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KPBaker 11-28-2001 02:55 AM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
I''m planning on trailering my 26ft.shoal draft Classic Yacht from NC to Ft.Lauderdale in the Spring. My intention is to sail her to the Bahamas.I''ve sailed in the Bahamas previously on board a 38ft.Beneteau.I''m comfortable with my sailing/seamanship/navigating skills, and the seaworthiness of the boat for such a trip. I''m very much aware of the safety aspects of the voyage and take that into account during every aspect of planning/preparation for the trip. I know the trip is possible, but is it worth doing on a small boat. Any similar experiences out there?

gaurre3 11-28-2001 10:27 AM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
i haven''t done the trip yet myself, but i''ve heard the crossing is alittle easier from Miami.

islandboy 11-28-2001 03:44 PM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
First Things First - like Greg says, you may want to look at leaving from a bit further South like Miami. All of this depends on where you want to end up and how hard you want to work to get there. Bimini is a straight (45nm) shot due E of Miami. I''ve made the trip countless times from Ft. Lauderdale / Boca Raton but always on a powerboat heading East. You will find about 4 knots setting you North once you hit the Gulf Stream. If you''re headed to Freeport then Ft. Lauderdale may be the ticket, BUT, you really should go the Bimini route. Of course, keep in mind you''re looking to hit a 9 sq mile needle in a great big hay stack. As always - Use Your Charts & GPS.

My experience in crossing (either direction) tells me to look for a day where the seas are not too big and Without Question make sure the wind is out of the South to match the flow of the GS S to N. Never Cross The Gulf Stream In A Northerly! Unless you like being mercilessly thrown about an angry sea and putting your life on the line. Sailing=Fun. That was 0 Fun. I''ve been there and it''s a place I hope to never find myself again.

As to the bigger question - is it worth it? Well, in a word, YES!

Once you''re there you''ll have a blast getting into areas that the big boats can''t.

I think your biggest concern may be time since with a small boat your speed is limited.

Plan, Plan, Plan, and try to find a few boats to cross with. It shouldn''t be hard once you''re in FL. Leave early and always arrive before dark. As you probably already know this is very, very important in the Bahamas as in most places.

Good Luck, Cool Runnings & Have A Conch For Me!...


KPBaker 11-28-2001 04:33 PM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
Thanks for the replies. My intention is to sail from Ft.Lauderdale to West End, then around the Abacos,and then start heading Westward via Nassau,Chubb,and Gun Cay.I''ve got a great boss that apparently has pity on sailors,or he just wants to get rid of me ;^)He has agreed to let me take up to four weeks vacation to do the trip. I''ve looked at the charts and envisioned numerous sailing scenarios, but to see the Abacos without backtracking, the West End route looked pretty favorable. You mentioned several items I''ve also thought of. All of which are very sound.I have a new Raytheon Autohelm 4000,and Raytheon GPS chartplotter installed on "Favorite Sport." Many other upgrades in progress. Thanks once again for the positive feedback. When I posted the note I thought " Ahh, man...I''m probably going to get the " you''re crazy! You can''t do it in a 26 ft.boat!" I''m the first to admit the crazy part could be right, but not about the 26 footer! Cheers!!

Raindance 11-28-2001 09:43 PM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
We did a similar trip in a Crealock 37 with six foot draft, and there were times when a smaller boat would be nice. If your boat is seaworthy, size truly doesn''t matter. We saw people sailing on Deerfoot''s and Catalina 22''s, and we all watched the same sunsets, caught the same fish, and walked the same beaches. Comfort and storage are issues, but hopefully by now you have been on your boat in bad conditions and are happy with how she behaves. Storage issues are solved by going light and simple. Lot''s of pros and cons, but ultimately, you will be happier going now with what you have than staying ashore and wondering "if." I never met a single person cruising who had any regret other than not doing it sooner.

One caution I would give you is that you shoule give the weather a healthier respect on a smaller boat. Be prepared to wait in Miami as long as it takes to make the crossing. There is a small and conveniant yacht club (the Miami Yacht Club)where you can anchore and wait (and wait, and wait...).

Otherwise, GO! I have downsized to a Dana 24, and would gladly take it around the world if I could convince my wife...

KPBaker 11-29-2001 01:53 AM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
Thanks for the feedback "Raindance." I understand the part about the wife. Mine has finally decided it''s easier on her part to just let me go, rather than listen to all my non-convincing arguments as to why she should.

doug and jane 12-02-2001 06:34 AM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
Your plan to go to West End is correct! Get a copy of Dodge''s guide to the Abacos and/or the Explorer charts for planning, etc. We''ve done this trip numerous times and wouldn''t hesitate to go in a 26 ft boat we were comfortable with. You might also check into leaving from West Palm Beach. Feel free to email me if you want to get into details more. I''m in NC also.

sailor2169 12-03-2001 04:13 PM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
I''ve made the trip many times in 30 footers and am going over in my Bayfield 29 in March or so. I usually head for West End from Palm Beach but I wait until it is fairly flat or a south to southeast wind. You can''t beat into an east wind and fight the stream. Keep me posted as to when you are going, I may go at the same time. Tom

KPBaker 12-04-2001 03:37 AM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
Thanks for the input Tom. Please send me your e-mail address. --

john_fennessy 12-04-2001 05:41 PM

Bahamas cruising in a small boat
KP, was I glad to see this message and the responses. My wife and I have been trying to plan a trip across for the summer in our montego 26 and we''re also wondering if it would be worth it. If anybody knows a good site or books that deals with small boat cruising I sure would be thankful. KP please stay in touch since we will be going after you, you might come back with info that would be helpful to us.
Thank you.

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