Originally Posted by krisscross
Excellent info and points. Thank you Jon!
Smaller boats are also easier to get 'unstuck' when you run aground. That makes you a bit more willing to take risks when looking for a nice anchorage.
I have heard that tides in Bahamas average about 3 feet difference. Is that your experience as well?
A 3 foot tidal range is a bit on the high side, I'd say the average is a bit closer to 2 - 2.5 feet... Playing the tides can be critical, but tide charts can be a bit difficult to obtain and interpret for the Bahamas, and there can be some considerable variation due to wind direction/duration, and water flowing off the banks. There are probably numerous apps available now for tides over there, but since I don't own a Smart-Anything, I always print out all available tide charts before leaving home for the months I'm gonna be there, from sources online... My C-Map charts include tide information, but to be honest, it rarely occurs to me to use a chartplotter as a source for tides...
One affordable boat I think of that might suit your purposes just fine, might be a Cherubini Hunter 30... The Bahamas and the trip south are certainly do-able on something like a CD 25, but I think something closer to 30 feet will be far more comfortable and enjoyable... Also, you really want water tankage heading over there, something that is likely to be extremely minimal on boats much less than 30'... No way I want to be bothered with a watermaker for the Bahamas, you certainly don't need that stuff with a decent water capacity, and an effective means of collecting rainwater...