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Old 12-09-2011, 00:06   #1
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Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

I'm trying to find a new temporary home for my big cat. I've been in Mexico (La Paz - wonderful place) for a year and now want to find a place (marina/city) in the US/Central America/Carib that I can keep the boat for a year and still get to use it most of the year and not have to put it on the hard during hurricane season.

Any suggestions?

My two top locations are Narraganset Bay (Newport Area) and the Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis Area).

Here are some of priorities:

1. Cruise (i.e. gunk-hole) and don't want to have to dock except at the end of a trip. So islands near the coast are desirable.

2. Fly their easily in a day from the middle of the US.

3. High quality marina that is very safe and mostly free of Hurricanes - i.e. no big insurance premiums.

4. Keep the boat in the water OR have a 50 ton type travelift that can hoist a 28' 4" beam cat.

5. Since I'm only US Documented, I want to minimize any State fees/taxes.
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Old 12-09-2011, 00:46   #2
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Re: Best year round cruising US/Carib

You say that you want to use the boat year-round, but your top two choices have pretty short sailing seasons. The best solution is to move the boat around, as the best sailing spots move with the seasons, and if you stay in one spot the tax men catch up with you. We spent the summer in New England and the winter in the Caribbean for 4 years, and that worked out pretty well. Sounds like you need a captain you can trust to move the boat.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:11   #3
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

We have a delivery captain who can move the boat but that's also expensive. Any place in Florida/Keys that would be good year round? It doesn't have be be 12 months of good weather but 6 months seems too short. I know there is no simple answer, that's why I'm asking for creative suggestions?

Costa Rica on the Pacific side looks geographically interesting but it also seems like a lot of paperwork and potential fees and security issues. Panama didn't look too interesting. Trinadad has the issues of hauling a big cat and safety.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:21   #4
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

If I was commuting I would keep a boat in upper and middle Caribbean in winter and run her down to Curacao and Bonaire for hurricane season. There are big cats at Curacao Marine and Harbour Village in Bonaire in the water in hurricane season.

I have full hurricane insurance, in the water, in Curacao and Bonaire.

Puerto Del Rey in Fajardo Puerto Rico is also an excellent marina to keep a boat in, I left mine there for 5 months without problems.

www.curacaomarine.com
http://www.puertodelrey.com/
http://www.harbourvillage.com

The key to all of these marinas is that they are well run, almost crime free and easily accessible from the US.

San Juan, St Thomas, Curacao and Bonaire are all cheap ($3-400) to fly to from Miami.

It is only 3 days sail to Bonaire from St Thomas and it is often a reach both ways.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:35   #5
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

Since you're already in La Paz, how about doing the Bash up the Baja coast to San Diego or as an alternative Ensanada,Mexico. Southern Califirnia is a great place to cruise with neat places like Catalina Island and the Channel Islands.

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Old 12-09-2011, 14:43   #6
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

I'll put a plug in for the forgotten coast of Florida. While Florida is considered a target for hurricanes, the area around St. Marks/Tallahassee get rare direct hits from hurricanes. The last direct hit came in around St. Joe and most of the damage was from flooding.

The marinas in that area are reasonable and a few (like The Moorings in Carabelle) post thier slip fees on line.

Kick a tire or two, it is worth an internet look.
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Old 12-09-2011, 14:44   #7
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
Since you're already in La Paz, how about doing the Bash up the Baja coast to San Diego or as an alternative Ensanada,Mexico. Southern Califirnia is a great place to cruise with neat places like Catalina Island and the Channel Islands.

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Old 12-09-2011, 15:03   #8
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

For us, the top spot would be the PNW (Seattle to Prince Rupert) - you can sail all year long, with wonderful destinations, and its not too crowded (go a bit north during the busy summer season).
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Old 12-09-2011, 16:29   #9
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
For us, the top spot would be the PNW (Seattle to Prince Rupert) - you can sail all year long, with wonderful destinations, and its not too crowded (go a bit north during the busy summer season).
I'd have to agree with the cruising in the PNW being great but if you like swimming and surfing and other water sports it leaves a little to be desired. Seems to me that the best thing to do is to have two boats in two different locations.
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Old 12-09-2011, 16:37   #10
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agility View Post
I'm trying to find a new temporary home for my big cat. I've been in Mexico (La Paz - wonderful place) for a year and now want to find a place (marina/city) in the US/Central America/Carib that I can keep the boat for a year and still get to use it most of the year and not have to put it on the hard during hurricane season.

Any suggestions?

My two top locations are Narraganset Bay (Newport Area) and the Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis Area).

Here are some of priorities:

1. Cruise (i.e. gunk-hole) and don't want to have to dock except at the end of a trip. So islands near the coast are desirable.

2. Fly their easily in a day from the middle of the US.

3. High quality marina that is very safe and mostly free of Hurricanes - i.e. no big insurance premiums.

4. Keep the boat in the water OR have a 50 ton type travelift that can hoist a 28' 4" beam cat.

5. Since I'm only US Documented, I want to minimize any State fees/taxes.
You don't have to put it on the hard during hurricane season. You just have to have a viable option in case one comes.

Tampa Bay hasn't had a direct hit in somethng like 78 years. Doesn't mean it will never happen, so you do have to have a plan. The other area of Florida that is rarely hit is Jacksonville, but it's markedly colder there in the winter. In Tampa Bay there are very few days that are so cold that you really wouldn't want to sail. Most of the cooler winter days it's a matter of whether you want to wear warm clothing. We did have a very cold snap last winter, but it was around Christmas -- often many other things to do then.
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Old 12-09-2011, 19:51   #11
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
If I was commuting I would keep a boat in upper and middle Caribbean in winter and run her down to Curacao and Bonaire for hurricane season. There are big cats at Curacao Marine and Harbour Village in Bonaire in the water in hurricane season.

The key to all of these marinas is that they are well run, almost crime free and easily accessible from the US.

San Juan, St Thomas, Curacao and Bonaire are all cheap ($3-400) to fly to from Miami.
This scenarios really looks interesting. Curacao Marine seems like it handles cats well with the Roodberg towed slipway trailer but I can't tell about the docs from the pictures. Do you leave the boat in the water or just on the hard?

How is the cruising grounds in the ABC's? Seems like they could be very good?
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Old 13-09-2011, 06:24   #12
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

I would suggest Shelter Bay Marina in Colon Panama. Hurricane free, and the San Blas are right there all year around. The Pacific side of Costa Rica wouldn't be my choice. No facilities, and everything is expensive, or not available. Once on the northern side of the canal. Everything is available to you when cane season passes, and within a short distance.......i2f
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Old 13-09-2011, 06:53   #13
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I second Tampa bay for year round sailing. Terrific hurricane hole and weather is very warm in summer but awesome the rest of the time.
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Old 13-09-2011, 09:30   #14
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

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Originally Posted by Dkdoyle View Post
I second Tampa bay for year round sailing. Terrific hurricane hole and weather is very warm in summer but awesome the rest of the time.
Even though I am in the process of looking for both real estate and then a boat in the Tampa Bay areas, there are some caveats.

Although I agree that Tampa Bay is protected most of the time, and hasn't been hit by a Cat 4-5 since 1921, disaster preparedness advise that if one was to hit, the catastrophe would be significantly worse than anything that Katrina dished out.

Take a look at the flood zones in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Where do you go if you get a Gulf Cat 4-5 that swings in from the SW?
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Old 13-09-2011, 09:34   #15
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Re: Best Year-Round Cruising - US / Caribbean

For the last two hurricane seasons we have based ourselves in Bonaire and Curacao but sailed to Los Roches, the Aves and Aruba.

If we were leaving the boat in the water we would probably leave it at Harbour Village in Bonaire but Curacao Marine would probably be safer if a hurricane came near.

If you are scuba divers then the diving is fantastic. In Bonaire you can dive from the back of the boat on the town moorings.

http://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1...w=1366&bih=667
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