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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Shoal Draft Cruiser in PNW
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Thread: Shoal Draft Cruiser in PNW Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-23-2008 01:02 AM
Rustyf The "shoal" draft boats that I have seen advertised have drafts around five feet. A Caribbean cruise would be fun but I have to convince my wife that sailing the PNW would be fun. Hence I will likely take her out on a boat run by a charter company in early summer. I have my eye on a couple of boats but with the economy as it is I think that time is on my side. Again thanks to all for the good responses. I will keep the site updated as this matter moves along.
01-22-2008 09:50 PM
Plumper When you say shoal draft, what is that? How much does a shoal draft boat draw?
I cruise in the PNW and there are a few places where you can put a really deep boat in the sand but not many. Specifically, the Comox Bar, around the islands in the north end of Georgia Strait and at the mouth of the Fraser. Anything that draws less than ten feet is pretty much a free runner here. I had a boat with a 10 foot draft and I sometimes had to wait for the right tide in Comox or Port Townsend. Most of the places there was lots of water. I currently sail in a 5' draft boat and often anchor with one end of the boat tied to shore (as most folks around here do).
Fog, yes there is lots of fog in August and September off the west coast of the island and to the north. Check the pilot charts. The inside is fog free most of the time, particularly summer but it is also wind free. Warm air over cold water equals fog everywhere off the west coast. They call it fogust here.
01-22-2008 08:44 PM
Moonfish What fog? Rain, yes. Fog... not a huge deal around here. It does happen, and I'm glad I have radar, but encountered thick fog only once since last July. 'Course I'm not out every day...
01-22-2008 06:22 PM
sailingdog No, but you have to get permission for the boat... so the trip to the Caribbean is probably going to be more effective than sailing in the fog of the PNW.
01-22-2008 06:17 PM
Faster While I'm certainly all for taking her to the Carib for a cruise, that's not really going to prepare her for year round cruising in the PNW... You do have to get used to rain, cold, and perhaps fog.

Seriously though, Rusty, it sounds like you have a good plan. Though living 5 hours from the boat would be tough for me. I like to check her at least twice a week.

Getting the better half fully on board (no pun intended) is definitely a good Plan A. Good Luck.
01-22-2008 05:53 PM
sailingdog Rusty-

If you want to convince your wife, take her on a bareboat or crewed charter in the Caribbean. Also, send her to sailing school too... she should be able to single hand the boat if she'll be cruising with you normally.
01-22-2008 05:41 PM
Rustyf Thanks Guys. Your responses were helpful. I am still in the beginning stages of deciding whether to buy a cruiser. I like the Tartans for their looks and reputations although I am aware of recent reports. A 34 or 35 foot boat up to year 2002 would be affordable. My plan is to take a weeklong cruise/training course in the San Juans to make sure that sailing in that area-and Puget Sound- will give me the kind of fun and challenges that I have read so much about. I live about 5 hours from the Seattle ara where I would likely keep the boat. I also have to convince my wife that shee too would get a lot of fun out of sailing.
01-22-2008 03:06 PM
sailingdog Faster-

He's looking at a fairly narrow and specific year/make of boat. That would limit his choice in any area... but the boats aren't all that common on the west coast to begin with, so makes it a bit limited in selection.

Your point about having a bit wider a selection of slips that can accommodate the boat is a good one, and often the shallower slips are slightly less expensive.
01-22-2008 02:56 PM
Faster I'd agree that you do not need to worry about having a shoal draft - there will always be buyers who either won't be that bothered either way or can appreciate the added accessibilty that the shoal draft offers. Another advangtage that shoal draft offers is especially significant in today's tight moorage market - you can put up with a shallower slip in tidal waters with shoal draft.

I'm a bit surprised that you are having difficulty finding a boat in your area, though. the selection in the Seattle and outlying areas has always seemed good to me.
01-22-2008 02:43 PM
Moonfish RustyF - You don't really need to worry about draft out here. Even if you contain your sailing/cruising to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, a 6 foot draft is not going to preclude you from most places that a 4 foot draft can go. That's not to say you don't need to be more careful with a deeper draft. Going aground around here will usually result in a very loud crunching sound, or so I imagine what fiberglass scraping and breaking on solid, jagged rock would sound like... (something I NEVER want to hear!)

Anyway, my 16,000 lb. 33 footer with 5,400 lbs of ballast has a modified full keel that is only 4' 7". In 5 crossings of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I was glad she wasn't any shorter, and would have preferred around 5 feet. But she performs quite nicely (considering she ain't no racer), and I went everywhere I wanted to. However, the shorter draft wasn't an issue when I bought her, and I don't think it will be for anyone else who may own her in the future.

You are right in assuming that there aren't a whole lot of shoal draft boats out here on the west coast because they aren't as beneficial as they are on the east coast, with the Chesapeake, etc. We have no ICW, either, so any coastal cruising is really that: off the coast and out in the Pacific. And that's where you would want deeper draft.

But then there are really smart people like JeffH on this forum who can better explain the trade-offs between draft, hull and keel shape, wetted surface, choice of rig, etc. Because in the end, out here anyway, it's not just one thing like draft you need to consider. I guess I'm just saying it's not a huge issue that you need to worry about.

Good luck on your quest for a boat! Keep us posted. And where exactly are you located or will be doing your sailing?
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