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Old 15-10-2014, 11:08   #1
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East Coast vs West Coast

I've been spending way too much time reading blogs and vicariously living someone else's dream and I thought I should actually think about what I want.

For now I intend to sail the PNW and keep learning on other people's boats, but eventually I'll want to let go and set sail. Unlike others I don't really have the urge to cross an ocean; there's plenty here in the Americas to keep me entertained until I am old enough to want a powerboat. But when I eventually set out there will be no real need to start in BC rather than Ontario or San Francisco rather than Florida. Boats can be found just about anywhere

So the question is where to start. I jotted down a few pros and cons for each but I quickly realized I really have no idea what I am talking about. I know in the end it comes down to personal preference and that there is a little thing called the Panama Canal but eventually you gotta pick somewhere to start and a few more facts wouldn't hurt me...

East Coast
The ICW
You could do the Great lakes and the canal systems
the Caribbean!
Sand, snorkelling and sun
Better (more enjoyable) sailing
Lots of 'easier' blue water passages
Lots of party spots when you are feeling sociable
Hurricanes
More countries: bureaucracies
More countries: better cultural experience

West Coast
Everything from Galapagos to Alaska!
More secluded and beautiful hidden gems
Easier to go one way than the other
Shorter seasons
More coastal waters
Tougher passages
Less touristy
Less culture shock (?)
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Old 15-10-2014, 12:24   #2
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

There many be a reason why most seem to start in or around Florida, but then I cannot speak of the West coast from personal experience either, but feel that East coast is easier and more forgiving of mistakes
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Old 15-10-2014, 12:33   #3
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

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There many be a reason why most seem to start in or around Florida, but then I cannot speak of the West coast from personal experience either, but feel that East coast is easier and more forgiving of mistakes
Part of it could be what one defines as "coast."

Northern California has few "coastal" cruises: from SF Bay one can go north 34 nm to Drakes Bay or further to Bodega Bay, but that's about it for "comfortable" cruising; south goes to Monterey, 60 nm, Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz in between.

But within the Bay Area is the entire 1,000 miles of the California Delta.

That's a lifetime of cruising in itself.

So is the PNW: Tacoma to Alaska, much of it inside.

Many have cruised from No. California to So. California and back. It's a harder slog.

Oh, and NO SNOW>

But it sure doesn't compare to being able to go from Maine to Florida in a season.

Different types of cruising.
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Old 15-10-2014, 12:56   #4
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

the East coast also allows you to continue to the South coast, the Caribbean, Mexico, and a shorter jump across the ocean if you change your mind on doing so

plus you never have to deal with the Country of California
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Old 15-10-2014, 13:40   #5
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

I started a similar exercise a few days ago comparing sailing from the East Coast to Caribbean vs. the West Coast to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. It's on this thread. You may find it helpful as it seems your plans are to keep going south after you tackle one of the US coasts!
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Old 15-10-2014, 13:57   #6
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

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Originally Posted by brownoarsman View Post
I started a similar exercise a few days ago comparing sailing from the East Coast to Caribbean vs. the West Coast to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Panama. It's on this thread. You may find it helpful as it seems your plans are to keep going south after you tackle one of the US coasts!
Thanks for the link. I remember skipping your post because of the 'Party' in the title; I'm getting too old for that Just goes to show.

And thanks Stu. I had never actually heard of the California Delta before; I thought the bay ended at Alameda Something to spend some time on.
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Old 15-10-2014, 14:08   #7
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

The pacific north west is very nice cruising; Oregon and south generally sucks - better to do by car.

The whole east coast from Bahamas to Greenland is decent, with Newfoundland and Labrador the equal of the PNW.

So, I guess I would vote for the east.
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Old 15-10-2014, 14:16   #8
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

Friend of mine grew up sailing in New England, moved to California and spent 40+ years sailing there, and then returned to the east coast. His opinion; much better on the east coast.

I personally have never sailed the west coast, so, I have no opinion.
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Old 15-10-2014, 14:51   #9
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

Even the sort-of young can't party every day!


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Old 15-10-2014, 14:54   #10
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

You left the Chesapeake Bay off your East Coast list. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline more than the entire U.S. west coast. You could spend years cruising and gunk-holing and never see it all.
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Old 15-10-2014, 15:01   #11
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macblaze View Post
Thanks for the link. I remember skipping your post because of the 'Party' in the title; I'm getting too old for that Just goes to show.

And thanks Stu. I had never actually heard of the California Delta before; I thought the bay ended at Alameda Something to spend some time on.
might wanna call it sacramento river delta so folks know whatye mean
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Old 15-10-2014, 16:58   #12
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

I've never sailed of the east coast although I'm sure it's great. I sail out of San Pedro, CA (Port of LA) and spend a lot of time out at Catalina Island. SoCal has lots of good locations from San Diego up to Santa Barbara plus the Channel Islands. Year around sailing with great weather and pretty dependable wind.
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Old 15-10-2014, 17:29   #13
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

There's another factor in addition to all the good advice above. There are far more liveaboard receptive marinas on the East Coast, especially from the Chesapeake to Texas with no waiting list for slips and rates between $350 to $550/month ($8 to $11/ft +fees). There's also far more opportunities for unrestricted anchoring in relatively shallow protected water in the East.
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Old 15-10-2014, 17:36   #14
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

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Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
You left the Chesapeake Bay off your East Coast list. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Bay and its tidal tributaries have 11,684 miles of shoreline – more than the entire U.S. west coast. You could spend years cruising and gunk-holing and never see it all.
.
The Chesapeake Bay is a great place to cruise except in the winter. We just finished a too short Chesapeake Bay cruise. Add in the AICW and Florida and the St. Johns River and the east coast looks pretty good.
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Old 15-10-2014, 18:56   #15
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Re: East Coast vs West Coast

They are almost complete opposites. In in the SE having the ICW, right there, is a really big difference. Leaving port in the NW is a big adventure. Leaving the marina in the SE can be a beer cruise. In the SW there is no ICW but it's OK in good wx.
We're lazy and like the SE.
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