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  #71  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
Specific question: Do you think that having a draft of 3 and a half feet vs. 4 and a half feet makes that much difference in finding good, secluded anchorage in the Bahamas?
In my opinion, No... I cruise the Bahamas with about 5'2" fully loaded, and rarely feel especially "left out", and I think many people make way too much of an issue re shoal draft down there... I know it sounds trite, but the key to finding "secluded anchorages" in the Bahamas, is simply to go where few other cruisers go... Draft is rarely the deal breaker, it's simply the willingness to explore, sail beyond the Exumas, and venture into places like the Bight of Ackins, or Samana Cay...

Certainly, there are many times where I would kill to have a 3.5' draft over there... But you still need a weatherly boat for the Bahamas as well, I'd caution on erring too mightily on the side of extreme shoal draft... There are many, MANY instances where a nimble, good performing boat to weather under sail might make the difference between getting out of a tight spot, or not...

This pic was taken in a little creek entrance named Shroud Cay Harbor... I could only get in thru the entrance at high water, but once inside and lying to bow and stern anchors, I was fine... Room for one boat only, and that was pushing it. (grin) You want secluded, you've got it, there - though I'd only want to stay there in settled weather, I'd be out of there before a frontal passage, due to the inability to swing on the hook... I doubt more than a couple of cruising boats have ventured in there since this pic was taken last winter, probably none larger than mine... It isn't draft that's keeping people out of there, but rather the unwillingness of many to venture off the beaten path, or attempt such a tight, daunting entrance...

Really, even with 4.5' draft, you still have several lifetimes of exploring the Bahamas awaiting you...

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  #72  
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

My sailing buddy has logged many years in the Bahamas on both our 1978 Hunter 25' and 30' with a comfortable trip each time. Both have shoal keels so they can get into tighter places.
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  #73  
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by Dolby View Post
As for diesel fuel.... we are talking about "sail"boats here??? personally I have used 10gal of fuel since new years and traveled almost 300nm from marsh harbor to eleuthrea to exumas to long island and only carry a total of 30 gal on board....it is a sail boat...its meant to be sailed...as long as you wait for weather windows the winds will take you to the destination
Very true. But when you have a schedule to meet, fuel can be a real life saver.
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  #74  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
This pic was taken in a little creek entrance named Shroud Cay Harbor...
Beautiful picture Jon. Sorry for the hi-jack, but in case anyone is interested the Windtraveler crew is in Shroud Cay currently and I think they draw 4'6" with the board up.
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  #75  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
In my opinion, No... I cruise the Bahamas with about 5'2" fully loaded, and rarely feel especially "left out", and I think many people make way too much of an issue re shoal draft down there... I know it sounds trite, but the key to finding "secluded anchorages" in the Bahamas, is simply to go where few other cruisers go... Draft is rarely the deal breaker, it's simply the willingness to explore, sail beyond the Exumas, and venture into places like the Bight of Ackins, or Samana Cay...

Certainly, there are many times where I would kill to have a 3.5' draft over there... But you still need a weatherly boat for the Bahamas as well, I'd caution on erring too mightily on the side of extreme shoal draft... There are many, MANY instances where a nimble, good performing boat to weather under sail might make the difference between getting out of a tight spot, or not...
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?
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Seafarer 26 offers a lot of boat for the size, if you can find one. (...)
Another boat we looked at was a Grampian 26. Again, a lot of boat for the $, and I think there's quite of few of them out there.
I would like the Seafarer 26. Grampian 26 has a very unprotected rudder which IMO is a potential liability when cruising.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
Very true. But when you have a schedule to meet, fuel can be a real life saver.
If you are motoring because you have a schedule to meet,
a) you ain't cruising, since you've got a schedule and
b) you've got the wrong boat. A trawler might be a better choice.

A small diesel on a small boat doesn't require huge tankage. A yanmar 2 cylinder burns about a 1/2 gallon an hour at cruise, so a 10 gallon tank will allow you to motor a long time. In fact, bigger tanks give you bigger problems, as fuel stales out before it gets used, and condensation is a bigger issue.
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  #78  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by irmedic View Post
My sailing buddy has logged many years in the Bahamas on both our 1978 Hunter 25' and 30' with a comfortable trip each time. Both have shoal keels so they can get into tighter places.
Hunter 30SD seems like a pretty solid design and I would put it on my list. A Hunter 25 in good shape would probably work as well. Hunter has a bit of bad reputation when it comes to quality. Is that your observation too? As much as we can be objective when it comes to the boats we own...
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

I think a lot of the boats mentioned are way overkill for a Bahamas trip. For a $15-20k budget I'd buy an in good condition Catalina 27 for around 5-7k and spend 10k on making sure the engine, anchoring, sails and rigging were in great shape.

Those little 27's are everywhere. Really cheap, easy to sail, nice little rugged boats, and give you enough money left over for some refits and professional maintenance.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
If you are motoring because you have a schedule to meet,
a) you ain't cruising, since you've got a schedule and
b) you've got the wrong boat. A trawler might be a better choice.

A small diesel on a small boat doesn't require huge tankage. A yanmar 2 cylinder burns about a 1/2 gallon an hour at cruise, so a 10 gallon tank will allow you to motor a long time. In fact, bigger tanks give you bigger problems, as fuel stales out before it gets used, and condensation is a bigger issue.
In this particular trip I have to be back at a somewhat fixed date to go back to work, so it is not open ended cruising. And that is why I have to consider the possibility of more motoring than otherwise required.
I use fuel stabilizers, which seems to be more relevant for gasoline but probably there is something similar that can be added to diesel fuel.
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