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  #81  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by LauderBoy View Post
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.
Catalina 27 is a tough little boat. It has some features I like, and some that I don't. If the previous owners took good care of them they can make a good choice.
In the end I'm sure it will all boil down to making a list of boats that are both suitable and available, and trying to score the best deal possible on one of them. I would like to have enough money left for improvements and outfitting. Sometimes these costs can be a lot more than the initial boat price.
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  #82  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

We are headed across FL to Bahamas for two months starting on May 1st with a Catalina 27. All new rigging and systems. Solid boat. Draws an inch under 4', but loaded with beer and wine, probably a little OVER 4'!!!

I'll report back on how it went!!

mark
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Catalina 27
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  #83  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by bratzcpa View Post
We are headed across FL to Bahamas for two months starting on May 1st with a Catalina 27. All new rigging and systems. Solid boat. Draws an inch under 4', but loaded with beer and wine, probably a little OVER 4'!!!

I'll report back on how it went!!

mark
I so envy you, Mark!
I love that rush of preparations before a trip almost as much as the trip itself... kind of a foreplay...
Besides beer and wine... how much water are you taking with you? Watermaker?
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  #84  
Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Keep in mind that there are still locations in the Bahamas where diesel fuel is not available, or the price is out of this world.
I'm looking at a propane-fueld Lehr outboard as a backup to the wind. How is propane availability on the islands? I'd have what basically amounts to a standard propane tank as you would use for BBQ's.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Diesel is easier to come by than propane...a lot of time propane has to be dropped of and go to nassau on the mailboat...then return a week later...some places only have delivery once a week, and larger settlements (marsh harbor/ georgetown) propane can be found daily...diesel is certainly more available though
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Old 02-26-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Not to hijack, but how do people feel about a boat like the S2 7.9 for this type of application? Its a MORC boat, certainly (as set up stock) more of a racer than a cruiser. Leaving aside the lack of a full galley (which can/would be remedied prior to an extended cruise), how would this boat handle the Gulf Stream crossing and island hopping? Its a weighted daggerboard configuration that draws 5' board down, 1.5' board up.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
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...
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by truenorth2 View Post
I'm looking at a propane-fueld Lehr outboard as a backup to the wind. How is propane availability on the islands? I'd have what basically amounts to a standard propane tank as you would use for BBQ's.
I'd suggest bringing all the containers you think you'll require with you from the States... I use those as well for a Forespar Mini-Galley, and the occasional barbecue... I've never actually looked for them over there, but I imagine away from places like Nassau or Marsh Harbor, they would be difficult to find, and very expensive...

Diesel is rarely a problem, and prices can be all over the map, but not necessarily that bad... In a big sportfishing center like Lucaya, I've paid less for diesel than the price was when I reached Beaufort on the way home...

I think gasoline tends to be the more precious commodity, once you get to the Out Islands, the prices can be jaw-dropping... Many folks heading over there with SUV tenders with 15 or 20 HP outboards, they can be in for a shock what their total gasoline bill might run to over the course of a season...
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
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...
Good advice, Jon... much appreciated. Maybe I am too preoccupied with shallow draft, and keeping the boat small. It is always a trade off... I love the simplicity and manageability of smaller boats but I see the drawbacks as well.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

I had a Paceship 29 with a swing keel. Very good boat, shallow draft, and cheap to purchase. With only 2 people aboard...plenty of space. Good luck on your adventure!
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