So far we have left Medora at noon on Friday, October 12th, spent a night at Aaron's brother's house in Fargo, ND, and are halfway through a two night stay at Anna's parents' house in Rosemount, MN. We had great goodbye parties at both of those places with many friends and relatives in attendance.
Our next stop is Indianapolis, IN to visit Mickey who we worked with in Medora. We plan to spend two nights there and then cross off a few more states for Anna with a route through Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia on our way to North Carolina.
A couple weeks prior to Hurricane Florence we had chosen New Bern, NC as the first place we would start shopping for sailboats. Some brief research made it seem like we would still find sailboats in good condition for sale there so we will check it out. From there we will work our way south, stopping in areas that have marinas with boats for sale. For example, in New Bern we found 5 marinas that each have about 5 listings of interest to us.
Our loose goal is to see 50+ sailboats over a few weeks as we don't have much in-person experience. This will basically be an education phase. As we start to narrow down our interests in specific features or models we will also be looking on Yachtworld, Craigslist, etc. and schedule some individual showings.
If things go well we envision that we could close on a sailboat by early December. This could be anywhere from North Carolina down to Miami. Then we would spend about one month cleaning, updating, repairing, and adding stuff. Probably towards the end of that timeframe we would have the boat in the water and go on shakedown cruises on some days.
That would bring us to January. We think we will spend some time in the Florida area building up our experience in relatively protected waters. It would be fun to visit Biscayne Bay where we did most of our sailing school training. Towards the end of February we may feel confident enough to make the 80 mile passage over to the Bahamas. This would be our first (and only planned, other than the return passage) time being out of site of land.
In April we would return to Florida and begin the process of heading north up the east coast of the US. Aaron's brother is getting married near Boston in early July so we will try to be there by then. We haven't thought much about what happens after that. Possibly we would head further north for a while and then retreat back down towards Florida as the fall weather sets in.
Needless to say, this is all subject to change!