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Old 05-08-2012, 09:33   #1
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Location: currently in Grand Rapids, MI, but moving in 3 years to Florida
Boat: shopping for a cruiser around 40'
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Doing a 180* - from ponies to props

My husband & I have a 3 year plan to sell everything (4 horses, farm, tractors, etc.) and buy a cruiser to live on. We plan to buy our boat here in Michigan and take the intercoastal to Florida. We are 40 years old and will need to work full-time when we get there, so we are planning to find a marina we like and set up residency. We have no destination in mind since we will have to go where we can get jobs. Anywhere warm on the ocean is fine with us. We are very neat, clean and curtious, so we will not be one of those "trailer park" types I've read about. It's just the two of us with two small dogs and we are thinking that we should get something around 40 ft and my husband is extremely handy and can fix pretty much anything. We can only spend around $40k and fortunately we love older boats. We are brand new to the boating world (we have a cute, little 1966 Evinrude Playmate that we play with) and any words of advice that you can give will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:30   #2
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Re: Doing a 180* - from ponies to props

A search here will turn up lots of threads that you should read. Here are a couple of thoughts...

1. Learn to sail FIRST, not after you have bought your boat.

2. Charter in Florida, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, or even on Lake Michigan. See what it is like to live for a couple of weeks at a time on a boat. You will learn a lot about what sort of boat you really want and need, and you may discover that you don't really enjoy it all that much.

3. Before you move to Florida "permanently," spend at least a few weeks in late July, early August down here. A VERY large percentage of the people who move to Florida every year end up moving away soon after, because they had only visited when the weather was nice and had no idea what to expect from a Florida summer (guy just two doors down from me has his house up for sale right now for that exact reason).

4. Why buy in Michigan? There are a LOT of sailboats available in Florida, and then you wouldn't have to move it down here.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:47   #3
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Re: Doing a 180* - from ponies to props

My advice would be to learn to sail up north and buy the boat down south. With a 40k budget wanting a 40ft boat you'll be getting something closer to a fixer upper, which is fine. But I don't know if I'd want to handle a several thousand mile trip in one.

Also consider the entire SE US region for living. I'm in Florida right now and may end up in Texas a year or so down the road if the job market looks better for me there. No need to limit yourself to 1 area and other states are a lot cheaper than Florida.
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Old 06-08-2012, 13:49   #4
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Location: Florida
Boat: Matlack, Trawler, 48 ft
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Re: Doing a 180* - from ponies to props

Welcome aboard! Your post isn't clear whether you plan to buy a sail or power cruiser. Whichever you choose, you both need to "experience" what it's really like to live aboard before selling out and heading to Florida. Living aboard is quite different from land dwelling. As others, we recommend chartering first.

Another consideration is insurance as many insurance companies either won't insure or charge an arm and a leg to insure boats which remain in Florida during hurricane season. Hopefully, the Florida job market will improve before you head south. The best advice is to do your homework and you won't be disappointed.
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Old 06-08-2012, 14:08   #5
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Re: Doing a 180* - from ponies to props

I've seen a classic 37ft Snowgoose going for under 10k. Excellent living space, seaworthy in good nick. I suspect the economy is forcing many to give up their hobby to keep their home. Personally I'd give up the home and keep the boat.
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Old 06-08-2012, 18:42   #6
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Location: currently in Grand Rapids, MI, but moving in 3 years to Florida
Boat: shopping for a cruiser around 40'
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Re: Doing a 180* - from ponies to props

We are buying a power cruiser and have a 3 year plan which includes taking many classes. My parents lived part-time on their 38 ft Chris Craft and we visited with them on many occasions. We currently have a 32 ft motor home and plan on living in that to get used to the cramped space. I spent all of July and August attending bootcamp while in the Navy in Orlando, so I am familiar with the heat. We've also lived in the Bahamas, Virginia Beach, Memphis, etc. I love the heat and HATE winters in Michigan. This is something we've given a lot of thought to and are not taking lightly. I am graduating as a recreational therapist in 3 years and jobs in Florida are much more plentiful in that field than in Michigan or anywhere else for that matter. I have always been very fond of Florida, but would consider anywhere else that is warm, on the water and has a large elderly population.
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