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Old 23-02-2016, 14:58   #1
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Southern Ca VS North Carolina

We are going to be moving aboard our boat later this year or next year. We have still not decided east coast vs west coast. We bought the boat at its current home (Rhode Island) and after a year the only two tax free (warm) options seem to be North Carolina or Southern California. We have very little blue water experience so we want to do shorter cruising at first. The marina prices in NC are half of what they would be in San Diego but I am kinda put off by of the stories from sailors concerning the frying pan et al shoals close to the east coast. We are not really interested in using the ICW (mast too tall) and would rather stay out away from the shallow stuff. Am I just being paranoid? Is the North Carolina coastal area that nasty for cruising?
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Old 23-02-2016, 15:24   #2
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

IMHO, NC Coast, Pamlico Sound, Albemarle Sound, Neuse and Pamlico Rivers is GREAT cruising and liveaboard! No need to travel in the ditch (ICW) much at all, but it is useful to be able to slip under a 65 foot bridge.
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Old 23-02-2016, 15:38   #3
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

Hi. You may want to do some research on San Diego and slip availability before you jump. There was a recent discussion about this, a quite good and helpful one, to boot. One of those site Google searches would find it under San Diego.

I would venture to suggest that both air draft and keel draft would be things to check out carefully before committing to the NC choice. No issues, other than the kelp, in SD.
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Old 23-02-2016, 16:12   #4
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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Hi. You may want to do some research on San Diego and slip availability before you jump. There was a recent discussion about this, a quite good and helpful one, to boot. One of those site Google searches would find it under San Diego.

I would venture to suggest that both air draft and keel draft would be things to check out carefully before committing to the NC choice. No issues, other than the kelp, in SD.
The only reason I would be concerned with the mast is in case I have to go under a bridge to get to the ocean. I have located a few marinas in the Cape Fear area that have a straight shot to the ocean. I am not going to use the ICW to go from one marina to the next, or one state to the next. I have already contacted a few marinas in San Diego and Ventura, both have open slips.
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Old 23-02-2016, 16:21   #5
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

I'm not sure what you mean by tax free in NC. There is personal property tax every year on your boat which is the same rate as real estate tax. If you keep your boat in a city you get to pay both county and city property tax. In addition you have an annual registration fee. Last year they were trying to pass a special coastal zone use tax that would be about $200-$300 on all boats more than 26 feet long. The republicans took over the state and they never met a user fee they didn't like. They make the democrats look down right frugal. They won't call them taxes but that's what they are.

There are three major capes in NC, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear. They are 60 nm or so apart. Within NC the only thing you can do without going under a 65 foot bridge or through a 5 foot deep inlet is visit the Morehead City/Beaufort area and Cape lookout Bight. From Cape fear Georgetown SC is a long daysail while Charleston SC is an overnighter. Both can be entered with an airdraft of more than 65 feet. If your airdraft is less than 65 feet the whole Pamlico sound system is open to you. There are really no depth issues in most of the southern Neuse river and the sound itself has major areas of open water. In the Winter you get a low pressure system forming off of the Carolinas once or twice a week. If you like sailing in Gale or storm conditions this is the place for you. Then again a 25 knot north wind is great for a quick trip from Beaufort inlet to Cape Lookout Bight. That's not to say there's no winter sailing in NC, just that most of it takes place in the sound system. Also,what do you call warm, we had ice on the saltwater creeks right before I left for Fl in November.
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Old 23-02-2016, 16:39   #6
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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I'm not sure what you mean by tax free in NC. There is personal property tax every year on your boat which is the same rate as real estate tax. If you keep your boat in a city you get to pay both county and city property tax. In addition you have an annual registration fee. Last year they were trying to pass a special coastal zone use tax that would be about $200-$300 on all boats more than 26 feet long. The republicans took over the state and they never met a user fee they didn't like. They make the democrats look down right frugal. They won't call them taxes but that's what they are.

There are three major capes in NC, Cape Hatteras, Cape Lookout, and Cape Fear. They are 60 nm or so apart. Within NC the only thing you can do without going under a 65 foot bridge or through a 5 foot deep inlet is visit the Morehead City/Beaufort area and Cape lookout Bight. From Cape fear Georgetown SC is a long daysail while Charleston SC is an overnighter. Both can be entered with an airdraft of more than 65 feet. If your airdraft is less than 65 feet the whole Pamlico sound system is open to you. There are really no depth issues in most of the southern Neuse river and the sound itself has major areas of open water. In the Winter you get a low pressure system forming off of the Carolinas once or twice a week. If you like sailing in Gale or storm conditions this is the place for you. Then again a 25 knot north wind is great for a quick trip from Beaufort inlet to Cape Lookout Bight. That's not to say there's no winter sailing in NC, just that most of it takes place in the sound system. Also,what do you call warm, we had ice on the saltwater creeks right before I left for Fl in November.
Property tax is OK, we are just trying not to pay sales/use tax. Rhode Island usually gets snow and below zero temps, so something averaging above freezing is OK. We are trying to establish a base that we can use to get more ocean experience and maybe go down to the Islands in a year or so. There are a few marinas in Southport that are cheap and close to the cape Fear inlet.
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Old 23-02-2016, 16:52   #7
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

If you want to get experience sailing in heavier conditions, the San Francisco bay area will provide a much better "learning environment" than San Diego. Not as warm, but year round sailing without the risk of ice, or even freezing air temperatures on the water.

The ocean cruising destinations are not so varied, but there are reasonable anchorages at half Moon Bay and Drakes Bay for tuning your ocean sailing skills, and for longer trips, the Channel Islands (the same ones that SD sailors go to) are a couple of days away, and are quite pleasant to visit.

I can't comment on the East Coast possibilities... never sailed there.

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Old 23-02-2016, 17:10   #8
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

For shorter distance cruises, the East Coast beats California hands down. Easy to head up to New England or go south to Charleston, my favorite city, or elsewhere. The Pamlico Sound is huge and protected though don't remember what, if any issues there might be with depth. Having said that, there are climate considerations. Anywhere south of Boston can get unbearably hot in the summer and cold in the winter all the way down to Florida. Remember shoveling snow off the boat in winter and 100 degree temps and 100% for a week or more at a time in Norfolk. Then there are those pesky little named blows that occur occasionally.

San Diego has near ideal weather, not to hot in summer or seldom below 60 in the winter. Cruising grounds are somewhat limited unless you head up to the Channel Islands or down to Mexico.

SF Bay is probably the best place in the world to own a sailboat. Plenty of wind to sail except in winter, and the Bay and Delta offer a lot of places to go to. You can actually power all the way to Napa for a little wine tasting. Because of the variable wind conditions on the Bay, it is a great place to hone your sailing skills and set the boat up. On a typical summer day you can go from ghosting conditions all the way up to near gale in an afternoon. Slip fees are also cheaper than down south though live aboard is probably more restricted. Temperatures will be more extreme than SoCal. 50 degrees isn't unusual in the winter and SF itself in the summer. Mark Twains quip, "Coldest winter I've experienced was a summer in SF" Don't have to sail more than a short distance to get away from the cold and fog of the city in the summer fortunately. Temps are way milder in the East Bay like Alameda rather than places like the city and Sausalito that are affected by the maritime conditions.

Then there is the question of where and how far you want to cruise. Way easier to get to the Caribbean from the East Coast. SoPac and Mexico are easier sails from the West Coast. Wouldn't even try Mexico from the East Coast and it's long sail from The Canal to the Marquesas if you are going west.

California has an annual tax on boats. It wasn't too onerous but then I wasn't paying it on a Swan. Pretty hard to find anywhere that won't try and get you for some kind of annual tax but the gouge varies. Don't know whether it's SC or NC but one of those States has a pretty hefty annual tax on boats.

One big negative about the West Coast for you is getting the boat there. May not be too expensive to ship from Texas to SD but think you are talking 5 figures from the East Coast.

Whatever your decision, you have a nice boat to enjoy.
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:12   #9
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

so you would pay to move your boat from RI to CA to avoid paying use sales tax in a state like FL? Isn't that like penny wise and a pound foolish? Not to mention cost of living is much higher in CA.
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:17   #10
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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the only two tax free (warm) options seem to be ......... or Southern California.
got to be the first time I've ever seen that written
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:43   #11
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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Property tax is OK, we are just trying not to pay sales/use tax. .............. .
What's the difference? Tax is tax. At least with sales tax it's a one time thing. Personal property tax is every year from now on.

Let me suggest that you not worry so much about taxes and worry more about where you would like to live and boat. Isn't that the reason for buying a boat in the first place?
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:44   #12
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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so you would pay to move your boat from RI to CA to avoid paying use sales tax in a state like FL? Isn't that like penny wise and a pound foolish? Not to mention cost of living is much higher in CA.
I used to work at a defense contractor who we all said used the slogan ' Econmoy at any cost'

San Diego really doesn't have much going for it if you want to cruise - practice cruise. It is a long way to Catalina where the anchorages are fully packed with moorings. The Channel Islands are even further. They are nice but don't have great anchorages. Pacific Mexico is a really good place to cut your teeth cruising. Lots of anchorages, low cost, friendly and just generally easy, but it is a long way from San Diego.
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:45   #13
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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so you would pay to move your boat from RI to CA to avoid paying use sales tax in a state like FL? Isn't that like penny wise and a pound foolish? Not to mention cost of living is much higher in CA.
Shipping the boat to California is a little cheaper than paying Use or sales tax in South Carolina and Florida.
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:48   #14
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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Shipping the boat to California is a little cheaper than paying Use or sales tax in South Carolina and Florida.
And then from that point on you'd be free to have the boat in any state as the sales tax would have been paid.
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Old 23-02-2016, 17:49   #15
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Re: Southern Ca VS North Carolina

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What's the difference? Tax is tax. At least with sales tax it's a one time thing. Personal property tax is every year from now on.

Let me suggest that you not worry so much about taxes and worry more about where you would like to live and boat. Isn't that the reason for buying a boat in the first place?
The difference is that use or sales tax on our boat would be close to $20,000. Property tax would most likely be $1800 per year. Some states do not have reciprocity on use tax.
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