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Old 01-06-2020, 10:44   #1
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Location: Fort Worth, TX
Boat: Beneteau 393, 39 feet
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Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Hi all. I have a Beneteau 393 currently based in Kemah, TX but am considering relocating the boat to the Tampa Bay area later this year. The plan is to fly to Tampa twice per month and to stay on the boat approx one week at a time. We want to do some local cruising around the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater area initially but may expand our destinations at a future time.

We're at a beautiful marina in Kemah (Waterford Harbor) but, unfortunately, there are limited destinations in the Galveston Bay area. It's our understanding that there is excellent cruising in the Tampa/Bradenton area. I'm looking for some guidance from Tampa area cruisers regarding:

Marinas - we currently pay $500/mo but know that Tampa area marinas will likely be more expensive. We're flexible on where the marina will be as we intend to drive one of our cars to Florida and leave it at the marina.

Sailing destinations

Sailing cruising clubs/associations


Other helpful information



Thanks in advance for your assistance.
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Old 01-06-2020, 11:13   #2
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

You've got it right on its being a beautiful area, with Ft. Myers/Sanibel/Key West in one direction and Pensacola/Panama City/Apalachicola/Carrabelle in the other. Our marinas are a bit less, more like $400. I learned to sail in Clearwater Bay back when it had a bay and it was clear water. It's still beautiful. If for any reason you need to be inside you will have the ICW everywhere except Carrabelle to Tarpon Springs. Welcome to Florida.
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Old 01-06-2020, 19:53   #3
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Thanks, Keith. I appreciate the information.


Best regards
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Old 01-06-2020, 22:26   #4
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Hi Larry, Ill be interested in the replies. We left Waterford in December (loved it) and made our way to Florida. We were in Clearwater when the stuff hit the fan in March. Decided to have some work done and store the boat near Bradenton, then just got back to Texas as everything was shutting down. Well start cruising again late summer/early fall depending on hurricane season. This thread might give you some ideas. https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...de-234121.html

Good luck
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:58   #5
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Thanks so much for the link. I'm getting good information from it. I've also found some related threads in other forums that are helpful as well. Target date for the move is November 15 assuming the world doesn't end before then. Ha
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:10   #6
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

The Tampa Bay area has great cruising grounds. All the way down from Tarpon springs to Marco Island, then through the Everglades down to the Florida Keys.

But the area is vast, and where you keep your boat will shape the way you can sail. Keep your boat in the city of Tampa, you will mostly sail in Hillsborough Bay, great sailing. But, if you want to go out into the Gulf of Mexico, it will be a four five hour sail just to get out there. Pretty much the same way with Saint Petersburg.

If you end up in Clearwater, the Gulf of Mexico will only be minutes away, but your only other options are Clearwater Sound and then up or down GICW.

If you park your boat in Madeira Beach, it will take at least an hour or more to get to one of the passes.

Anyway, pick your spot carefully. In addition, most marinas here have a waiting list, so start looking early.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:40   #7
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Sarasota/Bradenton's a great area. It's been my home for over 50 years. You might want to look into the Bradenton Yacht Club. They still have a few membership openings available, with very reasonable dues/minimums, a terrific facility and 51 wet slips. We pay $360/month for our 35-footer, and that includes 30-amp service. There have been short periods of waiting lists but they move quickly. Might check them out at www.bradentonyachtclub.com.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:45   #8
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Having grown up in St. Pete, I will tell you that the Tampa Bay area is lovely. Marina rates are highly variable- ranging from what you pay now to double that. And of course, what you pay is all about location. If location is #1 priority with ability to explore out into the Gulf then I would say Bradenton is where you want to be as it is closer to to get out. However the rates are much higher. If you think you will mostly do daysailing then I would suggest St. Pete as that is in the middle. PLus St. Pete has a lively night scene with restaurants and other entertainment.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:55   #9
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Check out Gulfport. Cute little downtown area, great shops and restaurants. Great marina. 30-45 minutes to the Gulf. Good afternoon sailing on Boca Ciega Bay. Also S. Pasadena area.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:59   #10
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

I’m also currently at Waterford. Bought my boat in Saint Pete and kept her at the Harborage Marina behind the Daly Museum. It is a nice marina similar in many ways to Waterford. Sailing Tampa Bay and Galveston Bay are similar experiences. Shallow in spots and anchorages areas to overnight is generally near the coast. A four hour or more sail. The summer wind is even lighter than Galveston Bay. Tampa Bay is know to be one of the larger breeding areas for sharks and saw many small hamerheads when sailing the bay.

I suggest that you consider the Bradenton Or Clearwater areas rather than St Pete, BTW, there is hardly any marinas in the upper bay near Tampa itself. You will be closer to the coast with more areas to anchor close. You can sail offshore which is much better than offshore Galveston. No rigs, not that much commercial traffic and nicely formed swells, not like the washboard seas near Galveston.

If you would like to talk more I’m on dock 15 at Waterford, the black hull Krogen 38
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:37   #11
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

This was an incredibly timed post as my wife and I are closing on the sale of our house at the end of the month and relocating to the Tampa Bay area. Our target boat is a Hatteras 53, and we're looking at the Bradenton/Sarasota area as the furthest north we want to be, Ft Meyers/Cape Coral the furthest south as my wife will still be working. But she is a surgical tech, so there's plenty of opportunities for her in that zone. Anyone have experience with marinas south of Bradenton? I have heard good things about Burnt Store Marina, but we're trying to balance job location/marina location so as not to have a deathride commute (more than 30-40 minutes).
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:04   #12
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Quote:
and we're looking at the Bradenton/Sarasota area as the furthest north we want to be, Ft Meyers/Cape Coral the furthest south
Even with a motor yacht, be aware that you only have so many places to enter/exit the GICW.

Once you get south of the Manatee River, your options are: Longboat Pass, New Pass, Sarasota Big Pass, Venice Inlet, Stump Pass, Boca Grande Pass and San Carlos Bay/Fort Myers Beach.

So if you want access to the Gulf of Mexico, be aware of those options.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:45   #13
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Thanks for the information, DavyJ. My wife and I will be making several trips to the area to look at marinas as well as potential areas to sail. You're certainly correct about the area being vast so we'll be careful about locating the boat close to the cruising area we want.
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:53   #14
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

Thanks, Greenwave. We're wanting to cruise to destinations that can be reached in one day as I don't want to do overnights when just my wife and I are aboard. We'll be coming to the boat once or twice a month for 7 to 10 days. During that time we'd like to sail to several locations that provide good scenery and, hopefully, things to do in the afternoon/evening. We'll return to our home marina at the end of each cruise. Any ideas about a location from which we can accomplish that type of cruising would be appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2020, 13:13   #15
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Re: Relocating to Tampa Bay area

A little further south in Punta Gouda is Burnt Store Marina. It's definitely worth a look
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