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View Poll Results: Where would you homeport if you were in our shoes?
Monterey Bay, CA 7 31.82%
Northern Chesapeake Bay, MD 10 45.45%
Neither one really turns me on! 2 9.09%
Either one is equally great! 3 13.64%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 20-07-2010, 22:20   #1
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Monterey Bay, CA or Chesapeake Bay, MD ?

Hi folks,

I need the collective option on this: Within the next year my family will have to move from our beloved PNW. We will greatly miss it up here, as it is truly a fantastic place to explore and its beauty is just amazing. I have the strong feeling one day we will return, but as for the present...

From a sailing/cruising perspective which would you pick if you were given a choice of a home port; Monterey Bay, CA or Chesapeake Bay, nothern MD?

A little about us: We live-aboard with our two kids 2 and 4. We try to get out as much as possible, and really enjoy if nothing else leaving for the weekend. I'd say in an average month we get underway 3 out of 4 weekends, and usually do 3-4 longer trips as vacation time allows. The PNW is perfect for this, as there are so many places to travel to in just a day sail!

Our thoughts: It seems that Chesapeake Bay would be better suited to the type of boating we do now, and we do have most of our friends and family over there as well. However, Monterey Bay has a much milder weather, is within a long weekend striking distance of SF Bay, and IMO would give us some prime sailing experience. The negatives I see for Chesapeake Bay are the weather (hot and cold), and the $$ to truck the boat across country (a decent percentage of which will be paid for as part of our move). The negative we see for Monterey Bay is that from looking at Google Earth it just doesn't seem that there are a lot of places within striking distance from there apart from SF Bay area.

Of course a lot of other factors will play into our decision, but we love our current lifestyle so much that sailing and local cruising is a very important piece of the puzzle. So, where would you go in our shoes, Monterey Bay or Chesapeake Bay???

Many thanks for your opinions!!

Frank and Jody

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Old 20-07-2010, 23:35   #2
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My 'home' is Monterey. I know about your PNW. About the Chesapeake I know nothing except the dismal winter, dismal summers.

You are correct. There are few easy destinations available to Monterey, Santa Cruz and Moss Landing sailors. There's those three marinas and near Santa Cruz and Pebble Beach/Stillwater near Monterey. Used to live summers at Stillwater. $20,000 boat anchored among $10,000,000,000 worth of mansions. (Google Earth 36 33.8N 121 56.6W) The cruising in Monterey Bay will be disappointing for you as far as destinations. But the locals are loving the humpbacks, dolphins and Blue Whale right now. And you can sail year-round. Santa Cruz is the better day-sailing venue. Monterey is prettier.

The Channel Islands are an easy two day sail down the coast. But coming back can often be a test of patience due to the NW weather. I sail to Mexico every fall and back every spring.

The marinas have infinite waiting lists. But you can stay as transients. Check the rates. You can downwind coast there from the PNW no problem.

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Old 21-07-2010, 02:06   #3
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Sounds like you pretty much nailed it — weather vs. cruising locations. I love visiting Monterey and San Francisco. But sailing in the Chesapeake is like none other. If you stretched out the shoreline, the distance is equal to going across country and back. There are literally thouands of anchorages and a great variety of interesting and historic places to explore.

Good luck with your decision.
- Dennis Jay
Annapolis, MD • USA
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Old 21-07-2010, 04:47   #4
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Originally Posted by GeoPowers View Post
It seems that Chesapeake Bay would be better suited to the type of boating we do now...
I didn’t vote, mostly because I have zero knowledge about California – however, your preliminary assessment of the Chesapeake seems largely correct… either place can be expensive for liveaboards I’d imagine, although there are some smaller, rural marinas on the Bay that are more reasonable – just a question of where you need to live for your work… depending on how far north you’re thinking about on the Chesapeake, you’ll either be in the Annapolis/Baltimore area which is quite heavily trafficked or if farther north, somewhat less populated but also less sailing room… It is pretty rare for the Chesapeake to have heavy ice, but the tributaries can ice on coolish winters like last year… Hurricanes do visit the Chesapeake ever 10-15 years, but there are no shortage of hurricane holes and I’ve never had any damage from any of `em…

Worry: misuse of imagination…
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Old 21-07-2010, 04:58   #5
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Ice and hurricanes, I forgot about those. And to think I was going to gripe about the fogs in Central California.

So original poster GeoPowers, what's the story? New job? Navy?
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Old 21-07-2010, 05:13   #6
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Old 21-07-2010, 05:19   #7
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I didn't vote either. That is a choice I would not like to make. I would point out the existance of the California franchise board. They love boats....... don't know if Maryland has a comparable entity. I work in the east and live in PNW. Never relocated just couldn't do it. Good luck with the decision.

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Old 21-07-2010, 05:32   #8
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We sailed the west coast of CA out of SF for 3 years and now live in the Chesapeake and would choose the Chesapeake for what you are doing but just barely.

The summers are hot and you need AC. We tried it without it but had to put in a window unit just to survive this last two weeks. The rivers are full of jellyfish right now but from what I understand you don't see them in the spring and fall when the weather is perfect for boating and just living aboard. I even like the winters if you keep the boat heated year round and don't have to deal with winterizing. Except for the hard freeze/snow of Feb this year we like being on the boat all winter. A good diesel heater (something we never thought we needed either) is the most important part of the boat in the winter.

There is really too much to see and do around here and we are just getting started so I can't give advice as to what to do just as to how many options there are. SF was great and if you were in the Bay or further south (from Santa Barbara down) I would change my recs but Monterrey was not quite as accessible to us and we wouldn't have wanted to have to use that as a home base.

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Old 21-07-2010, 05:48   #9
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I am in Santa Cruz and the weather is really great. We sail all year. Summers are 65-75 degrees with morning fog that clears by noon. Winds are usually 10-20 knots. Winters are 55-65 degrees, no fog, winds 15-25 knots. The California Coast has very low humidity and not alot of insects. Because of the Japanese current the water here is cold. 55 degrees in the winter 60 degrees in the summer. swimming is with a wetsuit.
Halfmoon Bay is 10 hours north. San Francisco Bay is 16 hours north. Morro Bay is 20 hours south. Channel Islands 40 hours south. Sea of Cortez 15 days south. Hawaii 20 days west.
The Monterey Bay is more like a bight than a bay. Sailing here is really deep water open ocean sailing.
Both Santa Cruz and Monterey harbors have waiting lists for perminent slip assignments (10-15 years). At Moss Landing (middle of the bay) there are slips available right away.
All the best, Liam.
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Old 21-07-2010, 06:04   #10
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Looks like it is down to how many months of the year you want to sail. I from the Bay Area, and it would be my choice, because you can sail all year. Although the Chesapeake, by looking at the charts, and reading the local's writings. Sure does seem to have a lifetime of exploring nooks, and crannies........i2f
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Old 21-07-2010, 06:07   #11
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Liam is correct about Monterey Bay being rather open to weather. I lived there for a couple years as a kid. The climate sure beats the upper Chesapeake (I say as I'm home from work babysitting the central air conditioning contractors running ductwork thru my 80 year old house).

Three things about the Chesapeake:
1. Unless you really, really want to spend the money to be right in Annapolis, slips are usually available.
2. Chesapeake is a base for other cruising, f'rinstance, upper bay to New York Harbor is comparable to Monterey to S.F.
3. On the other hand, July and August tend to be horrible for sailing, no wind, biting flies, stinging jellyfish (good time to head for NY Harbor and points north).
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Old 21-07-2010, 06:23   #12
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For your type of sailing, the Chesapeake bay. You can get 9 months of sailing...
The options are unlimited. Heat and AC would be needed for living aboard.
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Old 21-07-2010, 06:24   #13
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Lived in bay area for 10 years, moved boat south to ventura for ten years and now in Pennsylvania for 10 years sailing in Chesapeake for 4 years. I am diappointed with sailing in Chesapeake. Its like sailing on a lake. Fluke winds and usually less than 5 knots. When I sailed out of Ventura Wind was steady 15 to 20. I would go diving at channel Islands, hardly ever had to motor. I don't care about heat or cold I like to sail and there is not really that much sailing in Chesapeake.

So to conclude less sailing in Chesapeake but more to do.

No Franchise tax board in Maryland after paying sales tax it like 10 bucks a year.
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Old 21-07-2010, 06:27   #14
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Not a lot to add here, except you've mentioned family and friends in the Chessie region. Keep in mind the weather horror stories are true, but generally very short lived events. If you've family that will put you up for a week or so in a pinch, you should have no problems. That dang blizzard we had in February was a 20-year event and we haven't had a hurricane surge since '03. The San Andreas is going to put California into the Pacific one day, you know...
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Old 21-07-2010, 06:31   #15
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Fluke winds and usually less than 5 knots.
Me thinks you and I are out on different days....

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