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Old 10-07-2009, 14:29   #1
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Best/Cheapest Places to Live and Learn

My wife and i are getting closer to our sell it all days and would like some insight on locations in the US. Our plan has always been to move to coastal Florida, find a boat and live on it for a year or so, learning it, fixing it and getting ourselves ready to go. We are not blessed with bottomless pockets, so I would like peoples opinions on where we could best do this when the time comes. So lets here 'em....
EDIT: Does not have to be Florida...
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Old 10-07-2009, 14:46   #2
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Panhandle of Florida has some pretty inexpensive place to live...here in Pensacola its about $9.00 a foot, where they once shunned liveaboards they are now welcoming them as to fill massive empty slips.

There is a really pretty place in Port Saint Joe I would love to be, they are 9.40 a foot
Port St. Joe Marina, Port St. Joe, Florida

Panama City I hear is really nice and close to everything
Welcome ‎(Panama City Marina)‎

Of course you can to Texas where its real reasonable, less for insurance too, but you just dont have the pretty beaches.
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Old 10-07-2009, 15:34   #3
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Thanks for the florida info, do those prices include electric and water ? I have spent a lot of time in central texas with a few trips to the coast and your right it ain't real pretty...Anyone from Tx have any info ?
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Old 10-07-2009, 16:48   #4
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If your long term goal is cruising, also consider spending some of that time anchored out and doing some small cruises and maybe haul the boat once or twice to do major projects. You could also do a slightly longer, but still moderate cruise over to the Bahamas for a month. You can get your permit and anchor out for free for a month for half of what even the less expensive marinas charge for a month's dockage.

You'll probably also want to identify a boatyard that will let you work on your boat on the hard yourself. Indiantown up the Okechobee waterway from Stuart is one. I believe there is one in the Canaveral area and I believe Green Cove Springs near Jacksonville. I'm sure there are more.

While you can learn a lot while at the dock, there is nothing like going cruising to figure out what your cruising needs are.
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Old 16-07-2009, 16:53   #5
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Thanks for the florida info, do those prices include electric and water ? I have spent a lot of time in central texas with a few trips to the coast and your right it ain't real pretty...Anyone from Tx have any info ?
I'm starting to do the research and I'm looking at 3 locations:
1) Corpus Christi
2) Rockport
3) Palacios

Corpus Christi is a good sized city and has an international airport and lots of boating. This includes Ingleside. The airport is on the west side of town.

Rockport is just up the peninsula, other end from Corpus. I hear it's pricey but there are lots of amenities. I would expect to find great boat yard and knowledgeable repair and refit craftsmen in either Corpus or Rockport.

You just can't neglect the benefit of being close to boat yards that know sail boat repair.

Palacios and Port Lavaca are up the coast and have the advantage of being very, very inexpensive. There is a large shimp fleet there but the bay is pretty shallow.

Going north towards Houston there is Kemah and Galveston. Probably lots of good boat yard, marina and refit expertise. But not much fun on the beach.
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Old 16-07-2009, 21:37   #6
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The Galveston/Clear Lake/Kemah area is the 3rd largest boating area in the US. If you have a boat and need to do work on it, it's just about perfect. The sailing is decent - but not great. Galveston Bay just isn't THAT clean.

We moved to Corpus Christi, mostly because it's 1/2 the distance from San Antonio, that Clear Lake is. We just love it. Decent sized city, the marina is right downtown, rates are downright cheap if you sign a year lease.

The sailing is insane, as it blows ALL the time. Weather is decent, same latitude as Tampa.

Several good places to go for an overnighter, or weekend. Weeklong trips are just plain great. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (whooping cranes) is just a long day away. Port Aransas (Port A) is right on the gulf, the marina is less than 5 minutes from the Gulf.

Several good places to have work done, between CC and Rockport. Rockport is more fishing oriented, and is about 10 miles from the Gulf. CC is about 95% sailboats - Corpus Christi Bay is too rough for powder boaters.
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Old 17-07-2009, 06:57   #7
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...

There is a really pretty place in Port Saint Joe I would love to be, they are 9.40 a foot
Port St. Joe Marina, Port St. Joe, Florida
...
One has to wonder why their monthly newsletters stopped in April of '09?
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Old 17-07-2009, 07:09   #8
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Bill, have you ever made the sail down past Padre to Playa Lauro Villar on the Mexican Gulf coast or to any other Mexican beach villages? If so, what was it like?
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Old 17-07-2009, 09:18   #9
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We moved to Corpus Christi, mostly because it's 1/2 the distance from San Antonio, that Clear Lake is. We just love it. Decent sized city, the marina is right downtown, rates are downright cheap if you sign a year lease.

Several good places to have work done, between CC and Rockport. Rockport is more fishing oriented, and is about 10 miles from the Gulf. CC is about 95% sailboats - Corpus Christi Bay is too rough for powder boaters.
There are reasons to avoid Houston area, if economics of job do not play in. Galveston Bay complex has the pressure of the Houston area for usage, Houston fishermen, the huge shipping influx due to the massive industrial complex and the Houston Ship Channel. Auto traffic from hell. Stinky refineries. I lived there for for 20 years, 10 mi from Seabrook, left in '86.

If you fish there are many areas close by to CC to chase redfish, all you need is a kayak, rod and reel and a spoon or plastics. Many sq miles of knee deep water filled with redfish, at times, though it seems not when I am there after a 350 mi drive. Area fishing guides pay me not to come down I am such bad luck. Then there is offshore fish. No law sez ya can't fish off a rag boat.

The Packery Channel is being or has been dredged so it is a pretty straight shot to blue water, this being so I would hope it drives down the prices of Port Aransas slip rentals. The downtown marina sounds great though. Palacious, Port A, downtown CC and surrounding area strike me as the best of the best.

Oh yes, as you mentioned, close to the Texas Hill Country, (San Antoino) THE BEST PLACE IN TEXAS to own a dirt house, San Antiono, Austin Cultrue, TexMex, beautiful lakes and rivers, German and Checzs Cultrue 5th generation and so forth. Seems to me you hit a home run. When and if I make the leap, the CC area will be the area of my home port. I hope to haul ass to cooler areas from July to Sept though. Were it not for Grandchildren I would be in the hill country for my residence of dirt, bricks and sticks.
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Old 17-07-2009, 09:43   #10
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... No law sez ya can't fish off a rag boat. ...
I'm not familiar with that classification.

What is a rag boat? Is that a euphemism for sail i.e. rag?
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Old 17-07-2009, 13:03   #11
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hey dave: me and the wife are right where you are......getting ready to sell it all and go for it......instead of paying for a slip at a marina,were opting for a rental house on a canal with a private dock....do some searches on craigs list. i found a few in the Jacksonville area on the St. Johns ...any where from 700 to 900 a month....that way we have a place to stage from,work a little doing electrical service work and getting the boat ready a little at a time...seems a lot better than doing the by the foot thing at a marina..........Ed
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Old 17-07-2009, 13:18   #12
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Corpus is a great place. Nicer beaches than anything further up the coast towards Houston. Its a windy place and can expect 15-20kts almost every afternoon during the summer. I've spent lots of time windsurfing in the bay and along the coast.
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Old 17-07-2009, 16:32   #13
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You can get a slip for around $8 a foot in the Kemah, Tx area with amenities. A few marinas list prices on their websites - a few that do: Kemah Marina, South Shore Harbor, Marina Del Sol - with an additional live-aboard charge. Watergate Marina is competitive in price, and our favorite. I think sailing in this area great - several local sailing clubs, shops, yards (though only about two that aren't full service) - but if beaches are your thing...well...
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Old 17-07-2009, 16:40   #14
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I'm not familiar with that classification.

What is a rag boat? Is that a euphemism for sail i.e. rag?
Yeah, just as motor boaters are refered to as stink pots or stink boats by sailors sail boats are refered to as rag or blow boats.
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Old 19-07-2009, 11:12   #15
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Thanks for all the great information, I am really starting to like the Texas area sounds much better than Florida.
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