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Old 20-07-2006, 21:37   #1
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Questions About Keeping Boat in Florida or Maryland

I'm considering retiring to S.E. Florida and will be buying a sailboat that is approximatly 40 feet in length and has a mast height of between 50-57 feet. I have several questions, and would appreciate all responses:

1) Whereas I know that the entire S.E. coast of Florida is potentially a hurricane target, are there some marinas, that I could access with the above-described boat, that are reputed to give the best hurricane protection in the area?

2) Can a person get hurricane insurance for a boat in this area?

As an alternative, I'm considering retiring in the Chesepeake Bay area -- summering there and wintering in the Caribbean. How much of a pain is it to get a boat south to a good jumping-off point for the Caribbean. I'll be in Maryland in October for the Annapolis sailboat show, and will be exploring some of the coastal towns.

I'm very serious about this, read the posts on this board regularly, and greatly admire the cumulative knowledge expressed on it. Accordingly, I will appreciate all input.

Fritz
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Old 20-07-2006, 22:05   #2
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I think you've posed an interesting question. I guess I'll start with the fact that no area of Florida is hurricane proof. Most marinas here will ask you to leave the protection of a marina upon a hurricane warning, and their lobby just had a state bill passed making that request legal.

East Central Florida historically has more "near misses" and SE Florida more direct hits. Having said that, it's a gamble where ever you are down here. Just take a look at the storm tracks of the last couple of years and you'll see what I mean. Sure insurance is available, but with hefty premiums and deductables, with companies requiring a good inspection report and recent standing rigging. All in all, it's not a perfect location for survivability.

I'll leave it to the Chesepeake Bay area guys to speak for their area.

Rick in Florida
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Old 20-07-2006, 22:13   #3
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I live in Port Saint Lucie and of course have been hit by 3 hurricanes over the past 2 years.

Yes you can definetely get insurane, I have insurance on my 30 Foot C30, $500 deductible, full coverage $1080 a year. No marina is hurricane proof and your best bet if its looking like we're going to get hit is to either go north, south or inland (okeechobee waterway). Thousands of boats rode out the last 3 hurricanes, many of them were damaged, most were fine. The more lines you can get tied to her the better.

I know the stuart anchorage, which is maybe 2 miles inland requires you to have a plan on file in case of a hurricane, now they are just bouy's, but they had several boats break lose and hammer the ones that didn't. If you are tied up to a good sturdy dock your odds are better, the one advantage you do have now is most of the marinas have either survived a couple hurricanes in recent years or rebuilt.
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Old 20-07-2006, 23:39   #4
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There are 3 ways out of the Chesapeake Bay:

- North through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal and out the Delaware Bay: This is pretty accessible from anywhere in the Maryland portion of the bay. I took this route once in less than 24 hours from Rock Hall, MD to the ocean, sailing continuously except for stopping a few hours to get a favorable tide in the canal. The Delaware Bay has a reputation for being kind of rough, but when I was there it wasn't any worse than it was out in the ocean.

A common trip in this area is to leave the northern Chesapeake through the canal, then sail south to the mouth of the Chesapeake and back to your point of origin.

- South through the mouth of the bay: Just sail down the bay and on out. I've done that from Annapolis in 6 or 7 days (plus stopping here and there), anchoring overnight every night and not pushing hard during the day. I think you can do it in a couple days sailing 24 hours/day. There are lots of good anchorages in the bay. When you get to the region of Norfolk, keep your VHF on and listen for the navy escorts - they have mobile exclusion zones around their ships.

- South through the ICW: Same as out the mouth of the bay, but go into the ICW at Norfolk. Take the ICW to Morehead City, NC and out into the ocean. From Norfolk to Morehead City took us about 7 days of actual sailing, anchoring or staying in a marina each night. (There is no way I would try to travel the ICW at night, but the guys with "local knowledge" do it all the time.) My actual time is longer because I get tired of driving through the canal every day and end up staying over a few extra days here and there. Morehead City has an excellent inlet, so heading out from there is no problem.

f you think you might do this, I suggest you first get a set of ICW charts and reference books to see what you would need to do. I found there are places where we must stay in a marina (because there is no place to anchor within reasonable travel time for that day) and places where we must anchor in a less-than-desirable spot (because the marina is too shallow to get into).

The year before last, we went outside from Morehead City to Charleston SC (~2.5 days) where we met a crew that had done the same thing and were jumping off to the Bahamas from there. They said theycould have gone directly from Morehead City, but they had some work they wanted to do on the boat first. Charleston has an excellent inlet.
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Old 21-07-2006, 08:27   #5
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Fritz I keep my boat in Tampa Bay ,central west coast,lived here for almost 30 years,we never got a direct hit,late fall is probably when we are the most vulnerable,when storms are born in the gulf and heading east.JC.
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Old 21-07-2006, 09:22   #6
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For your SE Florida option, if you are not going to live aboard, there are many, many private homes on the New River in Ft. Lauderdale that rent their docks for boat storage. Most of these docks are far enough inland to offer plenty of hurricane protection as long as someone is available to tend to the boat when hurricanes approach. Monthly rent varies based on boat size and draft. It's also possible to find protected dockage for live aboard, but that's much more expensive.
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Old 22-07-2006, 03:41   #7
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Yeah the canals of the New River in Ft. Lauderdale makes for good hurricane holes.

I have lived on such a canal for 7.5 years and have tasted plenty of 'canes.
Wilma last year was the most violent one.
String lines across the canal and get the boat away from the dock and she should be fine...That is if ya took off sails and bimini tops, etc ahead of time.

When a sail comes loose in a hurricane it sounds like a cannon shot, then for the next hour, incredible loud noise as the sail is being torn to pieces trying to shake the mast and rig apart as well.

Seen it sevreal times around here.

The biggest danger to yer boat in a hurricane (on these canals) is that other boats break loose and ram into yours...That happened on my canal last year. It makes a mess as the boats are grinding each other to pieces..

As for choosing between Here and There?

Well, S.E. Florida is really nice in the winter...And it is really close to the Bahamas.

Other than that, it is expensive to buy property (It is coming down somewhat now) The freeways are clogged during rush hour.

Boat insurance is available, but if ya have an old boat, the rates go up.
My boat is 27 years old and St. Paul/Minnesota have given me notice of no-renewal. (Any sailboat over 10 years old is a bad risk )

Thinking about self-insuring, not sure yet.
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Old 22-07-2006, 11:09   #8
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Oh man, I have some Wilma stories. Maybe we can hook up over beers next time I'm down your way and I'll tell you about it.

You ever eat at Tark's? Tom Perkins' BBQ?
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Old 22-07-2006, 13:41   #9
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Thanks.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time -- particularly to those who recommended the New River area in Ft. Lauderdale.

My wife and I looked up the area on the Internet and were impressed with what we found. (We were in Ft. Lauderdale years ago a couple of times for cruise departures, but never really looked around.)

I just got off the phone with a real estate broker there, who will begin sending us listing information. We asked him to find us a 3-bedroom condo or townhouse with a slip nearby that will accommodate a 40-42' sailboat with a mast that is 50-57' high (bridges).

We're very excited about visiting Ft. Lauderdale in late October. (I'll be in California the first week in August, wife is having knee replacement surgury on Aug 17th, and we're going to the Annapolis sailboat show in early October, so that's the earliest we can go. I wish I could go tomorrow.)

Thanks again so much.

Fritz
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Old 22-07-2006, 18:17   #10
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Quote:
Oh man, I have some Wilma stories. Maybe we can hook up over beers next time I'm down your way and I'll tell you about it.

You ever eat at Tark's? Tom Perkins' BBQ?
Yup, beer and Wilma stories are always good.
Let me know when ya are here next time.

Quote:
We asked him to find us a 3-bedroom condo or townhouse with a slip nearby that will accommodate a 40-42' sailboat with a mast that is 50-57' high (bridges).
I can recommend "River Reach" for condos with docks up the New River and no fixed bridges.
Check it out, there should be plenty of listings for that condo coplex.
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Old 03-08-2006, 08:31   #11
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Fritz -- welcome to se fla -- i had a new jeanneau that went to annapolis boat show as a show boat and then brought her to miami -- we have a 56' mast and had no problem on the icw as we came as far south as the mouth of the cape fear river before going to sea. Would actually go out at Beaufort next time. the only bridge is in miami that has a 56' bridge in downtown so you can not get from ft lauderdale to key biscayne without going outside --
as for insurance - it is possible and can be reasonable if you shop around and have clean record and good sailing resume - on a new 40' boat i was paying $2,800 until i got hit by lightening in the bahamas and had to replace everything electronic, from the starter battery to the radar to you name it, and then it went up 40%.
I am in a liveaboard marina in miami and it is open to the west and only the west - it gives us great protection and with wilma and we lost 1 boat off a mooring and a couple of pilings broke - those open to the east got heavy damage.
good luck with both the surgery and the trip south
chuck and soulmates
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Old 03-08-2006, 12:25   #12
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Since you mentioned the Chesapeake as an alternative, thought I'd suggest a spot a little further south - New Bern, NC. It's up the Neuse river about 20 miles, great sailing grounds, lots of sailing folks and resources, and reasonably priced housing and dockage, although our marinas are very popular and some are full and the price of real estate is moving ever upward, but still doable. The ICW is about 4 hours from our home marina, and Beaufort Inlet about 6.

Oriental is also an extremely popular town to settle in - more expensive and more exposed to weather issues, but loaded with charm.

We looked at both the Chesapeake and Florida too. From here it takes us 2 weeks more or less, to get to Florida or a jumpoff spot to the Bahamas.

We have some links on our web site about the area.
http://www.stateham.com/sunspotbaby/

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