Our how about this related geographical oddity....I remember that. I think I got the first “smack” of the “eastness” when a friend of mine set his boat (Olson 30) from Long Beach to San Francisco to enter the single-handed Transpacific. I wondered why start from there (not here)? “It’s closer to Hawaii.” Then much later when we had the boat in Ventura, I was planning (chart) to meet friends at Santa Barbara Island when I “discovered” it lay SSE of me, nearly the same distance as it is from San Pedro. But from San Pedro it is 46 n.mi. WSW!!
Having lived in St. Petersburg, FL we’ve more or less known that. The bearing to the canal is right about 180 deg T, 1000 n.mi. “Distant.” Every “Dreamer’s” gateway to the south Pacific, etc. Some do make it, others not. We had one couple, friends, who made it to Balboa in their Cascade 38 which they had brought to FL from Oregon. But they returned home to St. Pete after a couple of months. “We need more fiberglass under us, and more books.” A year or so later they took off again in a Moody, I think 40 ft, and went on to visit the Galapagos and the South Pacific archipelagos.Our how about this related geographical oddity....
The ENTIRE continent of South America is EAST of Fort Lauderdale Florida. EAST.
The southwestern coast of FL is a relatively unheralded cruising venue with very much to offer. Many pristine, sheltered areas in which to anchor at shallow depths, 20 ft or less. Many stops along the ICW where you can drive the dink, even the yacht, up to a dock and go ashore right there for lunch or dinner. We liked “Sea critters”; smoked amberjack, smoked mullet dip, kingfish, Spanish mackerel, gag (grouper), red grouper, snappers, & sometimes cobia. Warmish periods occur through the season (winter), although cold fronts with rain (in fall) “march through” biweekly. You can sail (although not tack) in the ICW, as well as along the coastline.My wife and I will be forever grateful to the members of the Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society of Cape Coral, Florida for the cruises they organized for members who had varying degrees of sailing skills and varying degrees of knowledge of the SW Florida coastline. Those cruises were exactly the type of activity that allowed new sailors and sailors who were new to the area to learn those anchorages and destinations that improved cruising enjoyment. Furthermore, there were always helpful members nearby to assist as needed.
I'm glad to hear of cruising interest from newbs. My observation over the last 3 or so decades is a decline in the 60's-70's notion of cruising. We used to have a vibrant cruising forum here, it was the whole forum 'back when'. That, and other 'cruising media', (magazines, cruising forums) have since shrunk.Certainly the idea of “getting away” to some distant or exotic locale is appealing. I’ve noticed that the idea of it appears to be the motivation behind interest in sailboat purchases among first-time buyers especially. It leads to many questions about “blue-water” capability, and the kind of boat that could safely go here or there, and so forth. By contrast, we see little apparent interest in learning much about local cruising areas. Here in CA folks dream about cruising in Mexico on their first boat; on the east coast it’s the Bahamas or the Caribbean. These notions arise, apparently, before new owners, or future new owners, have spent even one night at anchor in a local site on their own boat. Is there no time anymore for systematic learning and acquisition of experience? Has cruising been so formalized that it’s no big deal to buy one’s first boat then take off on an long cruise to a distant locale within a few months? How many of these attempts actually succeed?
Sounds like a lot of fun, Rick.A friend of mine, to whom I was introduced when he hit my boat after his transmission linkage came adrift, did it the right way IMHO. For his first boat, he purchased a 42' ketch. He spent two years learning its systems, making repairs and modifications based upon his research, and practicing. When it came time for casting off, he spent six months anchored around SoCal's Channel Islands for preparation. I sailed with him on his first leg to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He ultimately sailed to the British Isles. He was a recovering alcoholic, and the boat was an excellent diversion.
Being at sea for the sake of being out there I’m sure has its appeal. But I think that the “purpose” of a destination, near or far, is what makes it (recreational sailing) work for people. There’s a certain excitement entering a new harbor or anchorage area by sea. And what do sailors do, after all, when arriving at destination? Anchor the boat, or dock it, and go ashore for grub and and fellowship if available. I don’t see how anyone can hold that one has nothing to do with the other. Somehow, heading to sea for days only to turn around and return home would be missing an important component of the enjoyment of being out there, in my opinion.all i ever wanted to do was go to sea. thats what i did for my whole life.
there is a lot of talk about anchoring and docking and restaurants. that ain't got much to do with going to sea.
want a fun two week cruise from the west coast? leave the harbor and sail due west for a week and then sail due east for a week.
want a fun cruise from the east coast? go sail around Bermuda and back , don't stop in.