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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I'm starting to think about casting off for long-term cruising and am looking for some advice on ferreting out the best landing spots to recharge, provision, etc.

How do you guys go about choosing the destinations that you'll consider?

What are the resources that you use to make these decisions?

What are the criteria for an excellent cruising destination?

Thank you,

Chris :pirateraft:
 

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Where are you starting from????
IS your ship and skills up to the task?
What destinations appeal to you... that are actually accessible?
Do research!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Where are you starting from????
IS your ship and skills up to the task?
What destinations appeal to you... that are actually accessible?
Do research!
Hi,

Starting from Florida initially cruising throughout the Caribbean then beyond.

Yes, we're working out a few details on solar vs. wind and water supply. Then we're good to go.

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

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There is a string of islands and coasts going all the way around the world with small and large gaps in between. Just follow them, and provision before the large gaps and enjoy the differences each have to offer. Sorta like Magellan and Columbus and Cook and…

Only with better food and easier navigation and less likely to be eaten.

Mark
 

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Hi,

I'm starting to think about casting off for long-term cruising and am looking for some advice on ferreting out the best landing spots to recharge, provision, etc.

How do you guys go about choosing the destinations that you'll consider?

What are the resources that you use to make these decisions?

What are the criteria for an excellent cruising destination?

Thank you,

Chris :pirateraft:
In a general geographical context, we look for interesting water for destinations. Which means to me, the opposite of a long straight coast.

Islands, coves, bays, rivers and backwaters. We like to gunkhole an area. And this first thought encompasses the most important: a snug place to anchor or moor. We're not a big fan of open roadsteads that test your ground tackle and nerves (but if you're a long distance cruiser, you'll have to deal with less than snug anchorages more often).

Also we look for natural beauty which doesn't necessarily mean undeveloped (but that often helps). We look for shore side interests, towns and villages, museums, historic areas, nice walking or hiking trails.

Then easy shore access (kinda goes with #1) and great provisions. If we're going to stay very long we're not happy with gas station food stores. A nice supply of fresh local food on top of the above, and we can stay for a long time.

As far as finding that, Active Captain is a good up to date resource here in the Northeast. These forums are a wealth of knowledge. Guides, word of mouth.

But we also find great spots, even close to home, by accident. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts.
 

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Hi,

I'm starting to think about casting off for long-term cruising and am looking for some advice on ferreting out the best landing spots to recharge, provision, etc.

How do you guys go about choosing the destinations that you'll consider?

What are the resources that you use to make these decisions?

...
We've been doing the same. We like to eat good food so with a few exceptions, our cruising list of places to go follows our stomachs and places whose history and people intrigues us.

I have folders on my computer with notes and questions, webinars I've attended. I use Evernote to keep things organized. If there is some place I think might be interesting to sail to I add it to the list, then add others' trip reports/problem reports/recommendations to the list. I search for information in sailing forums, blogs, organization member newsletters and forums, people we talk to in person at get togethers and gams, books by sailors who have been there.

Then, we chose a boat that could get us safely to wherever there is.

I learned to rule out the opinions of those people who think "every island looks alike" or whose blog rarely has anything good to say about their experience. That tells me the first group doesn't venture beyond the beach bar (which is fine for some, not us) and the second group probably should have stayed home.
 

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Pick somewhere ,,,like Portugal.. It's a destination . everything in between is on the route and the journey is what it's about. Then there is the next destination Like the Med or Brazil .
 

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Many of us are forced to 'cruise' wherever we are.. so I'll take a stab at your question by listing what I think are the 'great' things about the PNW/BC waters.

-Plentiful good sheltered overnight anchorages

-Numerous marine parks with mooring and shore facilities

-A generally Diurnal wind pattern with overnight calm conditions (barring a major weather system)

- a good variety of urban/semi urban destinations combined with remote, more private settings.

- Daily destinations rarely more than 20-30 NM apart, easy day-sails and arriving early enough for choice location/slip and/or on-shore activities

- Options for 'inland' sailing or more challenging outside waters

- Generally good and plentiful provisioning, though in more remote areas more planning is required, and the more remote supply depots are a tad costly.

It's a good thing we get a fair amount of rain, relatively speaking, or the entire cruising world would camp out here and never move ;) - but it's hard to beat a good PNW summer season anywhere in the world.
 
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All destinations while cruising are good, at least from my perspective. Some are just better than others, and it depends upon what you wish to do when you get to those destinations. I'm not much on restaurants, mainly because I can usually cook a better meal than I could buy and do so with far less expenditure.

The main thing I look for is clear water, warm temperatures, but not hot and muggy, balmy breezes, sugar white sand, swaying coconut palms, and a party atmosphere. I also want a nice, sheltered, quiet anchorage in a safe location. I usually find them first, then explore the destinations for those other features.

Kinda like the old joke, "Who would you like to get stuck in an elevator with, a drop-dead gorgeous blond, brunette or redhead? Answer, I would want to get stuck with the one that knows how to fix the elevator. I'm old and have to pee a lot!" ;)

Same with the boat, I tend to look for locations that also have good marine repair facilities. My friend and one time cruising buddy, Roger C. and his wife recently sailed to Cancun and had an engine problem. Cost him nearly $3,000 to get the boat fixed and it was just a water pump and alternator that needed replacement. He said it was his last trip to Mexico and many of the problems he encountered were because of the local regulations and fees for having parts sent from the US to Mexico. They screwed him every way but right. Something to keep in mind when you leave the US and don't have a spare everything onboard.

Good luck,

Gary
 

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My wife and I like different things, so I think that's kind of important. I really like reaching, hiking ashore and exploring in the dink, she really likes great swimming holes and trying out restaurants. Neither of us like multi day passages or loud drunk neighbours (drunk is fine, but loud we can do without).

We can find most of what we want in our local waters, the 1000 islands and Eastern Lake Ontario. However, we have one big complaint, and that is the length of sailing season, which is only about 6 months. I think somewhere you could sail at least 9 or 10 months a year would be nice.
 

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....it depends upon what you wish to do when you get to those destinations.....
And there...you have it...:)

Chains and groups of islands are naturals.
I think Cortez is also a natural, if in the west US.
How much civilization and how much solitude you enjoy is something to weigh.
Getting a fix of modern conveniences when needed and being able to go Crusoe offers all that's good.
 

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I think somewhere you could sail at least 9 or 10 months a year would be nice.
Come to North Carolina. Just bring your coat, gloves, hat, scarf, tank-top, shorts, and flip-flops....all to wear on the same day.

Last seven days the average low has been 28F(-2C)and average high has been 76F(25C). The two months you won't want to sail here however are July and August.
 

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The 1,000 Islands area is beautiful, but as you stated, the sailing season is very short, six months at best. Keep in mind, though, that in the People's Republic of Maryland, the sailing season runs from about mid April till the end of October, and that's on the good years. So about 7.5 months, in reality, is what we have here. For me, the best place in the US to sail is the Florida Keys, where you can sail year round in beautiful surroundings. Maybe I'm a bit partial to the keys, but it's for good reason. I can sail in comfort, shorts and a tee shirt, flip flops, etc... That, IMHO, is the way sailing was meant to be. And, the winds are always better in the keys. In Chesapeake Bay, all summer long it's 5 to 10 from the southwest. Yuck!

Good luck on your quest,

Gary :cool:
 

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Hi,

I'm starting to think about casting off for long-term cruising and am looking for some advice on ferreting out the best landing spots to recharge, provision, etc.

How do you guys go about choosing the destinations that you'll consider?

What are the resources that you use to make these decisions?

What are the criteria for an excellent cruising destination?

Thank you,

Chris :pirateraft:
I just read this to the admiral and she started laughing and asked as above where are you and what are your quals - how big is the boat - one or two or more - how much experience - where are you getting your weather from - what do you want to do - where have you sailed in the past - what is your budget - oh she just kept going

but really - last summer we sailed all the way around the Black Sea -- we started planning in November and it never stopped until be got back to our winter home in Kusadasi in November - a lot of it depended on weather, timing, site seeing, unexpected surprises -
we are now thinking about this summer sailing season that starts in late April or May and we have something in mind and have begun looking at miles, ports, weather patterns, and where we will spend next winter.

We have started our 10th year out and our 1st year was to make it to the Bahamas and back without sinking the boat. and then up the east coast - we started small and studied and looked and made a bunch of mistakes even though we had a couple of cruisers take us under their wing and helped us a bunch and taught us tons -

And we took our time to learn about our boat and what it needed before we set off for a summer cruiser to the Bay Islands and back and that back never materialized as we just kept moving
 
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I just read this to the admiral and she started laughing and asked as above where are you and what are your quals - how big is the boat - one or two or more - how much experience - where are you getting your weather from - what do you want to do - where have you sailed in the past - what is your budget - oh she just kept going

...
I think only sometimes is the original question worthy of amusement, but not this time. In our case we decided where we wanted to go and THEN matched the boat to the most extreme of the locations. Anywhere less extreme the boat would be fine. Then we made a list of the risks, what we could do to mitigate the risks as much as possible such as skill building, training courses and workshops, crewing, etc. and we continue to fill in the gaps (such as weather, budget, etc.) we need to safely sail where we want to go. In the meantime we sail the boat we currently own and push our envelop more each season and we're still sailing while we get ready for the next adventure.
 

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And there...you have it...:)

Chains and groups of islands are naturals.
I think Cortez is also a natural, if in the west US.
How much civilization and how much solitude you enjoy is something to weigh.
Getting a fix of modern conveniences when needed and being able to go Crusoe offers all that's good.
Personally did not get a boat to hang out in a crowd. Usually prefer secluded anchorages where I can drop the hook. If there is a nearby harbor to restock, refuel and water up when needed that's a bonus.
 

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You've certainly received some weird replies.

The ultimate cruising destination is your idea of "exotic". And that's different for each person individually and culturally.

I am Australian and the Caribbean to me is truly exotic... its as far away from Sydney as possible. However for a Floridian the Caribbean is next door and hardly exotic.

I love New York City its exotic! But most Americans think I am nutzo to love it.

Similarly, many Europeans think Bali in Indonesia is exotic but for an Aussie it's a crap tourist dump.

So work out the places that are exotic to you: maybe the Galapagos, or seeing the Pyramids in Egypt, or Patagonia, the glaciers in the PNW, or a south seas tropical island, a boistress Asian city...

Only you can say what is exotic to you. Sail to as many as you can because each are your ideal cruising destination.

:)

Mark
 

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Some other considerations for long term stays in remote places:

Visas- How long will the country let you stay?
Is there a difference in how long the boat can be in country vs. your personal visa time?
How/when do you get to the next cruising spot in relation to the weather patterns for your visa expiry date?
Access to spare parts. User friendly customs procedures to import parts via fedex/dhl/us post.
Immense amounts of patience will be required to deal with the vagaries and ever changing rules and regs for offshore cruisers..
 

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I have folders on my computer with notes and questions, webinars I've attended. I use Evernote to keep things organized. If there is some place I think might be interesting to sail to I add it to the list, then add others' trip reports/problem reports/recommendations to the list.
Would you mind sharing those details? Possibly a link?

Cheers
 
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