my sailing club owns four catalina
25's, which i occasionally crew on. not the greatest sailing boat but it will get you there and back if you 'wait for weather'. don't be goaded into crossing on a marginal day, but if you do, remember that it's a lot easier to turn west and go back to florida
if you really get into some bad stuff.
the only serious navigating/sailing will be crossing the gulf stream
. spend your time planning your crossing strategy and all will be well. i regularly cross using only the explorer charts and a couple of handheld gps
units. this in a 37 foot heavy displacement cutter
once you've arrived you're 'on the bank', in shallow water
, so if the weather
turns really bad you can anchor
almost anywhere. we've often anchored in the middle of nowhere, out of sight of land, in 10 feet of water
. have at least a boat length of chain plus 100 feet of line and a heavy anchor
, at least 25 pounds. i use a manson supreme now but used a plow and a danforth in the past.
if you decide to go to bimini
you'll find it's the cheapest place in the bahamas. anchoring
room can be difficult to find in bimini
harbor but maybe not for your boat.
from there you can cross the banks to the berry islands or run down the east coast
of andros. never been to andros but heard it's got some of the best diving
in the bahamas.
i've grown to love the abacos. going there you'll best cross from west palm or even boca inlet. go to west end to check in or go to memory rock, cross the little bahama bank by way of great sale
key and around to green turtle cay where you can clear in. the abacos are a terrific sailing area, especially for small boats.
you'll need a passport and $150 for entry. state boat registration
is ok. bring extra fuel tanks
for the outboard
. i recommend an autopilot
, although at least in the northern bahamas i did fine without one until the last few years.
don't rely on catching fish
. spear guns
are illegal but pole spears and hawaiian slings are not. carry as much water as you can. use a propane
stove - friends of mine used a thirty dollar coleman camp stove for years. you won't need a lot in the way of clothing
. shorts, shirts, sneakers, flip flops. maybe a light rain jacket. a hat - mostly for sun protection. a complete first aid kit. bug screens - you can make your own. bring all of your favorite snacks - they are either unavailable or too expensive. food
, other than staples like beans and rice, is expensive.
fit a real vhf
and masthead antenna
. if you get in trouble in the gulf stream
, the coast guard can pick up your distress
call all the way from florida
to the bahamas.
swing your compass
before leaving and note the deviation on at least the four cardinal points.
i think you'll get hooked on the bahamas. fair winds and following seas....