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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 06-28-2011
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Draft question

Looking at the different boats in the 40ft range. Which keel depth is ideal for sailing the Florida Gulf Coast, the Keys and the Bahamas?

Thanks Bill
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Old 06-28-2011
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When I lived in Florida I used to be told that the rule of thumb used to be that you needed less than 4'-0", but in recent years people seem to be arguing that you can get by with as much as 5'-6" with some Florida East-coasters arguing that they have no problem with as much as 7'-0. Of course there is a serious loss of performance when you limit a 40 footer to a draft which less than 5'-6" let alone 4'-0", and severe limitations on where you can go as you approach 7'.

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Old 06-28-2011
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My boat was built there (Largo) for use in the Bahamas. 39'6", draws 5'6 loaded. But, she's in NY now!
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Old 06-28-2011
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Generally a 5ft and under draft is recommended. Also don't forget mast height. On the east coast of Florida the fixed bridges are 65ft with I believe one 55ft in SE Florida. On the west coast of Florida the fixed bridges are 55ft. Those are along the ICW which can be nice to motor along if the weather isn't great.
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Old 06-28-2011
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Most bahamian harbors will have less than 6 ft. of water, and I would recommend no more than 5'6" draft.
The Florida Bay side of the Keys is very shallow, with much of the channel at around 4'6" to 5ft, depending on winddirection. I touched ground in a couple of spots inside the channel with 4ft. draft. Hawk Channel has a minimum depth of 9ft, but getting in close for an anchorage puts you at around 5'.
A centerboard boat would be ideal for these cruising grounds.
Or a PSC 40 shoal draft (5'2"), but Jeff's performance comments certainly apply.
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Old 06-28-2011
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Thanks for all the responses. Like the price of the old Morgan 41 Footers. Like the layouts of the Hunters and Beneteaus. Keels just seem deeper on the Bennys and Hunters. Thanks again I never thought of the mast height.


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Old 07-10-2011
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We chartered a Bene40 in the Bahamas last year. I think it had a 5.5 ft draft. We could go where ever we wanted, but our schedule was very tide driven, and the tides did not line up with the crew's desired sightseeing schedule. If I were to do it again, I would try for something drafting quite a bit less.
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Old 07-10-2011
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I cruise these three areas with my 4'3" draft and, by doing so, I give up some performance and offshore comfort in the compromise, but I find the access worthwhile. I agree with LauderBoy regarding the 5' or less. Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 07-11-2011
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Thanks I am leaning towards an old Morgan.
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