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Old 14-12-2011, 19:43   #1
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late start - heading south from South Carolina

Long time reader, first time poster,

Heres the run-down... Im a somewhat experienced sailor (cruising courses, coastal nav., lake sailor, etc.) who now owns a 30 foot, shoal draft sloop with inboard diesel engine.

Currently the boat is in the Myrtle Beach / Little River area so thats the starting point in late December - I know I want to head down south where its warmer but Im wondering on my Destination? I want to spend the next couple of months doing some work on the boat and getting to know it (and myself) a bit more before heading to some off shore or extended cruising adventures. What Im looking for is a home port that I can live at, do some work on the boat, and head out for some day-sailing when I can.

Also, Im a 36 year old single male that's not a loner so some small metropolis location would be nice.

Another option is to promptly pop the boat on a trailer and go to the Gulf side of Florida or Texas? I have the truck and the boat is transportable by trailer (not easy, but doable).

Thanks in advance for the words of wisdom,

-Graden
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Old 14-12-2011, 20:33   #2
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

If your boat is in sc its not really late to head south think about the keys great place to start Do you want to b at a dock or on the hook?
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Old 15-12-2011, 05:38   #3
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

Welcome, Graden. Marathon comes to mind...great community, easy access to stores, etc.... I'm sure you'll get lots of other suggestions. Have a great time!
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Old 15-12-2011, 06:50   #4
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

Im with waterway guide. Marathon aka boot key is very boater friendly and has most everything you d need in a compact bicycle friendly area. I made the same trip in November from charleston. Ive done it about a half dozen times and have good overnite stops if your interested. Are you travelling solo?
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Old 15-12-2011, 20:10   #5
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

Graden, I've never actually sailed in the keys but it is probably a nice place to spend the winter. There are mooring fields all around FL now, best I can tell they are around $300 a month, maybe $250 and includes pump out, dinghy docks, showers. Dinner Plate Key is one IIRC

Fernandina has one such mooring field, and is close to Cumberland Island, somewhere I like to spend time. I would grab the cruising guides and charts and start heading south if you've the freedom to do so. Forget the trailer and go across the Okeechobee waterway (after checking water levels, which I presume are fine now) and cruise the west coast of FL. I bought my boat there and sailed her home to NC, but thought it would be a nice place in the winter. MAybe by the end of the winter you'll be feeling confident and you can have a little gulf stream run N.

I think municipalities are starting to tax more now, so watch out for taxes if you stay put somewhere for a while.

You might get some really nice weather this year, never know. It has been in the 60's here in the mountains of NC so it must have been nice in coastal SC. Get ready for a winter camping experience and head south. I don't know what that nimble draws, but I'd sure anchor back in Cape Romain and harvest some oysters when you start your journey.

Unless you're feeling pretty rugged, or have a good heat source on the boat, you're going to want to tie up and plug in a little heater. I have a "heater buddy" on my boat, and don't tie up or plug in, it just costs too much.
even the heater buddy is expensive to run, with the gas canisters. Shouldn't have to worry too much about all that several degrees south in latitude.

Chase
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Old 16-12-2011, 16:00   #6
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

Here's what I think. You can drive to the Florida Keys anytime you like. You can never drive to the Bahamas, but you can sail there in your boat. I would MUCH rather spend winter in the Bahamas than in Florida. Spread your wings. Good luck to you.
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Old 22-12-2011, 07:29   #7
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

So, I have nothing but options?.... sounds great to me! - I really have no schedule so I guess I'll meander on down the coast and see what presents itself ..

Chase, I like your suggestion about cutting through Florida - and I'll definitely check out Cumberland Island on the way down. And yes, I'm not afraid of a little winter camping - 3 days ago I was shoveling snow and it was 10F outside back home - anything above freezing is heaven! and the weather in Myrtle Beach has been fantastic so far...

Forsailbyowner, I'd be totally be interested in some of your anchorage suggestions!

Thanks for all the suggestions !

-Graden
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Old 22-12-2011, 08:00   #8
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We r in Charleston. Moving right after Christmas. Weather has been mild. Keep heading south. We may even see you on the water.
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Old 25-12-2011, 09:04   #9
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

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Originally Posted by svpattyd View Post
We r in Charleston. Moving right after Christmas. Weather has been mild. Keep heading south. We may even see you on the water.
We're in New Bern, moving south on the 29th of December. Maybe we'll meet up. Second Chance 43 Mason
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Old 25-12-2011, 09:15   #10
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

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Originally Posted by Pondera View Post
. . . Also, I’m a 36 year old single male that's not a loner so some small metropolis location would be nice. . . . -Graden
I think the above is the "key" phrase in your question of "best places." With this in mind, I would suggest "Miami - Coconut Grove (this is where Dinner Key Marina is located) for a "happening" place and with great access to all of Miami's stores, marine suppliers and city night life.
- - Next would be Key West - which can be a really a crazy, wild place if you are into that sort of stuff.
- - Then Marathon - Florida Keys - as a "friendly, comfortable" place to hang out, but less than stellar when it comes to "meeting" potential companions.
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Old 26-12-2011, 08:09   #11
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Re: late start - heading south from South Carolina

We actually set off from Myrtle Beach (Osprey Marina) in mid January last year on our way to the Bahamas. First place that was warm enough to switch from long pants to shorts was St. Augustine. Relatively cheap dockage available and easy access to supplies/parts/services. Was not clear how far south you want to go but this location worked for us for a a few days while we fixed our RO etc. There were a few "live-a boards" at the River Edge Marina and the bar was easy staggering distance!!
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