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Old 09-02-2015, 13:00   #1
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Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Well I have almost convinced my husband to live aboard. We went to Siesta Key, FL for the month of January and to my surprise he LOVED it even though he always insisted he would hate the hot Florida weather. For the last couple of years I have been suggesting cruising around the Caribbean for a few months or even years but this time he finally took the bait and said he would seriously consider it if we moved down here full-time.

My question is, is there anywhere fun to boat to, from Sarasota? Isn't the area a little far north in Florida to cruise around the Caribbean or Mexico, Central America, etc? We also might look into Naples, FL but Sarasota seemed really lively and right up our ally. We'd love to cruise around the Exumas, Bahamas, Isla Mujeres, etc. but would typically only have long weekends, vacation days etc. until we are economically self-sufficient. Thanks in advance for any suggestions of places we can adventure to from there or suggestions of other similar cities in Florida we can investigate!
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Old 09-02-2015, 23:01   #2
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Plenty of cruising grounds for weekend trips. North as far Tarpon Springs can be reached nice two day sail stoping in Clearwater. South to Boca Grande pass, pelican bay...best anchorage on west coast. Further south to shark river. The Dry Tortugas...excellent. I could go on and on.

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Old 10-02-2015, 06:21   #3
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Okay, first off, I don't want to burst your bubble, but some time ago I read that nearly 2/3rds of the people who move to Florida will move away again within 2 years. The reason being that they visit in January, fall in love, and move down; along comes July and August--heat, humidity, and bugs--and they decide that it is absolutely NOT for them. If you want to avoid family discord and a lot of disappointment, I would suggest a visit in the summertime, to see if you REALLY like it. (Personally, I love it, but a lot of people don't.)

Second, the sailing around Sarasota is pretty good. You have to watch out for shallow water, but then that is true throughout the Keys and Bahamas, too. There are lots of interesting places to go, and things to see, between Tarpon Springs and Everglades City.

True, if you want to go to the Bahamas, you have to get all the way around to the east coast first. But then the Keys are very nice, and if you have the time the trip is half the fun. If you're in a hurry (and, honestly, if you're cruising in a sailboat, you should NEVER be in a hurry) then motor across the Okeechobee Waterway. The difference between being in Sarasota and being in Naples, in terms of getting to the Bahamas, is pretty minimal.

Good luck.
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:30   #4
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, BestFaceForward.

See the Southwest Florida Anchorage Inventory
Florida Sea Grant - Boating & Waterways - Anchorage Inventory
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Old 10-02-2015, 06:57   #5
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BestFaceForward View Post
Well I have almost convinced my husband to live aboard. We went to Siesta Key, FL for the month of January and to my surprise he LOVED it even though he always insisted he would hate the hot Florida weather. For the last couple of years I have been suggesting cruising around the Caribbean for a few months or even years but this time he finally took the bait and said he would seriously consider it if we moved down here full-time.

My question is, is there anywhere fun to boat to, from Sarasota? Isn't the area a little far north in Florida to cruise around the Caribbean or Mexico, Central America, etc? We also might look into Naples, FL but Sarasota seemed really lively and right up our ally. We'd love to cruise around the Exumas, Bahamas, Isla Mujeres, etc. but would typically only have long weekends, vacation days etc. until we are economically self-sufficient. Thanks in advance for any suggestions of places we can adventure to from there or suggestions of other similar cities in Florida we can investigate!
The southwest coast of Florida is a great cruising ground with many areas within a few hours sail of Sarasota. (The only problem with Sarasota itself is poor access to the Gulf). As to seeing where more specifically, I suggest you click over to ActiveCaptain.com, register (it's free) and use the interactive cruising guide to look at the area. It's a great place to "home base".
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Old 10-02-2015, 09:14   #6
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

BestFaceForward,

I can't speak to a live aboard but I can tell you a little about summer in Siesta Key/Sarasota - I have a place on Longboat Key (next up from Siesta) and visit 5-6 times a year (as time allows) and am looking to move my Cal 29 down in the next 5 or so years.

We settled on LBK for a second home with a view to retirement after years of looking up and down the west coast (east coast is nice but it's still the Atlantic and I kinda like a sunset for my cocktails!), to be honest the area is lovely and Sarasota has oodles of cultural stuff, galleries, theatres if you're into that sort of thing, excellent restaurants and bars etc. - anyway back to weather, summer rarely gets above 100 and humidity is much lower than you'd imagine (just don't go inland though, totally different story), certainly it's much more comfortable than July/August in North Jersey where I spend the rest of my time.

My only watch word would be draft, it does get quite shallow in a lot of places outside of the ICW and good updated charts and a working depth gauge are a must.

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Old 10-02-2015, 09:31   #7
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Don't limit yourself to the south. Some pretty neat stuff heading north as well. Crystal River & the Homosassa River to see Manatees. St Pete, Clearwater Beach, Dunedin & Tarpon Springs are all fun destinations with marinas & transient slips. Caladesi Island, only accessible by boat, has a great marina & great beach and to the north 3 Rooker & Anclote Island are fun places to anchor & have beautiful beaches.


In terms of the Florida heat it does take some getting used to but we absolutely love being out on the water when it's warm & really great for swimming.
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Old 10-02-2015, 10:19   #8
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

seriously .. come to Florida in May or June and see what you think then. the summers can be especially tough for folks living aboard unless you are prepared with plenty of canvas cover and ways to reduce the heat and humidity. However it still beats the dark and depressing winters up north and yes we have great sunsets almost every night
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:29   #9
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Ok thanks we are definitely going to rent for a while before we plunk down for some property. Lots of great ideas here! We are from New Jersey too so Florida is sounding really good about now.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:44   #10
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

Sarasota is really cool but it's expensive to buy there. You might want to take a look at Pasco County just north of Tarpon Springs. You can get into waterfront property with Gulf access there for surprisingly reasonable prices & there's tons of people from New Jersey in the area.
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Old 10-02-2015, 12:47   #11
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

You may want to look at Punta Gorda. Easy access to gulf and a lot of islands within a few Hours . Agreat Marina is Burnt Store Marina.
We sail to Ft Myers Marco Islands
, and the Keys
Good Luck in your search
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Old 11-02-2015, 19:33   #12
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

BestFaceForward, Welcome to the community

If the majority of your sailing opportunities will be weekends and vacation time, (assuming the vacation time is a couple of weeks) you will not find much opportunity for Mexica or the Exumas, but charter trips can excel.

I would think you would be more pleased with the opportunity for open sailing water within minutes of your dock and Sarasota doesn't fit this need.

Florida locations that have more convenient easy and quick access to sailing are Tampa Bay, Port Charlotte area, Pine Island Sound, The Keys, Biscayne Bay, Stuart & Indian River, Saint Johns River and some of the bays in the panhandle. These areas have protected water good sailing in most any weather.

Some other locations have quick access to the Ocean or Gulf, but little in the manner of protected waters. I like the protected options for easy afternoon sails after work or out in the moonlight. Addition places with easy Atlantic or Gult access are Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Fort Pierce, Port Canaveral, Venice and Tarpon Springs. I would add St. Augustine and New Smyrna Beach though the inlets there are less reliable.

Others might mention places I've left out.

Back to Sarasota,- I personally love the place. My wife an I married there 45 years ago. It's a great place, but not the best for quick and easy use of your boat.
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:29   #13
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Re: Live Aboard from Sarasota? Or Where...?

I grew up in Sarasota and learned how to sail there. My family had a Hunter Legend 35 with a 6'6" draft and let me tell you- we ran aground many, many times. Sarasota does not upkeep any of the passes and they won't dredge, so getting out to the Gulf isn't nearly as easy as it should be for a deep draft vessel. That being said, it is possible of course, and you have excellent sailing up to Tampa, as well as south to Boca Grande and even Key West/Dry Tortugas. Sarasota is a gorgeous city with many wonderful places to eat and explore.


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