Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 168 Old 02-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

What in your opinion is the best small (up to 30 feet) boat for cruising the Bahamas? Using Georgia or Florida as a home port, and sailing solo. I'm a minimalist in general but I do want to also carry my kayak and my SUP board. What about twin keeled boats like Westerly Centaur? Your input will be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 168 Old 02-22-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

For a solo, thats a decent amount of space to get by. As with all boats, make sure your rigging, engine, and systems are in good shape and you'll have a fine time. In many parts of the bahamas, a 5' draft can be carried...which for most 30' boats is plenty for good tracking

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post #3 of 168 Old 02-22-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

I own the best small boat for cruising the Bahamas. A 1981 8.5 meter (28') S2 with shoal draft of 3'10". Original 7 hp 1GM Yanmar replaced with a 13 hp 2GM.
Internal ballast so when (not if) you hit bottom you never have to worry about keel bolts. She has all controls led to cockpit and I have single handed her a lot. Old enough that if she somehow gets destroyed, it isn't a significant loss.

AND........and the most significant thing, she is now registered in the bahamas and is in Marsh Harbor, Abacos.

Now, the down side. I am currently unable to use her.
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post #4 of 168 Old 02-22-2013
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Unlike some folks here, I enjoy these "best boat for..." threads, but we really need a few details about your needs, such as budget, to give you a good answer. How much can you spend? What are your top three priorities for a boat (for example: 1) storage 2) sailing performance 3) inboard motor). From your post, I'm going to assume you're thinking of a solo adventure.

Here's a few to consider if you're want shallow draft to really explore and gunkhole in the Bahamas, until we can narrow it down with a budget:

Gemini m105c - Popular, relatively affordable, simple shallow draft cat

Island Packet 26 - The original IP with a shallow draft has now become somewhat of pocket cruiser bargain

Seaward 26RK - Beachable little cruiser with vertically lifting keel and rudder

And how about this cool cat, the Tiki 30 (Wharram desgin) from Boatsmith - She looks perfect for an adventurous romp through the Bahamas.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

For the Bahamas, in general, the shallower the draft the better.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

I would like to keep the cost of the boat to less than $15K, not counting another 5K for extra gear I may need. I was seriously thinking of a Cape Dory 25 with an outboard - with 3' draft it seems ideal for Bahamas but I'm not sure if this is 'enough boat' for this purpose. Crossing Gulf Stream can be intimidating.
As to priorities, it is safety and enough storage for a 1-2 month long trip.
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

What do you folks think about centerboarders like Tartan 27 for this kind of adventure?
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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
I would like to keep the cost of the boat to less than $15K, not counting another 5K for extra gear I may need. I was seriously thinking of a Cape Dory 25 with an outboard - with 3' draft it seems ideal for Bahamas but I'm not sure if this is 'enough boat' for this purpose. Crossing Gulf Stream can be intimidating.
As to priorities, it is safety and enough storage for a 1-2 month long trip.
Even though you gain space, I'd avoid an outboard for "long-distance"ish cruising. Choppy seas can result in cavitation, and if you're going Bahamas, expect to spend a lot of time in shallow waters with choppy seas (ie, Bahamas banks).

With your budget and desired cruising grounds, any decent production built boat in the 30 foot range would be a good choice. Catalina 30s are a dime a dozen it seems!!!

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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

had a CD 25. cute little boat but using outboard as primary engine not a great idea in MO. Beyond caviation with engine in well used to lose power when engine intakewent under water in a seaway. Dana 24 would take you anywhere in comfort and safety but may need to save a bit.

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Re: Best small boat for cruising the Bahamas?

Alert. Biased response.

I own a 1966 Tartan 27. Three foot two inch draft with board up. Very stable, easy motion in a seaway, can handle almost anything you will encounter. Sail great even with he board up. And they look good.

If you find one in pretty good shape, you won't be disappointed. Check out the Tartan 27 site for help and suggestions.

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