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View Poll Results: Do you like Florida for cruising?
Yes 29 100.00%
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Old 20-03-2012, 13:59   #16
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

I am a Florida native and have been all over the state and sailed it for 16 years. In the 1960's and 70's it was still a paradise. It has been overpopulated and regulated to such an extent that the "Old Florida" mystique is pretty much a thing of the past.

A good thing about Florida is how it has always attracted eccentric types and there is a live and let live culture. The southeast coast is much more populated with New Yorkers and the west coast attracts more midwesterners. The farther up the east coast you go, the more "Floridian" it becomes. The panhandle is full of southerners and has a feeling of that geniality plus the area from Panama City to Destin has been very beautifully developed which is an exception to the rule in the Sunshine State.

In my opinion, where you choose to settle down has much to do with what type of sailing you plan to do. For day sailing, it is hard to beat Miami. There is something really magical about snorkeling in Biscayne Bay and seeing the skyline looming on the horizon. The keys are right there for weekend jaunts and they provide a lot of variety.

If week or weeks long cruises are your thing, again, South Florida is a very convenient jumping off point to the Bahamas which offers some of the finest cruising in the world.

You can leave Key West and be in Cuba in less than a day and make Yucatan in a couple/few more.

A really good thing about the Sarasota area is the proximity to Clearwater which is a boatbuilding center and offers so many resources. I think you should consider what type of culture and folks you feel most comfortable being with since there are so many distinct varieties. Palm Beach is different from Delray, Ft Lauderdale and Miami and they are all distinctly different from one another. If you are the waspy type, Palm Beach is it for you, Jewish? Head for Delray or Boca. Lauderdale is fast and has a sort of swinging medallion feel. Miami is hot hot hot!

One more thing to seriously consider is your draft. Florida and the Bahamas have a lot of skinny water so a shoal draft/centerbord arrangement will really enhance your experience. The weather is so predictable (hurricanes notwithstanding) that you do not need a heavy blue water boat as much as a speedy passage maker.

Maybe a few hours with google satellite and a pilot chart will help you take your decision but hey - you are planning to live aboard so basically why do you need to pick one spot?
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Old 20-03-2012, 14:08   #17
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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Originally Posted by blueyama View Post
Me and the wife, were planning on moving around Sarasota-ish area. We visited this year and enjoyed it increasingly. Mostly everyone we met were very Friendly, the gulf side was beautiful with its white sand beaches ....
I lived on the Manatee River in Bradenton. Great cruising ground N or S from there.
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Old 20-03-2012, 15:39   #18
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

"FL itself is a pretty good cruising area "
Well, no, but if they'd just dam up the everglades and let it get fifty feet deep or so, it might be.<G>

Heat, humidity, bugs, glades, swamps, gators, PYTHONS and IGUANAS? And the lightning capitol of the world, contested by someplace in Brazil as I recall. This is the good lord's way of saying "Go play golf somewhere else!"

Or as the new RC Archibishop for the Miami diocese said at his appointment last year, it is so nice to be located so close to the United States.

NW Florida, NE Florida, Naples, Keys..maybe. Just not the Gold Coast.
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Old 20-03-2012, 15:44   #19
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We move to Venice, just south of Sarasota. Just love it. Easy access to the gulf. Lots of overnight and weekend cruise location. Warm weather and warm water. Just like paradise
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Old 20-03-2012, 15:55   #20
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

cruised fla west coast--loved it and will return---just didnt like tampa areas lightning storms.. the winds in 'em were awesome tho--just the bolts skeereded me some---
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Old 20-03-2012, 16:01   #21
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

I don't live there, but have cruised all over the state many times. Xiabbo's advice is excellent. I would also second the notion of looking for shallow draft in the boat you choose, and if possible keeping the masthead clearance under 55 feet. The southwest coast bridge max. is 55 feet. You need to be able to clear a 49-foot lift bridge at Indiantown in order to do the whole Okeechobee Waterway across the state, and it is very shallow in places too.
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Old 20-03-2012, 16:15   #22
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
.......................... and then decide to move back to where they came from. The heat, humidity, bugs, lizards, and so on are all just too much for them.........................
The Lizards! I can see the heat, humidity and bug problems, but the idea of lizards being problematic is hilarious! Ok, the iguanas may eat your fruit and hibiscus blossoms, but a lizard threat has me laughing.
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Old 20-03-2012, 16:20   #23
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
I lived on the Manatee River in Bradenton. Great cruising ground N or S from there.
That's where we are now after a few years in Clearwater, Tarpon Springs and the Keys we moved back to Bradenton for work.

The barrier islands and the Keys make Florida cruising great and of course the close proximity to Bahamas and Cuba.

Anchoring is getting tough, but come down and enjoy!
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Old 20-03-2012, 16:20   #24
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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Originally Posted by blueyama View Post
Me and the wife, were planning on moving around Sarasota-ish area. We visited this year and enjoyed it increasingly. Mostly everyone we met were very Friendly, the gulf side was beautiful with its white sand beaches. The Atlantic side wasn't overly beautiful when compared to the west ( Fort Lauderdale was interesting). I personally want to get aboard a boat and start sailing seriously so sooner than later I was hoping to become a liveaboard. However, I've heard that its a bit hard to be liveaboard in Florida, is their some truth to this? Another area, geographically speaking Fort Myers looks good for sailing. And it looks like the Okeechobee Waterway would shave off time sailing to the Caribbean. I've never done it but it looks like it would save a day.


My vision is to sail offshore asap however my analytical side keeps me in check (aka my wife) so I will most likely get my feet wet for a year or two in the greater & lesser antilles area. Once that works out then its time to break free from dry ground and set out offshore toward Europe and beyond. I really want to sell to the region of China however I realize that's thinking years into the future.
In regards to the sarasota area becoming increasingly difficult to be a liveaboard, it is. St. Pete is enacting some pretty strict laws involving liveaboards and the pilot program is spreading around the gulf coast. Apparently the assistant district attorney would like to be the district attorney pretty bad, and is the frontman for the effort. His wife probably left him for a sailor.....
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Old 20-03-2012, 16:37   #25
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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Apparently the assistant district attorney would like to be the district attorney pretty bad, and is the frontman for the effort.
Is that in St. Pete or Sarasota?

Those are the only two places on the Gulf Coast the Pilot Program has authorized to come up with anchoring regulations, and neither of them has any approved regulations yet. So, Florida's state anchoring laws still pertain there, though St. Pete has made the Vinoy Basin off limits to anchoring by covering the place with moorings. Sarasota's new mooring field plan only calls for something like 35 moorings, so a group there is trying to get the mooring area reduced in size in order to still allow room for anchoring.

Actually, due to the recently passed law that forbids most localities from enacting anti-anchoring laws, Florida is much better for anchoring than say 5 or 10 years ago when every town was coming up with things like 72-hour anchoring ordinances. That is all gone now.
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Old 21-03-2012, 00:57   #26
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

I had great fun going through all of your posts up to this point, Thanks

It makes me want to pack up right now (in fact I just got done going through every file in my house [it took 14hrs] for the last 5yrs to slim up before the move. I'm surprised I didnt have an aneurysm)

I haven't been to Florida during its summer months. I have been too Northern Japan during its summer and I fondly remember having to take three showers a day at first (before I acclimated) and my hair curled. It was at least x3 the humidity as Florida, however we went to Florida this January which I imagine is quite dry. If Florida was is close to Japan for summer I'm sure I would tolerate the humidity. I can do the flip-flops and Hawaiian shirt thing any day of the week (just not here in Montana)

I'd imagine Mooring is well priced when compared to a slip. Anchoring how long is it abouts before they tell you to go to 'hell or high water' or simply put move? I noticed 72hrs was a thing in the past.
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Old 21-03-2012, 05:21   #27
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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...................Anchoring how long is it abouts before they tell you to go to 'hell or high water' or simply put move? I noticed 72hrs was a thing in the past.
I have anchored as long as two months in one location, but not by the definition as "Liveaboard Vessel" as described by the state of Florida as a vessel not engaged in navigation or "cruising". I have never been approached by any authority with questions about my anchoring or intentions during my forty years of anchoring and cruising in Florida. I have witnessed the enforcement of regulations when vessels have not complied with anchoring light requirements and I am aware that vessels used solely as housing have been targeted by law enforcement. My freedom in anchoring is likely greater because I don't regularly choose to anchor in more populated areas.
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Old 21-03-2012, 07:18   #28
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

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... My freedom in anchoring is likely greater because I don't regularly choose to anchor in more populated areas.
Gotta be the key. Once you are really cruising, ie not working ashore, you don't need to be in KW, or Miami, StP... beyond the occasional shopping, catching a ball game or whatever. Obviously, having a shipshape vessel, properly lighted, allows the water cops less reason for inspection.
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:12   #29
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The Lizards! I can see the heat, humidity and bug problems, but the idea of lizards being problematic is hilarious!
Well, they don't bother me, but some people they do. Had a couple move in two houses down from us. Nice people. Played golf some with the husband. Turns out the lizards freaked out his wife. They eventually moved away because she could not take the way they were all over the place, and went squiggling away whenever she stepped out of the house.

Of course, the occasional sighting of a snake or an alligator also freaked her out. I mean, it's Florida, for God's sake! You moved into a house that is right across the street from a pond. It never occurred to you that you might see the occasional alligator!?!
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Old 21-03-2012, 08:31   #30
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Re: To Cruisers members from Florida

Been living here in Miami area as a liveaboard now for 4 years. Love the place and all the opportunities it affords from easy day sails to extended sails down the Keys to the Bahamas. On the hook now in Key West, loving every minute. Hurricanes is something we have to live with down here in sailing paradise. One just needs a plan. All doable.
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