1) First off, a 6.5' draft is NOT a problem in the Bahamas....I know 'cause not only is that my darft now, but has been 6' to 6.5' since the 1970's!!! (and this was decades before GPS and "Explorer's Charts"!!!)
So, no worries there for you!!!
Originally Posted by S/V Willow
We are hoping to head
for the Bahamas in the new year and want to know what is the best guide book for the area? We have a problem in that we draw 6.5' and are getting sick of people telling us that we just can't do the Bahamas or Caribbean
- we know that we will anchor
out further than most...
And, it is doubtful that you anchor "farther out" than others, too much....you'll get used to sailing and anchoring
with 3' of water
under your keel!!!
(although having a deeper draft than those on multihulls CAN be an advantage in anchoring
, as it gives you a built-in excuse to stay away from the crowd without seeming to be "anti-social"!!!)
And, certainly no worries in the Caribbean either....with the exception of crossing a river bar in Cent America, draft is not an issue in the Caribbean!!!
2) As for "Guide Books"....yes, everyone will tell 'ya that you need Explorer's Charts, and yes they are good and I also recommend them for those new to the Bahamas....(but, please understand that was a thriving cruising community and with many 1000's of deep draft sailboats plying the waters of the Bahamas for decades before the Explorer's Charts, doing so safely, without major incident, does prove that they are not a necessity...)
But, these recommendations do not answer your question about Guide Books....of which there are really only two viable / well-done choices...
"The Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas"
Originally Posted by S/V Willow
....but avoiding all hysteria we just want to know what everyone thinks is the best guide. Yes we have both electronic and paper charts but a guide does help with local knowledge, ports
of entry, anchorages
, refueling, provisioning
and advice so what does everyone think?
has been published annually since before I was born!!!
And, I first used this guide as a kid in 1965....and have used one, many, many times, over the years since then!!
Their great sketch charts and chartlets will get you thru cuts, and into harbors with ease....and the tide tables and current
charts are accurate....(although some of the shoreside facility info isn't updated as often as some would like, fact is there is always someone around on-shore or on the VHF
to point you in the right direction for what you want...)
There are some B&W aerial photographs, but no hi-res full-color stuff....but, what you get is exactly what you need!!!
Not superfluous stuff that looks good on a bookshelf, but is practically useless in a windy cockpit!!!
And, then there is the little secret....its spiral-wound open-book design....which allows you to easily use the darn thing in the cockpit
(or even in a dinghy
, exploring), and actually SEE what the guide is talking about or showing you in a sketch chart, etc..
"The Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas", is THE guide to have on-board!!
If you can only afford one book, make it this one!!
2015 annual edition Yachtsman's Guide to the Bahamas, Yachtsmans Guide
Bluewater Books & Charts - 2015 Yachtsmans Guide To The Bahamas
The other cruising guides
to look at might be Steve Pavlidis' books....they're very well written and have lots of nice photos, etc...but don't have the user-friendliness of the "Yachtsman's Guides"...
Bahamas | Cruising Guides
3) In addition to the answers to your questions, please allow me to add a few suggestions....
a) Make sure your depthsounder is working well, and that you have it calibrated to show the actual water depth
, just like the soundings shown on the charts, NOT showing "water-under-the-keel", as I've seen some have...
b) Make sure your main VHF-DSC radio
is working well, and your coax/antenna is good....
This will be your primary means of communications
and routine), and is somewhere that you do NOT want to scrimp and try to save money
Oh, and please have a valid license
and MMSI# (programmed into the radio), and hopefully a GPS connected to the radio
at all times as well...
c) use polarized sunglasses ALL the time during the day, and use your charts (paper charts), your depthsounder, and you eyes, to learn to "read the water depths"....
It doesn't take long to learn, and then you'll wonder why all those "others" were telling 'ya that you can't do the Bahamas with a 6.5' draft!!!
I could go on, but don't want to drift off topic too much!!
I hope this helps...
Fair winds and have fun!!
s/v Annie Laurie