that and given up eventually. I would have been tempted, if not for seeing it universally fail. Our boat is in the water from Apr 1 to Nov 1 each year, then goes on the hard. We find it substantailly less expensive to just charter a bareboat for a week in the winter, which is about all the time we have to get away anyway. Even two weeks chartering would be less expensive that putting ours down there for the season. Beyond that is a dream of having time to get away anyway.
Quite right. I had two boats once. One I lived aboard in New York City and kept my 1968 24 foot Bristol out on Long Island for the weekends. Think I used the Bristol twice if that a season. About $300 bucks per sail way back when. My quasi landlubber longtime girlfriend is not into long term cruising but, enjoys winter vacations on catamarans and if I'm good I get to go too!:D I do chip in a few $ though. She insists on a crewed charter. Which is fine with me I don't want to spend my rum punch time trying to figure out some strange boats systems or engine issue. Plus it's nice to have a local cruising crew with local knowledge and get to see parts of the world I'd probably never get to with my boat.
 

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I don't understand keeping a boat in Florida, having lots of time, and not sailing much. That's what the Bahamas are for.
 

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I don't understand keeping a boat in Florida, having lots of time, and not sailing much. That's what the Bahamas are for.
Exactly, that was my first thought, as well...

The East coast of FL north of Biscayne Bay has to be one of the most limited cruising grounds on the entire Eastern seaboard. Just run down to Lake Worth or Lauderdale, jump across the Stream, and you're in one of the best cruising/sailing grounds to be found anywhere. Certainly seems a no-brainer to me, as well...
 
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