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Harbor_Pilot 02-15-2007 04:37 AM

Land Locked - Establishing a Home Port
Land Locked - Establishing a Home Port


A good place to start from?


Being land locked in Denver Colorado, we are fortunate to have some excellent in-land sailing resources, though seasonal. Resources meaning sailors and divers, sailing and diving schools, a few respectable size lakes, sailboat dealers, boats of adequate size, racing events, HAM radio clubs, and the like.

Eventually I must and will venture to an area offering open ocean opportunities. I am deciding on that location. Likely there will be travel from here to that location many times.

I just started studying this and looking at the maps, land and air travel to and from, times, distances, and costs. I think we will have to figure that out ourselves.


The closest and fair weather choices are The Gulf of Mexico, The US Pacific Coast, and possibly The Gulf of California or Sea of CortÚs. What are the pros and cons of one over the other?

The weather, marinas, other sailors and cruisers, cost of living, taxes, popularity, marine services and dealers, hazards (seasonal weather patterns, tides, currents, draft, sand bars, whatever is important to be aware of), etc.?


Given the areas, it looks like Southern California, Texas or Mexico. That includes a lot of area. I am not limiting myself to only those, just trying to narrow the selection.

A larger consideration is which side of North America, East or West - Atlantic or Pacific.

I read (on this site) that California boat taxes are expensive and minimal or non-existant else where.

Mexico, a foreign country, opens up a whole new set of questions, concerns and opportunities.

We need to crawl before we run, gaining open ocean experiance and confidence. If the early experiances are extremely difficult, and very unpleasant, it maybe disappointing and alter our desire to pursue the dream.

I know, as usual, lots of questions!>/biggrin.gif That is my job right now; plan ahead, get educated. It is a big decision, but a step we must take to progress.

~ ~ ~


The joke about, "You Can't Get There From Here", has a real side and applies to us. We have to go else where, to make it happen.

SeaVenture 02-15-2007 08:28 AM

We bought Sea Venture in Mexico, though "offshore", and love the people, the sailing, the food! If you check out San Carlos (I think there's an America broker who sells boats there, though we bought directly from the owner--which leads me to recommend a good broker and a US surveyor), you'll find an airport in Guymas, which is the larger city nearby, and wonderful sailing in the Sae of Cortez. Much better than starting out in CA, where you don't have a lot of easy places to jump offshore and practice. And there is that issue of CA taxes. From the Sea of Cortez, you've got all sorts of opportunities for destinations--east or west. And you can document your boat from anywhere in the US, even Denver. I'm always surprised to see US documented boats from Nevada; they must like the tax benefits.

Trim50 02-15-2007 10:57 AM

La Paz is a great place if you're willing to live in Mexico. Otherwise my favorite home port is San Diego or Long Beach. Long Beach is wonderful beacause you have access to Catalina just 25 miles away. Waiting lists on slips are averaging 2 years.

The water in the Gulf off Texas is extremely silty and you would have to deal with higher insurance rates anywhere along the Gulf.

JeanneP 02-15-2007 11:12 AM

As an East coaster, my knowledge of the Pacific coast is all hearsay. But I've been told that there aren't that many places to sail off the Calif. coast.

East coast is quite different, with lots and lots of places to sail, explore, and anchor. The Chesapeake Bay area alone can occupy you for months or years, both with great anchorages and an incredible amount of history. Peter's father used to say that if he was told to choose a place where he would have to live year-round, his choice would be the Chesapeake.

It's getting crowded, but you can still usually find a place to anchor just about everywhere.

SeaVenture 02-15-2007 11:27 AM

I agree with Jeanne about the Chesapeake if you want to go East Coast. Lovely sailing. And, of course, I'm partial to North Carolina waters--the rivers and sounds are wide, just shallow! Great sailing for 5' drafts; any deeper and limitations abound. Coming from those areas and then sailing in the Sea of Cortez, I couldn't believe the clarity of the water and the depths.

Think about it--there's a whole wonderful world out there!

Trim50 02-15-2007 11:41 AM

I'd have to agree that the Pac Coast has limited places to sail to and from. We do have the Channel Islands which Catalina is part of and the only island that you can really go ashore without permit. If you go North of Santa Barbara, the sea can get quite dicey. San Fran has great sailing, but it can get pretty crowded under the Golden Gate on the weekends and slips are expensive since a good percentage of the population makes sizable six figure incomes.

I would look at the Sea of Cortez on Baja side from Loreto to Cabo and mainland side down to PV. Lots of nice new marinas charging more than American slip rates, however the weather is great, the water is warm and Central America is close at hand.

Jackiy 02-15-2007 12:02 PM

Hello Aqua Man

We have met in our travels up the east coast of Australia (Gold Coast to Whitsundays) a very nice person from Denver who had a desire to sail, although never having done so before he decided Australia would be his starting point. He bought a catamaran and sailed up the coast and back. In 2006 he sailed 1,946 miles single handed. Not bad for a rookie, stopping at 68 places along the way. Several of these places at the same time a us. Inside the barrier reef on the north east coast of Australia is a reasonably easy place to sail for beginners. Although we have a cyclone season to avoid. As with sailing anywhere there is always planning to do and care to be taken, but overall it is a very good place to start. Maybe our paths will cross one day. Good luck & smooth sailing.>/smile.gif



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