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Old 20-05-2014, 14:30   #1
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A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

Hi All,

My wife, myself, and our 14yo daughter are longtime lurkers who have lived in a landlocked state our entire lives. We've decided that learning to sail and cruising are how we'd like to spend the second half of our lives, but opportunities even for regular sailing are few and far between where we currently live.

We'll be on vacation in Destin, FL the second week of June and we would LOVE to meet a cruising or liveaboard couple just to hang out with for a few hours, ask questions, and see a boat in person as neither of us have been on anything larger than 20' and never one that's been in salt water. We're thinking we'll end up in a monohull boat between 30-35', so ideally that's what we'd like to see but we'd be open to anything.

We'd be happy to bring a 12-pack along to share!

OR, even better, we would LOVE to actually go sailing. Chartering a boat for a day from a commercial outfit is out of our price range, not to mention finding a captain who would be willing to let us watch over their shoulder, pull a rope or two, and ask questions. But we thought maybe there would be a cruising couple who would be willing to trade us their time for a day - we're hoping for an experience as visceral as possible, (we're planning on dirtbagging it, mostly) and we aren't concerned with certifications or licenses etc. More like trying to meet new friends for a day, where we can help add to the month's Diesel budget in exchange for time, knowledge and company.

A little about us: We're both mid-30's, and have spent our lives in the mountains backpacking, rock climbing, and skiing. We're athletic and crave adventure. We feel the call of the ocean and we have 3+ years before our ties here are complete and we can pack up and head for the coast!

Let us know if you might be interested in hanging out with us for a day!

Thanks,
Miles and Molly
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Old 29-05-2014, 12:08   #2
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

Bump.
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Old 29-05-2014, 12:19   #3
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

I keep a 38' Island Packet in Panama City. We are not liveaboard, nor do we cruise yet so we cannot help you there. There are a few that liveaboard in our marina though.
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Old 29-05-2014, 12:40   #4
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

Thanks for the reply!!

I hadn't heard of an Island Packet before - added to my boats-to-research list!

If you'd be interested in letting us tag along for a day sail we would love to discuss further. We had thought about just wandering around a marina to look at boats and see if we could meet anyone to talk about Sailing with, I'm not sure how well it would go over, but worth a shot!
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Old 29-05-2014, 12:53   #5
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

I can't guarantee anything, largely because I can't guarantee the weather etc.
Wandering around and talking is I think the time honored way for both aircraft and boats,
BUT in this day and age aircraft and boats seem to usually be behind locked gates and inaccessible.
Pity as used to be a kid could wash an airplane and get a ride, airplane owner got his airplane washed, kid got a ride. Now kid can't get through the CBP / Homeland Security gate, and owner is afraid he will be sued if he gives kid a ride. Not as bad with boats, but seems more and more that marinas are secured, I know mine is, so you could walk around and look at boats from a distance, but your not getting to the boats to talk to the people on them. Seems to be sort of the norm now.
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Old 29-05-2014, 12:58   #6
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

You might want to check out this web site. Email one or more of the yacht clubs and ask if any of their members would be interested in chatting with you, or what ever.

Yacht Clubs of the World
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Old 29-05-2014, 13:34   #7
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

a64pilot - It seemed to me that looking and asking questions would be the way to go, (that's how I learned to climb and met my first climbing buddies) but you're right I'm sure there's security issues with something as valuable and personal as a boat, I didn't think about that and it certainly makes sense. If the stars align, feel free to PM me as we'd definitely be interested in discussing further.

tomfl - That's a great idea, didn't think about that! Thank you for link!
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Old 29-05-2014, 17:16   #8
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

M&M,

I can't speak for Florida since we have been on the other side of the world for years, but wherever we have been, if you are decently attired, have a youngster with you and ask politely, folks are likely to let you through the gates of marinas for a sticky-beak.

And most yotties love to talk about their boats and to show them off. Getting a ride... well, that will depend on how well you get on with your "victim", and whether they were going sailing that day. Ann and I have had numerous dock-walkers aboard for a cuppa and a chat, but to be honest, we haven't ever taken one for a sail. However, we are not habitual marina dwellers. If we are in a marina, it is usually because we have jobs to do on board, and we're not in sailing mode, so you may strike it lucky.

And FWIW, if we were in Fla, we'd probably take you out for a sail... being from a landlocked area is a harsh penalty... I get antsy if I get more than a few miles from salt water! So, good luck with your quest.

Jim
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Old 30-05-2014, 10:59   #9
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

I agree with what was said above, catching a ride is not all that common really, I know it sounds strange, but just the way it is. We have long since stopped inviting business friends out as it gets complicated in addition when we leave the dock its not for a day sail but out for a few days. Good luck, start by chatting it up and like others have said, maybe get lucky when they are heading out and they invite you along. All the best.
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Old 30-05-2014, 11:07   #10
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

Grabbing lunch at a dockside pub is usually a good way to meet the locals, chat them up & find out what is available in the area. Some people with boats actually look for people to crew so that they can go out for a sail & not work so hard. Of course, you need to let your better instincts be your guide & not take a ride with someone who seems less than competent. Those people do exist.
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Old 30-05-2014, 11:20   #11
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

I wonder if you could change your vacation plans to Pensacola or Pensacola Beach. There actually may be more docks there, and it would be cheaper on the mainland anyway. I think the Hampton Inn Airport is between like $125.00 and $150.00 a night. I used to walk the docks and checkout the boats quite a bit there.

On Pensacola Beach, there's a place the young folks (20's and 30's) stay for like $70.00 a night. If interested, I could probably find out the name of the place from my son. Plus I know a couple guys there with sailboats that I may be able to hook you up with.

Destin is about 45 miles or an hour and a half drive East of Pensacola.(highway 98 is quite busy with lots of stop lights these days)

If you do still go to Destin, there's also Ft Walton Beach which is about 8 miles West.

I have yet to see a sailor that wouldn't talk sailing at any dock if asked about it by an interested party.
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Old 30-05-2014, 11:21   #12
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

We will take them out for a short sail, if the Wx is good etc.,
Just don't want to misrepresent myself, I'm a beginner sailor and a cruiser wannabe, so there is not much wisdom I can share, it would be like going for a car ride with a 16yr old.
My belief is that there are far fewer cruisers in the Gulf of Mexico, especially in the Fl Panhandle than in other places
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Old 30-05-2014, 11:42   #13
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
We will take them out for a short sail, if the Wx is good etc.,
Just don't want to misrepresent myself, I'm a beginner sailor and a cruiser wannabe, so there is not much wisdom I can share, it would be like going for a car ride with a 16yr old.
My belief is that there are far fewer cruisers in the Gulf of Mexico, especially in the Fl Panhandle than in other places
Actually, I'm thinking there are lots of cruisers and racers along there. There is a place on the west side (gulf side) of the Destin Bridge that some cruiser always seems to get for an anchorage. I made a mental note in 1997 that if I ever bought a monohull and cruised in that area in my later years , I'd anchor in that spot.

They usually race to Mexico once a year out of Pensacola also, and the Ft Walton Beach Yacht Club has lots of races as does the Pensacola Beach and Pensacola Yacht Clubs.

I have observed lots of racers and cruisers as I/we passed them during multiple Catamaran Races at different venues from Panama City, FL to Biloxi, MS.
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Old 30-05-2014, 12:12   #14
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

Cruisers boats, or at least wanna be cruisers boats seem to stick out a little with their solar, extra fuel and water jugs etc. I saw many more of those on the East coast when I was bringing my boat down, plus when I was looking.
The Emerald coast seems to be where where the older Huntercatabelinas go to die, or maybe it's more a matter of the east coast and Southern Fl being a lot more affluent than the Panhandle is. Most people you run into in the Panhandle either live there or are withing a couple hundred miles of home, almost no one in Southern Fl is originally from there.
The Panhandle seems to have suffered from the economy along with most of the rest of the country, South Fl seems immune, lot of the 1% there.

So maybe there are a lot of cruisers, maybe they just aren't as visible?
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Old 30-05-2014, 12:18   #15
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Re: A Day with Destin, FL area Cruisers

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Cruisers boats, or at least wanna be cruisers boats seem to stick out a little with their solar, extra fuel and water jugs etc. I saw many more of those on the East coast when I was bringing my boat down, plus when I was looking.
The Emerald coast seems to be where where the older Huntercatabelinas go to die, or maybe it's more a matter of the east coast and Southern Fl being a lot more affluent than the Panhandle is. Most people you run into in the Panhandle either live there or are withing a couple hundred miles of home, almost no one in Southern Fl is originally from there.
The Panhandle seems to have suffered from the economy along with most of the rest of the country, South Fl seems immune, lot of the 1% there.

So maybe there are a lot of cruisers, maybe they just aren't as visible?
Okay, as compared to Southern Florida I guess the Panhandle really doesn't compare.

My experience was the Panhandle from '96 through most of 2008. I came down from Memphis so it seemed like a lot of cruisers to me!
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