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Old 11-01-2017, 11:56   #1
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living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

I'm transitioning out of my career and looking forward to spending time sailing. I live be living in the Midwest for a few more years before I'm able to relocate. In the meantime, I'm able to vacation several times a year for a few weeks at a time and I would like to use those weeks sailing.

Here's my plan:

Buy a boat and keep it on the Gulf side of FLA...Tampa, Sarasota for example. Then come down for a few weeks and coastal sail...starting with day sails, then over nighters...then longer trips...to the Keys, to the Bahamas....then caribbean. Perhaps sail it to a location...leave it for a month...come back and sail to another location...leave it..and so on. It that feasible?

I club race and do not have any cruising experience. (Dingies and a tartan 10)

Where do I keep a cruising yacht? Join a club? Marina? Is it safe to leave it there unattended for a few months at a time? I would fly in, take a cab to the boat....then live aboard while using it for a week or so...then head home...back to work. In about 2 years, I will be able to relocate.

Thoughts?

Thanks!!
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:11   #2
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

There are a number of places you can leave you boat.

Yacht Clubs in Florida are not cheap. They range around $300-$400 a month and $12-$15 dollars per month dock fees. The advantage is that the Clubs are they are safe and will contact you if anything is wrong with your boat.

Marinas run the gambit down here from ghetto to five star. So do the prices.

Also our marinas tend to fill up in the winter and then have slips in the summer, so you will have to do some research on who has slips available.

Either way I would consider find a Yacht Babysitting service to check on the boat, especially in the rainy season (Summer)

I am being vague, because you didn't indicate the size or more importantly the draft of your proposed vessel.

The Gulf side of Florida is known for its skinny water. I live on Charlotte Harbor, which is 25 feet at its deepest point and more like 6 feet at high tide in most channels...

I would highly recommend shoal or wing keels at 4 feet or less for optimal sailing an anchoring down here.

Good Luck!
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:19   #3
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

I would research places you can keep the boat on the hard. When you are done sailing each time, put it on the hard until next time. Best way to lose your boat us to leave it in the water unattended. Too many things can go wrong and sink the boat.
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:38   #4
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

We are in St Petersburg Fl. we are in a marina that allows short term live aboard however that is not the norm. you will want to do your research and come out and see them for yourself first. We are currently in a Power boat but will transition to a sail in about 2 years. that being said the added expense to keeping one in the water out here might give you a reason to rethink your plan. we currently pay 12.00 per foot for a floating dock plus electricity and water.( @ $475.00) we have a company that cleans the bottom every 6 weeks (@ $75.00) and have it hulled out every year for a bottom inspection and if needed paint.(@$300-850.00) all of those take away from the kitty pretty quickly. The boat next to us is a 34' sail boat that they live on and they are pretty awesome. they keep an eye on our boat and if something looks amiss they let us know and we do the same when they are out and about if we spend the weekend there.
Some of the marinas around here are very nice but the currents dictate when you come and go. so that is why I suggest you check them out yourself.
The short answer is yes you can do it if you don't care about the expense.

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Old 11-01-2017, 13:59   #5
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

This is terrific information. Thank you all.

The boat that I've been thinking about is a Beneteau Sense 50.

Alligient airlines has direct flights to several cities in FLA on the cheap. Booking ahead, I can fly into Tampa/st Pete for about $40-80 one way. Same with ft Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Daytona. Did I mention direct! Non stop... no connections.

Without allegient air, nothing makes sense. It's too far to drive, too costly to fly. I'm 90 minutes from Lake Erie but dream about sailing in the winter. The next closest body of water would be Annapolis..... an 8 hr drive. I'm stuck here in Ohio for at least 2 years.
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Old 11-01-2017, 17:30   #6
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Most Yacht Clubs in the area have an "active boat" requirement to maintain a boat in their marinas (to say nothing of a multi-year waiting list for a slip!). In essence, if the yacht is not sailed (or at least moved) every 30 to 60 days (depending upon venue) it cannot remain in the marina in "storage". (Moreover, a yacht sitting unattended for very long is a formula for disaster!) Commercial marinas are less concerned about use provided the monthly slip rent and utilities availability charges are paid and the yacht is maintained. Provided you have a service to check the bilge, batteries and clean the decks at least weekly, and a diver to give the bottom a scrub at least monthly,and are in a commercial marina such as the Harborage in St. Pete, Longboat Key Moorings in Longboat Key/Sarasota or one of the two marinas in Bradenton, Regatta Point or Twin Dolphins you should be fine.

FWIW...
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Old 11-01-2017, 17:52   #7
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

I think your biggest concern should be flying on Alligient but that is another discussion.

We did what you described while living in RI while keeping the boat in Florida and sailing between there and Tortola. It is certainly feasible. The only caution I would offer is to allow sufficient time for commissioning between extended layups which can effectively cut into vacation time mor than you might expect. There are always things which require attention while you are away.
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Old 12-01-2017, 05:03   #8
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, IL.
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:11   #9
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Think small. Before I could retire and move to Punta Gorda, we kept a C22 at Largo Aluminum's storage lot in Islamorada for $400/year. We came down 4 times a year and used a uhaul truck to launch and retrieve. Took about a day to launch and clean up the boat. At first we stayed on the boat for several weeks at a time but eventually found a condo for rent with a boat dock and day sailed. We did this for about 7 years. Think outside the box.
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Old 12-01-2017, 08:57   #10
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

This is all really great info! Sincere thanks to all who have replied.

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Old 12-01-2017, 09:50   #11
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

You might look further south to Fort Myers area. Generally less expensive than Tampa, Sarasota, etc.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:35   #12
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Welcome to the thread. If you are thinking of flying and sailing, let me warn you... it's somewhat of a hassle.

For years I had a 42' sailboat just outside of Baltimore, and flew to see it on a regular basis from Kansas City, where I have a home. It was a hassle, to say the least. But the flight was almost free since I had so many frequent flyer miles from my job.

The problem with the gulf is that ya'll have weather there, and it's in the summer time and fall. Your boat should not be unattended during that time.
Best advice in the replies so far is to have it hauled and then relaunched when you go sailing. But you will have to prepare it right. A drain hole in the hull to keep the bilge from overflowing is a necessity, regardless of how watertight you think it is.

Secondly, DON'T make the mistake I did having a large sailboat. In retrospect I should have purchased a 25 - 30' boat ( say Catalina 27 or 30) so it would be easy to maintain, easy to store, and not hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting there ready to have a hurricane take it off to wherever. A remarkable discovery: you can have just as much fun on a 27 as on a (pick your brand) 45' boat.

Finally, consider chartering for a while before buying. If you are used to sailing the Great Lakes, you will find the Gulf to be quite different.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:35   #13
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Just another outside the box thought. Ever consider renting boats to test the market for the next couple of years. You can even bareboat charter if/when your experience level opens that door. That can give you a huge look at the options available as you seek the "boat of your dreams". As far as cost is concerned $500 to $2000/week is not much to pay to wet your whistle and open your eyes to many sailing long term realities. As you would pay $400 to $2000/month to just keep a boat (plus purchase cost), I'd think you might have the cart before the horse. And then there are the expenses of traveling back and forth (especially when the unexpected weather occurrences pop into play - can you just drop everything and run to take care of your baby?). There are also perks to putting more monies away toward your intended adventures ($400 x12=4800 and x $2000=$24000). That over a couple of years is a nice kitty. And, if you are spending that much to charter over the same period, it still is an overall savings. Just a thought.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:48   #14
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Did you ever consider getting a smaller sailboat and sailing or racing it in a lake near where you live now?

You would be able to get in a lot more sailing in the next few years then when you retire buy a boat in Florida etc

I did this for a few years in Tennessee ..............sailed/raced/worked on the boat/hung out at the boat and it was only 45 minutes or so from my house
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:53   #15
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Re: living in the midwest....boat in the gulf??

Quote:
Originally Posted by IL1333 View Post
This is terrific information. Thank you all.

The boat that I've been thinking about is a Beneteau Sense 50.

Alligient airlines has direct flights to several cities in FLA on the cheap. Booking ahead, I can fly into Tampa/st Pete for about $40-80 one way. Same with ft Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Daytona. Did I mention direct! Non stop... no connections.
Without allegient air, nothing makes sense. It's too far to drive, too costly to fly. I'm 90 minutes from Lake Erie but dream about sailing in the winter. The next closest body of water would be Annapolis..... an 8 hr drive. I'm stuck here in Ohio for at least 2 years.
\

Your setup works only as long as your airline stays afloat and retains it's strategy. Odds on that 100 to 1 or worse. New airlines have a limited shelf life.
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