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Old 16-06-2015, 11:25   #1
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Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Hello, I'm new to the forum and fairly new to sailing but I plan on retiring in 8 years and spending several years sailing the Bahamas, the Caribbean and who knows how far. I'm thinking about buying a house in Florida or Puerto Rico (would like to stay in the U.S.) I plan on having a 40-50 boat and a house budget of 300-400k. Being from the Midwest I'm not exactly sure how private docking works, but I obviously would like to own my boat parking and not be in a marina if I can. I know in Florida (keys) there are canals. Would they fit a sailboat that size? When I was in Puerto Rico I didn't see any docks or canals or moorings with boats...does everyone have to use a marina there? I'm also just looking for input on the positives and negatives you see in each place as a home base for sailing. Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 16-06-2015, 11:29   #2
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Check out Palm Coast on the east side of FL. Nice houses on canals and still reasonably priced. No problem with a fifty footer.
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Old 16-06-2015, 15:54   #3
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Only problem with Palm Coast is that it's most of a day to get to an inlet. The nearest are St. Augustine and Ponce.
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Old 16-06-2015, 16:10   #4
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

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Originally Posted by FSMike View Post
Only problem with Palm Coast is that it's most of a day to get to an inlet. The nearest are St. Augustine and Ponce.
Yes certainly not a place for day sailing but OP says he's doing the Bahamas and the Caribbean. It's a great spot for storing a boat in the water. I had my boat there about ten years ago and still stop in to visit friends (there's a good spot to anchor in there too) if I'm on that stretch of the ICW. You can get 6 feet in there most of the time and more at high water.
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Old 16-06-2015, 16:25   #5
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Eight years is a long time, Bret . . . many things will change. Good luck in your dream.
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Old 16-06-2015, 17:44   #6
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Thanks for the replies. I'm thinking south Florida, the keys or Miami area maybe. If I had to go north I would probably aim for ST Petersburg since I have family there. I realize that I might need to buy a house farther inland and use a marina (Miami or Puerto Rico) but it seems so expensive and I would rather pay more upfront for water access. Yes, a lot will change but I plan on buying the house before I retire and I consider it a "plan" more than a "dream" It was a dream when I was young.
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Old 17-06-2015, 06:14   #7
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Bret.
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Old 17-06-2015, 06:32   #8
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

I don't want to discourage you from looking, but finding any type of residence (home or condo) with water access in south FL on a combined boat/residence budget of $300-400K is completely unrealistic. Plan on at least double that for a residence ONLY on the water (canal or otherwise).

However, you have options. For instance, the mooring field at Dinner Key Marina is quite reasonable, as are marinas and private docks up the Miami River. Then you could focus on finding a residence in your price range, but not with water access. These are just Miami examples, and essentially, the further north you go, the cheaper things become.

Good luck. Pete
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Old 17-06-2015, 07:42   #9
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Pete33458's comments on the east coast of Florida may hold true but not so the West Coast which, other than the ease of relatively immediate access to the Bahamas, is a far less desirable cruising ground. From the Tampa Bay area south to Naples, there are many locales that would/could fit your bill. PR has some advantages-our nephew and his wife live in Rincon-but a waterfront home with dock isn't generally one of them. (On the other hand, if you have a "portable" business as does he, there are major tax advantages to being there.) You might take a look at the interactive cruising guide tab at ActiveCaptain.com (registration is free) which, with the aerial photos from Google Earth, with matching charts, will allow you to see the areas you might want to consider.

FWIW...
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Old 17-06-2015, 08:01   #10
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Having lived in south Florida, if I had my choice, I'd try Puerto Rico before I would move back to south Florida (there is probably more English spoken in the PR, too).
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Old 17-06-2015, 08:49   #11
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

FORT LAUDERDALE....... IF anyone has ever lived in the Miami area, FTL is by far the obvious choice! If you were going to consider buying a condo instead, Aventura!
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Old 17-06-2015, 09:02   #12
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

I would be also thinking of Cuba, If you are one of the first in there may be some real good deals.
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Old 17-06-2015, 09:03   #13
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

If you are considering PR, why not go a bit further east to the USVI. I think you could find a house on St. Thomas or St.John with a view of an anchorage where your boat could be moored. You would be on the doorstep of the best cruising area in the hemisphere, IMHO.
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Old 17-06-2015, 09:03   #14
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

Here in Indian Harbour Beach, FL there is nothing on a canal under $500K BUT be aware that thought the canals in front of homes a plenty deep the access to the main canal is only 5' so limiting depth for the whole system is 5'. I was in your position and went merrily looking for homes that had docs and dock depth of 6' ( my draft) till one seller with a sailboat (most canal people are small power boaters) said that the main entrance had a sewer pipe crossing it and hence max draft was 5' Never would have known other wise and realtors by and large aren't into the needs of a large sailboat owner. Russ
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Old 17-06-2015, 11:11   #15
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Re: Home base: Florida or Puerto Rico?

I know that you have mentioned staying in the USA, but consider being an expat.
Like you I searched the USA (by internet and vacations) for a good location to retire with a sailboat.
When I was totally frustrated with the housing costs, building processes, and living costs; I decided to look outside the US.
I looked for English speaking as a primary requirement. Belize is wonderful. Corazol town area was perfect, but my Funds were going to available in lumps but not all together at that point (also not as much as your indicated funds).
Placencia (that is not spelled right sorry) area was too much for our budget.
We eventually purchased on the Island of Roatan. English speaking island, Part of Honduras. Lots of expats, very popular with English speaking; British, Canadian, and a growing US contingent.
I wish you the best in finding the place that best fits your needs and budget.

Jim
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