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Old 05-02-2017, 07:56   #1
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Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this?

I'm considering retirement options for the future and my thought is to live aboard in a Toronto marina in the summer and migrate to Florida/Bahamas/Cuba every winter. My wife is my crew on a 40 foot boat that would have a draft of 5' and mast height no greater that 56'.

Is there anyone doing this? There will be days and days of extended motoring in canals and ICW. I suspect the engine may wear out prematurely with a yearly migration like this.

I would like some feedback from others whom have done this migration at least once.

Thanks
Todd
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:15   #2
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

In 2011/12 my wife and I made the trip S from Nova Scotia where we bought a sailboat. We met dozens of Canadian sailboat-based snowbirds along the ICW and in the Bahamas. One issue for you is your mast height - there are some bridges that virtually all sailboats have to open-but if they open no problem; new fixed bridges along the ICW have a design height of 55' and yours is 56' so maybe some creating listing can be arranged - otherwise you will have to go outside. Your draft is ok - but just barely - I found the muddy bottom in a couple of places with a draft just a couple inches under 5'. You can find ICW cruising guides with all of the bridge info. and notes on shallow spots. Also, there was some severe silting in the northern part of the ICW recently due to a hurricane last year so everyone will be going outside unless there are alternative routes or repairs. Good luck with your new lifestyle - I think you will enjoy it and find lots of friends along the way.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:36   #3
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

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Originally Posted by PaulSommers View Post
snip; new fixed bridges along the ICW have a design height of 55' and yours is 56' snip.
Hi Paul. I think your memory might be a bit fuzzy on this. Published "standard" for minimum bridge height on the ICW is 65'. Even if a few are slightly less, 56' should be no problem.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:49   #4
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

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Hi Paul. I think your memory might be a bit fuzzy on this. Published "standard" for minimum bridge height on the ICW is 65'. Even if a few are slightly less, 56' should be no problem.
In Florida there are lots of rivers/lakes connected to the ICW going inland where the cheaper marinas are that have bridges of 55', 54', and lower. Lots of folks store their boats well inland to reduce possible hurricane damage, and because even if you can find some place to haul out on the cost the price is often double or triple of what you would pay inland.

There are also on going construction projects which can close bridges for weeks, possibly months, at a time. Another consideration is things seem to be changing fast in Cuba. Since Obama "opened up Cuba" I have seen claims that prices for boaters have tripled. One reason Florida has so many boats is how easy it is to get work done and the parts that may be needed to do the work. Even something like a simple pressure wash for a haul out, which is trivial in Florida can be a no go once you get out of the US.

My advice would be to buy a good AC and keep the boat in Florida/Bahamas/Cuba and South year round. It is easy to get a plane to fly back to Canada if you feel the need.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:58   #5
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

Plenty of people have done that, and , no your engine wont wear out. It seems like a great plan to me.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:52   #6
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

Check your private messages, for some info.
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:02   #7
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

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Hi Paul. I think your memory might be a bit fuzzy on this. Published "standard" for minimum bridge height on the ICW is 65'. Even if a few are slightly less, 56' should be no problem.
Yeah, 56 will get you most places on the coast. You cant go from Lauderdale to Miami on the ICW, but that's a fun sail around the outside anyway. For FL and Bahamas I would stick to the 5 ft draft though.
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:14   #8
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

Sounds like you may not have the boat?
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Old 06-02-2017, 03:55   #9
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Todd.
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Old 06-02-2017, 05:05   #10
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

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Sounds like you may not have the boat?
I ask because I know of the perfect boat for that, and no it's not mine
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Old 06-02-2017, 06:18   #11
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

Some people love doing the ICW and some hate it (I am in the latter group). You won't know until you actually do it.
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Old 06-02-2017, 06:48   #12
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

Thanks to everyone who replied. Your input is appreciated.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:09   #13
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

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............... new fixed bridges along the ICW have a design height of 55' and yours is 56' so maybe some creating listing can be arranged -.
Nope, it's 65'. And that's at high tide so the clearance is usually more than that. There are a few near Miami, FL that don't measure up, the rest do.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:12   #14
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

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Plenty of people have done that, and , no your engine wont wear out. It seems like a great plan to me.
Plenty of people make the trip twice a year. You should expect to get thousands of hours from a properly maintained diesel engine. No worry.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:15   #15
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Re: Live aboard Snowbirds - Toronto to Florida yearly migration. Is anyone doing this

It has been a few years but I had a place on the ICW in SC and would see what looked like parades of sailboats flying the Canadian flag go by. Spring north fall south.
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