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Old 18-06-2017, 19:02   #1
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Best year-round sailing in the USA?

I currently live in Milwaukee, WI which has an awesome sailing center with plenty of classes, weekly racing, and club boats that members can use. This is great for the summer, but there is no sailing from approximately Nov - April here.

I'm still quite a newbie, but I learned how to sail an ensign so far and am comfortable as the skipper on that boat in up to 15 knots or so. Plus I can get out pretty frequently on that boat, at least a few times per week.

My long term goal is to eventually do some cruising. First maybe the caribbean, and then I'd like to sail something more ambitious like an ocean crossing or circumnavigate the globe. So I know both of these involve lots more time spent sailing, learning different boats, equipment, etc.

I have a nice salaried job that allows me to work remotely from pretty much anywhere in the US, so I'm thinking of spending the winter months somewhere like San Diego (always liked it there) or Charleston (have family there). The goal would be to allow myself to continue learning and prep for cruising and still keep my job and normal life etc.

Any pointers on what parts of the country would be most conducive to furthering my sailing knowledge and continue to gain experience required to eventually do some cruising?

Thanks!
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Old 18-06-2017, 19:23   #2
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

I sail in SF Bay. Definitely year-round.

A lot of wind, usually on the cool side... expensive housing...
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Old 18-06-2017, 19:39   #3
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

If you can afford it probably Southern California. Housing costs are high as well as taxes. Florida is another option but hurricane season means you need to be prepared; but housing in places can be cheap and low taxes. Same for the Gulf Coast in general.
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Old 18-06-2017, 19:52   #4
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

Hawaii.
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Old 18-06-2017, 19:53   #5
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

San Francisco.

San Francisco is a "world class" sailing city. Reasons?

Wind (SF is the windiest city in the USA in the summer), tides, currents, fog, ship traffic, thousands of boats, thousands of experienced sailors, active racing, yacht clubs and sailing clubs, excellent sailing school (Club Nautique), beautiful scenery, wonderful bay sailing, Pacific Ocean just outside the Golden Gate, beautiful coastline, Mediterranean climate with cool summer temperature (70 degrees in SF day after day), mild winter temperatures (no snow, no extreme cold), no extreme heat, excellent restaurants, many things to do, etc.

I lived there for 8 years and enjoyed sailing there because of the above. The experience was wonderful and so different from typical lake sailing.

I highly recommend it if you want to sail and grow as a sailor (learning), because of the challenging conditions during the summer (wind can be 20-30 knots on some parts of the bay, day after day), and the many opportunities to see or participate in sailing activities (regattas, races, etc.).

There is a "rainy season" in the winter months, and it can rain a lot then (December - January). But, overall the climate is wonderful and the cool summer days in the SF area (near the water) are very nice, like "outside air conditioning" with 70 degrees (or less) days. Very pleasant. Then you can drive a few miles away and feel heat (hot sunny areas).

The downside?
It is expensive to live there.
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Old 18-06-2017, 23:16   #6
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

Santa Barbara. Expensive as can be, but you have Santa Cruz Island staring you right in the face, just begging to be visited by sail.
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Old 18-06-2017, 23:38   #7
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

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Santa Barbara. Expensive as can be, but you have Santa Cruz Island staring you right in the face, just begging to be visited by sail.
Hopefully, your grandfather thought to put you on the waiting list for a marina berth... or has that situation changed since we left California?

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Old 19-06-2017, 00:51   #8
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

The trouble with Southern Cal sailing, is there's no place to go. After you've visited the half dozen or so anchorages... then what? Most harbors like MDR, and Newport Harbor don't allow anchoring or make the logistics impossible. Even Catalina is nearly impossible to anchor off.

So most sailing becomes just out and back day adventures.
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Old 19-06-2017, 01:38   #9
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

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The trouble with Southern Cal sailing, is there's no place to go. After you've visited the half dozen or so anchorages... then what? Most harbors like MDR, and Newport Harbor don't allow anchoring or make the logistics impossible. Even Catalina is nearly impossible to anchor off.

So most sailing becomes just out and back day adventures.
Exactly. And that describes the whole West Coast as far as the Columbia River. That's why so many West Coast cruisers just keep going on down into the Sea of Cortez, and don't come back. Because there's nothing to come back to, except day sails to the Channel Islands, which is really only interesting the first 500 times you do it.

The East Coast is much more interesting, like 50x more interesting, and Florida is pretty warm in the winter, if you hate cold. SW Florida has great gunkholing, and from SE Florida you can easily get into the Bahamas, or go up the East Coast in the summer time. The best cruising in North America, in my opinion, is from Maine on North to Nova Scotia, but that's not year round cruising. But from Florida, you could trek up there in the spring and back in the fall. If I were FORCED to be based in the U.S., that is exactly what I would do.


But none of this holds a candle to cruising in Europe. Anywhere from the UK on South, you can sail year round, and the cruising is totally awesome, with more places to go and things to see then you could hope to do in 10 lifetimes, much less one. Any 100 miles of the UK South Coast, or of North Brittany, is far more interesting than the entire coast of Florida, for me anyway.
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Old 19-06-2017, 02:34   #10
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

But DH, the OP was looking for a place to hone his sailing skills, to learn and improve, not to go cruising. And for that, the SF Bay is damn good, as has been mentioned in posts above.

Cruising destinations are scanty as you say, but that's not what he was seeking.

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Old 19-06-2017, 03:19   #11
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

Annapolis?

Or go for southern NE where you can sail from March thru November, 4 Months of winter storage...or sail to the Caribbean... in the winter.

Store in water and you will find a few days to sail in the winter... or just work in your boat because if you sail 12 months a year your boat might be a bit neglected...
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Old 19-06-2017, 04:07   #12
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

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But DH, the OP was looking for a place to hone his sailing skills, to learn and improve, not to go cruising. And for that, the SF Bay is damn good, as has been mentioned in posts above.

Cruising destinations are scanty as you say, but that's not what he was seeking.

Jim
Yes, who could disagree. If he wants to dinghy racing or just sail around the bay, you'd be hard pressed to find a better place than SF. I did not understand that this is what he's asking about.
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Old 19-06-2017, 05:13   #13
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

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Originally Posted by schmidla View Post
My long term goal is to eventually do some cruising. First maybe the caribbean, and then I'd like to sail something more ambitious like an ocean crossing or circumnavigate the globe. So I know both of these involve lots more time spent sailing, learning different boats, equipment, etc.
Thanks!
It looks to me like OP is asking about more than day dinghy racing.

Circuit racing is great for teaching some skills, but about useless in others. Most racers don't know how to anchor; often, chart reading skills are limited. Weekend gunkholing teaches a number of useful skills.

Year round is relative, since in my area there's a group of nutjobs who sail dinghys in the river while everything else is frozen. There is the NE coast, but let's be frank, even Savannah sailing can be quiet in the deep of winter.

All things considered, Chesapeak Bay is popular, and rightly so. Oriental, NC is apparently a hidden gem. You might have a month or so with limited comfortable sailing, but you'll get a lot more time than on the Great Lakes, and without the attitude and expenses of California.
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Old 19-06-2017, 06:50   #14
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

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San Francisco.

San Francisco is a "world class" sailing city. Reasons?

SNIP

The downside?
It is expensive to live there.
While he probably did not say it folks still claim Mark Twain said The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
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Old 19-06-2017, 07:00   #15
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Re: Best year-round sailing in the USA?

There's always the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club in Madison...

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