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Old 20-09-2015, 09:15   #16
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

Consider all waters from Pass Christian MS to Panama City FL. MS has great sailing and barrier islands, Mobile Bay has 10' of water everywhere with plenty of anchorages toward Dauphin Island, ICW to Pensacola is a nice trip with a lot of anchorages and plenty of sailing areas. Pensacola Bay is huge. Consider the Niceville, Fort Walton Beach area for the Choctawhatchee Bay which is 27 miles east/west and 10 miles north/south with 25' of water everywhere. Good clean water, no shipping lanes and affordable relative to other areas. From Ill. consider MS for closeness and affordability.
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Old 20-09-2015, 09:35   #17
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

If you are looking for warm water and sandy beaches then I guess you go south. If you are looking for good sailing across a broad variety of conditions with a fraction of the drive why not put the boat in the Great Lakes for a season?
I grew up on Lakes Erie, and Ontario, and I promise if you can sail "The Lakes" you can deal with the Gulf or the SE Coast.
I know it's a short season, but after the first summer if you still feel the need for salt water put it on a trailer and take her south......OR sailer her dow the Muddy. Talk about history, and culture of all kinds!
Back in the 70's I moved from Lake Ontario to SW Florida. The locals were not all that impressed at first, but when they understood my Great Lakes experience it was different. Same with the Coast Guard when I applied and tested for my Captains Lic.
Either way......just sai something and let us know how it all plays out for you.
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Old 20-09-2015, 09:47   #18
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomken2 View Post
Consider all waters from Pass Christian MS to Panama City FL. MS has great sailing and barrier islands, Mobile Bay has 10' of water everywhere with plenty of anchorages toward Dauphin Island, ICW to Pensacola is a nice trip with a lot of anchorages and plenty of sailing areas. Pensacola Bay is huge. Consider the Niceville, Fort Walton Beach area for the Choctawhatchee Bay which is 27 miles east/west and 10 miles north/south with 25' of water everywhere. Good clean water, no shipping lanes and affordable relative to other areas. From Ill. consider MS for closeness and affordability.
Huge is relative. I'm thinking 8 miles on the diagonal from Bayou Grande. I still let the kids sail across it though with only a couple instances when they got caught in weather. Of course, the worst storm occurred when my son (skipper, age 15 with a mouth full of braces. See picture on my page here) had a 14 year old and a 12 year old as crew. One person on a windsurfer was killed by a lightning strike about 2 miles from where they were.

Horn Island and Ship Island off the Mississippi Coast are fun spots to sail to also. We used to race to them, eat chicken, drink beer, then race back. Sometimes as many as 44 boats. For some reason, there were more pitchpoles on the spinnaker run back.

I'm thinking it was the wind
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Old 20-09-2015, 09:56   #19
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

I grew up in the Fort Walton Beach area and learned to sail on Choctawhatchee Bay and in the Gulf. In the summers the thunderstorms happen pretty reliably every afternoon. As others have mentioned, it is very hot in the summer. I went back to the area with my kids a few years ago in June, and frankly, I had fogotten how hot it is. My parents lived in Savannah (Skidaway Island) for seventeen years, and I lived in Savannah for a year. From my perspective, the Atlantic coast is more interesting than the Panhandle, but that's me. I enjoy taking the dinghy and exploring inlets, and there's lot's of that kind of thing to do along the GA and SC coasts, or you can get out in the Atlantic for real sailing. It comes down to personal preference, but I would vote for Savannah. Plus, if you eventually move up to a larger boat, you can go down the ICW (or outside) and then cross to the Bahamas. Or go north on the ICW, and there are a lot of interesting towns to stop at.
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Old 20-09-2015, 09:59   #20
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

I live off of Choctawhatchee Bay in the Destin/Ft Walton Beach/Niceville area.
LOVE IT HERE! Lots of docks available. Good access to cruise east to Panama City / St Andrews Bay and on to Port St Joe and Apalachicola offshore or via ICW. Going west, Pensacola Bay, Perdido Keys, Mobile Bay, and Mississippi Sound. Many great destinations NOT CROWDED lots of options.

We've been here 30 years. Learned to race, then cruise on our
66 Coronado 25 , then 72 Catalina 22, then 85 Cal 27. Just bought our
"retirement" boat - 79 Pearson 365 Sloop. Our destinations for the first few
years are this area - Miss Sound to Appalachicola - then on to south west Florida to the Tortugas and Keys. Who knows after that

Our Cal 27 is available in the area.

cal-27-ver-1

Feel free to contact us offline for more detailed info on the area
if you would like

Joe
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:00   #21
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

Check out port st joe. It's really beautiful and protected. Plenty of anchorages and easy acess to the ICW or the Gulf.
Have fun and happy sailing.
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Old 20-09-2015, 15:38   #22
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

Hey Joe,

I see you are in Val-p; grew up in Niceville, and I have a Pearson 367 (cutter version of the 365); how's that for small world? We should maybe keep in touch, because I'm doing a re-fit on my boat, and most things on the 367 are the same as on the 365. First on the list is new stanchions and lifelines, then AIS, then new teak rails.

John
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Old 21-09-2015, 07:21   #23
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

kind of a no-brainer. Savannah is a neat tourist city but has urban prices and offers limited day sailing. Pensacola and the Gulf coast offers lots of sailing adventures at rural Florida prices but no gourmet dining.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:12   #24
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

savannah is a beautiful and friendly old city but not so much to do in the muddy water. the tides are huge with lots of currents and oyster filled marshes. bug problems and heat in the summer. both areas could be a hurricane problem but savannah has a better record. the thunderbolt marina might be your best bet in savannah. also check out isle of hope or hilton head or beaufort in SC to live aboard.
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Old 21-09-2015, 08:27   #25
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

Concur with A64Pilot. Look at a chart and you'll see its up a river. Not much room for wandering. On the other hand, River Street can keep you entertained nicely on rainy days!
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Old 21-09-2015, 20:32   #26
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Re: Panhandle or Southeast Coast

It sounds like the panhandle is where we are going to look. The next step is to scope marinas. The people on CF are such great resources. Thank you. I will keep you posted.


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