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Old 01-10-2014, 20:10   #1
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Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Folks,

This is our first time going to the Bahamas and we were thinking of doing the Lake Worth ->Memory Rock->Great Sale Cay->Green Turtle route.

However, I'm betting on my boat making 4 knots, 5 if we motor-sail or just plain motor. This plainly does not leave enough time to get the 53ish miles to Memory Rock and on to Great Sale key in daylight hours in December.

Let's say it takes about 15 hours for us to get from Lake Worth to Memory Rock explorer chart waypoint... the advice I have heard is that you should enter the banks at noonish; so we would need to leave between 9 PM and 10 PM the night before.

However being at Memory Rock at 12 PM would put us another 45ish miles from Great Sale Cay, basically another 12 hours.

Is there a viable anchorage before Great Sale? onestepcsy said they anchored at Memory Rock but I once anchored in the open like that and it was not pleasant!
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Old 01-10-2014, 21:14   #2
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

If you get on the banks in daylight you can sail over the banks at night. I have pulled up to Great Sale Cay at night, and left after sunset too. Let's say you cleared memory rock at noon and had another 12 hours to go. As you approach Great Sale come in close enough so you are well in the lee, stay in 8 or 9 feet and drop the hook. Let out lots of scope. If you drag you have 50 miles to go before you hit anything. Come in south side of the spit that sticks out to the west, unless the winds are out of the southeast to south, then go the north side of the spit. Have C map electronic charts and explorer charts. It's been a few years since I was there but I can practically visualize this with my eyes closed. Maybe that's because I wish I were going. Have a great cruise. If the moon is up for your night sail over the banks that's a plus. Gorgeous.


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Old 01-10-2014, 21:19   #3
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Are there no coral heads, fishing lines, or other hazards in that route over the banks?
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Old 01-10-2014, 21:26   #4
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Nope. Well, when we've sailed that bank it has been a bit farther north than exactly memory rock. But get on the magenta line and don't worry , except for boats on a reciprocal magenta line course. I've heard of collisions! The first time a friend said "sail the banks at night" I thought he was nuts. Then his wife said no problem, and the kids too. Glad we did it. Have sailed both little Bahamas bank and the bank north of Bimini at night, exiting NW channel near Chubb at 4am. Very slowly at that point, but sailing. Just waaaay eased off. Study the charts carefully, I don't think you will find anything at hazardous depths on that route. You have to be comfortable sailing in 10' though. Some aren't used to it.


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Old 01-10-2014, 22:38   #5
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Mangrove Cay can offer a sheltered anchorage between Memory Rock and Great Sale Cay, depending on the weather. This is according to my Blue Charts...as I have never stopped there.
I anchored north of Memory Rock last May when I was returning to Ft. Pierce from Great Sale. As anchorages go, there was nothing special about this place, except it was the last shallow spot before hitting the gulf stream. If weather is good, you can anchor just about any place between Memory Rock and Great Sale.
I agree that arriving at Great Sale from the west after dark is viable, as the western approach is quite open.
I love sailing the bank. Enjoy the trip.
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Old 02-10-2014, 00:10   #6
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

IMO. no need to arrive at memory rock at noon, I think 8 am would be fine. Watch your navigation, use the guide books, you'll be fine and anchored off Great Sale in time for early sundowners. It's how I did the first time over


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Old 02-10-2014, 00:27   #7
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

All the advice so far is pretty good, IMHO. I personally don't sail
in the Bahamas at night. The wife doesn't like it.

Leave in the evening and head for the waypoint just south of Memory Rock.
I think the course is 090, but of course you and I can't make 090, more
like 120 or 140 depending on your speed and where you are in the Gulf
Stream. But thanks to GPS we don't need to calculate that anymore.
Just keep the Course Over Ground at 090 or whatever the direct course
is and don't worry too much about your actual heading. You probably
won't be sailing as you'll likely be heading right into the prevailing
SE'lys. Motor sailing, or motoring.

You should arrive late morning. Don't bother looking for Memory Rock.
I've never actually seen it or the light that's supposed to be on it.
But you'll know you've arrived when your depthsounder starts picking
up the bottom at maybe 600 feet and a mile or three later you start
seeing the bottom. Can be pretty scary the first time you see that
clear bottom coming up fast. You are on the banks and in maybe 10 to
20 feet of water from then on. It's another 25 miles or so to Mangrove
Cay. You can anchor in the lee of the cay and take a well deserved
rest. Be sure you don't anchor right on one of the routes shown in
the chart books. Move a half mile off so that you won't get hit by
someone following their route by gps/autopilot in the middle of the
night. Use your anchor light. Two if you have them.

Next day you can take a leisurely sail to Great Sale Cay, about 25
miles, and stay there for a day. Then move on to Powell Cay where
there is another nice anchorage. Then next day zip down to Green
Turtle Cay and clear in.

You can anchor in front of the town and dinghy in, then walk to
customs. Anyone will tell you where it is. Or you can go in to
Black Sound and either anchor or tie up and then walk in from there.
Don't anchor in White Sound to clear as it's too far to walk back
to town.

You will need everyones passport, ships papers (state registration
or CG documentation) and cash. $300 if over 30 feet, $150 if 30
feet or under. It's an easy process and the agents are very nice.

There are no coral heads on any of the routes I've used. There
are no commercial fishing nets on the banks. Lobster 'pots' are
actually lobster 'condos' and have no floating markers.

You should have the Explorer Charts and the Dodge Cruising Guide
to Abaco. the Dodge guide is packed with invaluable local info,
so you won't feel like a stranger when you arrive. It also has
some routes that Explorer doesn't have. Get them now
so you can study them and enter waypoints in your GPS. Keep your
VHF on Ch 16 all the time, 24/7.

The only 'scary' part (to my wife, anyway) is crossing the Gulf
Stream at night. After that it's a piece of cake.

Oh. You asked about anchoring at Memory Rock. I've done it
twice. Once we had a rough time coming over and the wife wanted
to take a break. We motored in about two miles from the edge of
the bank, in 10 feet of water, moved a half mile south of the course
line, and anchored till the next day. Then we moved on to Great Sale
Cay. Another time, leaving the Abacos, we anchored about a mile
short of the edge of the bank, just south of Memory Rock, and had
a nice dinner and wash up before setting out for Fort Pierce.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:57   #8
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Based on your time frame it sounds like you will be traveling at just over 3 miles per hour. My question is, why so slow. Adjusting for average times of 5 to 7 MPH minimum, what even the slowest boats do, your arrival times and distances will need some serious reconsidering. Chuck
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:16   #9
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

And if you are using a slightly older GPS, Garmin type, get the Bahamas chip.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:03   #10
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Why not just clear in at West End?

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Old 02-10-2014, 11:58   #11
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Unhappy Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

ZBOSS: my wife and I have made over 20 passages almost all of them at night in a 37 Irwin ketch. As far as we are concerned night sailing beats the hell out of sailing during the day. As far as Memory Rock goes we have anchored on the banks about a mile in toward Great Sale cay, it's not a bad place as long as you have good weather, the holding is good. Personally we normally sail straight through from St Lucie inlet to an imaginary point well North of Memory on White Sand Shoal, then toward Great Sale and around Fox Town to Green Turtle cay. We leave the inlet around 1500 and make the banks around 0100 and Green Turtle around 16 - 1800, 25 to 27 hours at about 5 - 6 knots motor sailing. We have since reconditioned a 35' Pearson sloop and hope to head for GTC after the holidays, I have my doubts the Pearson will be as fast as the Irwin.
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Old 02-10-2014, 13:12   #12
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
Based on your time frame it sounds like you will be traveling at just over 3 miles per hour. My question is, why so slow. Adjusting for average times of 5 to 7 MPH minimum, what even the slowest boats do, your arrival times and distances will need some serious reconsidering. Chuck
Our average speed for the last year is about 4 knots based on our instrument logs, so we are basing my estimate on that speed.

Also, we are still learning to sail our boat efficiently with 26 year old sails. I'm not used to sailing a heavy displacement beast; We had a colgate 26 before this and it was very efficient so you did not have to work so hard to get it go fast or sail well.
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Old 02-10-2014, 13:44   #13
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
Our average speed for the last year is about 4 knots based on our instrument logs, so we are basing my estimate on that speed.
And remember that, while your ultimate destination is Memory Rock, you are not heading to Memory Rock. You're probably heading to a point in the Northwest Providence Channel. So while you may be going 7 knots through the water, you may only be going 4 knots towards your destination. Checking your GPS position against the charts once an hour will show you this. Or just keep track of "distance to next waypoint" on your GPS. "Course" should be held at the course to the waypoint (Memory Rock) from the moment you leave Lake Worth and not your actual heading.

In the words of Albert Einstein, V=v1+v2/(1+(v1 v2)/c2)
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Old 02-10-2014, 13:51   #14
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

I've anchored behind the sandbank just north of Sandy Cay, a short distance north of the Indian Cay Passage. (I felt it was fine in prevailing easterlies) Honestly, it's a very straightforward, fairly straight shot onto the bank there as well. Really no need to go as far north as Memory Rock in my opinion.

There have been posts here about boats being turned back on the banks for not checking in at West End. I've anchored in a couple places there as well several times.

I've anchored behind mangrove in prevailing conditions as well as westerly winds, but it's no good in a northerly wind.

There's also anchoring at the Grand Cays, Double Breasted and Strangers.
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Old 02-10-2014, 14:31   #15
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Re: Anchorage at Memory Rock?

When we left Green Turtle on April 1 this year, we went straight through to Ft. Pierce (no problem running the bank at night). It seems to me, there must be some great cruising grounds with decent anchorages through this area? Personally, didn't enjoy White Sound (Green Turtle) very much. Poor holding there BTW. Be careful in a blow. Usually crowded, and stupid moorings spaced sporadically making anchoring a challenge.

Once you cross the Whale, into the Sea of Abaco, there are a few spots to anchor out depending on weather. Unfortunately, we spent most of our time anchored in Marsh Harbor (hiding from fronts). A couple of nights on a mooring in Hope Town. Anchored out a couple of times at Man O War, and Great Guana for the Barefoot Man concert. Overall, our cruise through Abaco was a let down.

Since most written about the Abacos pertains to these areas, that's where we went, but surely, there is much more to cruising Abaco? Say, between West End and Green Turtle.

BTW, we've anchored out on the (Great Bahama) bank twice. Not much fun, but it's doable.
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