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Old 03-08-2015, 19:40   #1
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Great Bahama Bank overnight

I may choose to cross the Great Bahama Bank next April, westbound from Chub Cay to North Rock. This is more than 60 miles, so may require sailing at night or anchoring. What experience can anyone share about anchoring overnight on the Bank, and what advice can you offer?
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Old 03-08-2015, 19:47   #2
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

I Anchored on the bank last summer on the bank last summer. it was mostly calm and posed no particular problem
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Old 03-08-2015, 19:52   #3
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

I've anchored on the Bank twice with no issues. Get well off the line though. It wasn't exactly a pleasant night either time, with T-storms moving over us.

Our last trip, we just went non-stop from No Name Harbor to Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands, and checked in there. We aren't fast, but did it in 23 hours.

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Old 03-08-2015, 20:02   #4
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

If you have never done it before you should. It's weird anchoring with no landmarks, no lights, nothing.
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Old 03-08-2015, 20:03   #5
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

We anchored on the bank this spring... it can get quite bouncy. We had rollers coming through so would almost put our bowsprit in the water. So, its not always calm! Keep well off the line as advised... We witness a ton of large boats going through that channel in the evening. We slept with our spreaders on.
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Old 03-08-2015, 20:17   #6
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

in addition to staying well off the line (lots of interisland freighters use the line at night) I do not recommend anchoring within 15 miles of the edge of the bank and absolutely never withing 5 miles of the edge. Tidal currents get stronger the closer you are to the edge of the bank and they almost never align with the wind. If you think anchoring into a couple foot sea is uncomfortable try a 3 foot sea on your beam because you are being held bow into the current by a strong tide. Don't ask how I know all this, but I wish someone had given me this advice many years ago.
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Old 03-08-2015, 22:20   #7
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

No problem. We go Cat Cay to Nassau, stopping for the evening near the edge of the bank, near NW Channel light. As everyone says, move a mile or two south of the main route and keep all your lights on. Some commercial traffic and the occasional yachtie travel that route at night.

And although we've never had a really bad night there, Captain Bill probably has a better idea - stay back from the edge of the bank to quiet down those big rollers....
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Old 03-08-2015, 23:43   #8
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
No problem. We go Cat Cay to Nassau, stopping for the evening near the edge of the bank, near NW Channel light. As everyone says, move a mile or two south of the main route and stay back from the edge of the bank to quiet down those big rollers....

Oh come on now. There are big rollers and then there are big rollers. You wussies who sail around the Bahamas don't know what big rollers are unless you are having a hurricane or something.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:53   #9
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

When I sailed across it the was a fishing boat that seemed to be out to get me, been told the set the autopilot and go down below to get some sleep?!


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Old 04-08-2015, 05:43   #10
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

Captain Bill summed it up very well. In addition the No See Ums and Skeeters WILL find you.
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Old 04-08-2015, 05:54   #11
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

I've never understood anchoring on the bank. If the weather is nice enough for anchoring, why not make the miles sailing/motoring - it will be a pleasant night? If the weather is rough, why anchor - it will be more comfortable to keep moving?

But what I hate is dodging all the people who just stop and drop anchor on/near the rhumb lines between common points. If you must anchor, get out of these areas and light your boat up low - not a masthead light.

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Old 04-08-2015, 06:13   #12
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

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Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
If you think anchoring into a couple foot sea is uncomfortable try a 3 foot sea on your beam because you are being held bow into the current by a strong tide. .

I've anchored there numerous times. Seas on the beam can mean a sleepless night.
A good thing to learn, when anchored in those conditions, is how to turn your bow, so it's close to facing the waves. Makes a BIG difference. Makes sleep possible.
When making a passage to, or in the Bahamas, I depart at a time that will allow me to arrive in daylight.
Gun Key to Great Stirup Cay. Depart at Midnight.
Rodriguez Key FL to Bimini. Depart at Midnight.
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Old 04-08-2015, 07:49   #13
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

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I've never understood anchoring on the bank. If the weather is nice enough for anchoring, why not make the miles sailing/motoring - it will be a pleasant night? If the weather is rough, why anchor - it will be more comfortable to keep moving?----
I do it occasionally because I'm not a big fan of going through NW Channel in the dark.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:08   #14
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

I think the good advice you were looking for has been offered. Not a big deal really as long as you get off the beaten path and avoid anchoring too close to the edge where currents/rollers can cause problems.

I've only done it once, but that whole trip seems very weird to me, to go hours at a time with your depth sounder saying less than 5' beneath your keel and sometimes not varying even a tenth of a foot for long periods of time. Then, to anchor and go for a swim in a place where you can easily see bottom but your boat is the only object in sight in any direction. It takes some getting used to.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:28   #15
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Re: Great Bahama Bank overnight

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Originally Posted by over40pirate View Post
I've anchored there numerous times. Seas on the beam can mean a sleepless night.
A good thing to learn, when anchored in those conditions, is how to turn your bow, so it's close to facing the waves. Makes a BIG difference. Makes sleep possible.
When making a passage to, or in the Bahamas, I depart at a time that will allow me to arrive in daylight.
Gun Key to Great Stirup Cay. Depart at Midnight.
Rodriguez Key FL to Bimini. Depart at Midnight.
Echo all these sentiments. I have used lee cloths more than once on the Banks, and re-securing the hard dink to avoid mashing the self-steerer gets old fast.
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