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post #1 of 11 Old 08-25-2006 Thread Starter
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Draft in ICW and Keys

I am wondering what draft is required for the ICW, Keys, Bahamas etc.. Is there a general estimate for the appropriate draft requirement in these areas?
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-25-2006
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In general, a draft greater than six feet will cause lots of problems. A draft of five feet is good, four-foot-six is better.

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Yep...we did all of that with 6 ft. ...The ICW is the trickiest with some places really shoaled up so much that we had to wait for tide. If you want to go INSIDE in the Keys then a 4.5 draft boat would be best except for a few of the cuts which will permit deep draft. We stayed outside in the Hawk channel which is quite deep. In the Bahamas, 6' is no problem even in some relatively shoal harbors as there is 3' of tidal help. I know boats with 7' draft that regularly go there as well but that has to be a bit more dicey!
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-25-2006
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the depth cycle

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Originally Posted by sailingdog
In general, a draft greater than six feet will cause lots of problems. A draft of five feet is good, four-foot-six is better.
I've read that the ICW draft situation is being allowed to get worse. If that is the case then one may want to factor that in to any yacht acquistion based on how long one will be transiting the ICW. What's acceptable draft right now might not be so in five or ten years.

Apparently a few of the southern states don't have enough commercial traffic to justify enough federal funds to maintain the depth, so they get federal cutbacks, which eventually lead to less commercial traffic and so on and so on. The states in question can't make up the difference in funds based on their own economics. The cruising traffic has nothing to do with the funding.

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-26-2006 Thread Starter
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That becomes a major issue for a lot of boats - especially when you are trying to balance "blue water" and coastal cruising. Finding 4'6" on a seaworthy boat seems difficult to find.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-26-2006
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Nero/Pamlico...
I just did the ICW in April with a couple of offshore legs and indeed the ICW has gotten much worse in the past few years. The good news is that lately, some of the worst areas have gotten or are in the process of getting dredged...particularly in NC. You can get around the depth challenged places in SC & GA by waiting for tide or going outside on short day or overnight hops. I would NOT buy a 4.5' draft boat unless the inside of the keys were a priority for me.
Nero...you are right about the funding situation but it seems like the critical portions with no way through are being maintained on an emergency basis since there IS commercial traffic.
To anyone transiting the ICW... I recommend the following resources to aid in up to the minute planning:
1. BoatUS.com bulletin board EAST COST ALERTS which provides a bi weekly update of navigation issues.
2. Skipper Bob's Guide to Anchorages on the ICW AND his WEBSITE for interim updates...included are navigation issues and bridge opening changes.
3. Steve Dodge's Guide to SE US Inlets...invaluable for getting around tough spots and navigating unfamiliar inlets with charts, waypoints and photos.

Pamlico...are you in the Pamlico? I'm presently in Manteo!
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-26-2006
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You might look for something like a Brewer 12.8 cutter or a Bristol 41.1 which are both 42 foot keel centerboard boats. Both are designed to be offshore capable, go any where boats, and yet both draw less than 4'6" draft.

My Dad has had one of the original 12 Brewer 12.8's, which were built for a group of very experienced yachtsmen. They were wonderfully set up boats. All of the hardware was sellected to be robust and reliable. They sail very well in a wide range of windspeeds and are easy boats to handle. They were full of small details that showed the original owner's years at sea. Dad has had his for the past 14 years and has simply loved his, cruising throughout South Florida,the Bahamas, and up the Atlantic as far as Long Island Sound. In his late 70's he and my stepmother slipped out of Marathon and despite some light air, came in at Beaufort, N.C. 4 1/2 days later. I have been extremely impressed with his boat everytime that I have sailed her.

The Bristol 41.1's have a similar reputation. That said, some of the later Brewers 12.8's and the Bristol 41.1's vary quite widely in fit out and there are some Whitby 42's being sold as Brewer 12.8's. The genuine Brewer 12.8's had very different engineering, higher ballast ratio, and an underbody with a more typical Brewer long keel, skeg hung rudder (Brewer bite) and a centerboard, as well as a cutter rig with a really ingenious retractible staysail on a furler.

In the spirit of disclosure, Dad just turned 80 and his boat is on the market, wants to do some RV'ing and then get something smaller, but there are other sisterships for sale as well.

Regards,
Jeff
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Pamlico

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Pamlico...are you in the Pamlico? I'm presently in Manteo!
Carmaraderie - We sail out of Oriental and are between boats, thus the draft question. I was thinking how a 6' draft would even make routes in the Pamlico difficult. Not sure we could even get into Ocracoke. But we are wanting a deeper boat for some planned extended trips.
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IIRC, a few states were recently cited and about to lose all their waterways-related federal funding since they had failed to dredge and maintain the waterways. I think GA was the primary culprit, but has since decided that losing the federal funding would be bad... and is in the process of doing remedial dredging and maintenance.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H
In the spirit of disclosure, Dad just turned 80 and his boat is on the market, wants to do some RV'ing and then get something smaller, but there are other sisterships for sale as well.
Jeff - The Brewer 12.8 cutter and Bristol 41.1 are GREAT suggestions. I need to do some research on those two ideas and it sounds like your Dad has had a great sailing life! If it looks like a fit I will let you know. Thanks

Last edited by Pamlicotraveler; 08-26-2006 at 11:13 AM.
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