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Old 04-05-2019, 14:41   #1
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Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

I am a commercial boat captain that can live anywhere in the world and wondering what you recommend is a good city to move and start sailing?

Iíve been lurking on this forum for several years and followed lots of your advice. We joined a local sailing club when we lived in Florida, crewed on some deliveries / races, and completed ASA courses 101- 104 as a family.

We are currently living landlocked in Poland and seek a coastal city to rent a furnished apartment and start chartering during my time off. Long term goal is to purchase a boat we like and eventually livaboard and cruise as a family globally.

My family has US and EU passports but consider cities in Asia if we can get residency. Our ideal city would have the following:
  • International airport
  • Good for walking with decent public transportation
  • English speaking international school for kids ages 12 and 7
  • Livaboard marina good for kids
  • Low to moderate cost of living

We are currently considering Athens Greece. There seem to be plenty of charter companies, beautiful sailing, and many boats for sale. I was thinking to do a bareboat charter this Summer and if we like Athens consider moving the following year.

My wife was a yacht stewardess and my kids are excited about moving onto a boat. Therefore the Iím not too worried about the transition and look forward to our next adventure.

What are your thoughts? Specifically Athens Greece if you have any experience.

Regards,
LongSail
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Old 04-05-2019, 15:04   #2
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

Long sail,
I have sailed the Cyclades. Left from piraeus, Athens. It was awesome! The only thing about that area, was there weren't very many destinations for day sailing. The closest fun Harbor was cape sounion. my home Port is the Chesapeake Bay so I am used to having destinations within 4 or 5 hours of sailing. If you are not looking for day sailing, but rather sailing on multiple days then Athens is awesome. As an American, I cannot comment on the international schools for children of your age in Greece. My youngest is a freshman in college and we have two juniors in college. in the United States, the cities that I have personal knowledge of the sailing and your other criteria are Boston, New York (the Jersey side) Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Miami, Fl. the thing about Fort Lauderdale in Miami if you also have the intracoastal waterway and if you're in Miami you have a thousand different anchorage's in the Florida keys. From Miami or Lauderdale, you can easily do one overnight and you're in the Bahamas or Cubs, and if you have a little more time than that you can make it to the Spanish Virgin islands and then the British Virgin islands.

On the west coast of the states would be San Diego, California and San Francisco California.

I'm sure there are more cities, but these are the places I have personal first-hand knowledge of.

Ben
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Old 04-05-2019, 15:15   #3
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

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Originally Posted by bensolomon View Post
Long sail,
I have sailed the Cyclades. Left from piraeus, Athens. It was awesome! The only thing about that area, was there weren't very many destinations for day sailing. The closest fun Harbor was cape sounion. my home Port is the Chesapeake Bay so I am used to having destinations within 4 or 5 hours of sailing. If you are not looking for day sailing, but rather sailing on multiple days then Athens is awesome. As an American, I cannot comment on the international schools for children of your age in Greece. My youngest is a freshman in college and we have two juniors in college. in the United States, the cities that I have personal knowledge of the sailing and your other criteria are Boston, New York (the Jersey side) Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Miami, Fl. the thing about Fort Lauderdale in Miami if you also have the intracoastal waterway and if you're in Miami you have a thousand different anchorage's in the Florida keys. From Miami or Lauderdale, you can easily do one overnight and you're in the Bahamas or Cubs, and if you have a little more time than that you can make it to the Spanish Virgin islands and then the British Virgin islands.

On the west coast of the states would be San Diego, California and San Francisco California.

I'm sure there are more cities, but these are the places I have personal first-hand knowledge of.

Ben

The problem with most of the US cities, is that they are anything but "low cost of living"! I don't know the statistics, but would think that Charleston might be the best, but with the fewest places to sail to.
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Old 04-05-2019, 15:45   #4
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

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The problem with most of the US cities, is that they are anything but "low cost of living"! I don't know the statistics, but would think that Charleston might be the best, but with the fewest places to sail to.
I forgot to mention we are seeking cities outside the US.
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Old 04-05-2019, 15:54   #5
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

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The only thing about that area, was there weren't very many destinations for day sailing.
Ben
Ben,

Thanks for the info. Overnight trips for long weekends and school breaks is exactly what we want to do. Therefore Athens sounds like it may be a good start.

I forgot to mention we are seeking cities outside the US. I have extensive experience in US waters on all Coasts as a commercial Mariner.
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Old 04-05-2019, 16:55   #6
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

There are a bunch of marinas in Malaysia right across the border from Singapore that might be worth a look. Great schools, great location for excursions, worlds best airport.
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Old 04-05-2019, 17:22   #7
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

Europe is far from cheap I would look at Asia !
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Old 04-05-2019, 17:23   #8
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

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Originally Posted by LongSail View Post
Ben,

Thanks for the info. Overnight trips for long weekends and school breaks is exactly what we want to do. Therefore Athens sounds like it may be a good start.

I forgot to mention we are seeking cities outside the US. I have extensive experience in US waters on all Coasts as a commercial Mariner.
I would be inclined to agree with you. Athens would be very nice to start. The airport is an hour or so away from Piraeus, though. As for living aboard, the Marina is kind of cramped, but it was lively. Lots of activities going on right around the Marina and the port. I'm not sure that Piraeus is super great for a twelve-year-old, but you're 17 year old would love it! the good news is that eventually the twelve-year-old will be a seventeen-year-old :-)

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Old 04-05-2019, 17:35   #9
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

Sydney BC Canada would be better for your kids & would meet your criteria....far away from the troubles Europe is undergoing.
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Old 04-05-2019, 18:05   #10
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

If you are living on the boat, then I would say you could do a whole lot worse than San Francisco. The insane cost of housing there means that competition for the few liveaboard slips available is pretty fierce, but it can be done.

The sailing weather is AWESOME. Every day for most of the year the wind blows hard enough to challenge, but not to frighten. Lots of room in the bay to play, and when you are ready for more challenging conditions, the ocean is waiting.

I lived on a boat there on a sailing instructor's salary for 10 years.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:11   #11
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

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Sydney BC Canada would be better for your kids & would meet your criteria....far away from the troubles Europe is undergoing.
I would second this idea. There are actually a number of ports along the Salish Sea. Many great sailing destinations near at hand. Good area to buy a boat plus numerous boatyards and chandleries. English speaking schools are no problem . Cost of living isn't cheap, but generally better than the upscale US and European yachting ports. Canada hasn't succumbed to the collective insanity which seems to have overcome the US. Great place for kids to grow up.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:10   #12
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

So many choices. I love the PNW but I am cold blooded. It seems like you have many options so why limit it to one. Croatia and the Adriatic is great. BVI is fun for a while and has decent schools. A bit of home schooling? Living aboard can be a great education in itself. My 45 year old son still talks about his live aboard experience as a twelve year old.
I envy your options.
Boat can be leased for the season.
Let your kids see the world. I did, when young, and it was great.
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:22   #13
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

If Athens appeals to you, give it a whirl. Iíd have thought that the variety of yachts of different design and size available for charter might be greater elsewhere, but that might not be an accurate supposition. I guess Nassau or one of the Caribbean island capitals arenít really cities, so scratch those. Maybe the Balearics (Palma isnít really a city either, is it?). An Asian city could fit the bill, but itís a long, long flight. Maybe Helsinki and narrow your boat search down to just which Nautor Swan to buy?
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Old 05-05-2019, 10:44   #14
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

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Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
There are a bunch of marinas in Malaysia right across the border from Singapore that might be worth a look. Great schools, great location for excursions, worlds best airport.
RainDog,

I considered Singapore but its too expensive and quite sterile for my taste. However I work out of Southeast Asia and the Pacific so Malaysia is certainly an option with nice proximity to SIN.

Any marinas you recommend for a family livaboard? I'll check it out next time I fly through Singapore. Also not sure what it takes to get residency in Malaysia.

LongSail
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Old 05-05-2019, 13:42   #15
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Re: Worlds best city to start sailing and purchase blue water boat?

Athens is good for ex charter boats but...if you have not owned a sailboat before and know all the tricks of the industry, you can be caught out as friends of ours from the USA were. Personally I found the waters around Athens quite polluted so would not want to stay there. But some of the islands are beautiful and home to charter companies so second hand boats are available.
You might also look at the Spanish coast around Alicante, Valencia and Barcelona. Great sailing and good access to the Balearics with great transport links as well.
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