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Old 16-06-2016, 10:28   #16
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

My first cruising sailboat was a Glander Tavanna: 3' draft centerboard up. Next was a Durbeck 51': 6' draft. Now it's a Tartan 37 centerboard: 4'2" board up. The Glander didn't track that well and was sensitive to weather helm, but could go where flounders hesitated to swim. The Durbeck was great, and I went most places in S. Florida & the Bahamas that I wanted to go, tide sensitive. The Tartan is a real good compromise: it sails/tracks well and you can go most anywhere. I don't think you'd regret the Tartan.
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Old 16-06-2016, 10:30   #17
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

Out 50' had 3.5, Ocean going......one catch, two hulls :-)

Current boat short a hull but with 5.5 draft. Wouldn't go much more for your stated goals.
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Old 16-06-2016, 10:30   #18
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

I would definitely stay under 6 ft for Fl and Bahamas. My preference would be 4.5 ft.
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Old 16-06-2016, 10:31   #19
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

Depends on where you want to sail and anchor. 4-5 feet gives you a lot of choices. 7 or more feet gives you a lot less choices, but most harbors and marinas can accommodate 7 foot drafts; not much more than that; otherwise you will be limited to the commercial docks(ugh). Trade off is access vs comfort.

Side note, you do not want to cut the navigation depths too close. The Carib is shallow so a 4 foot wave will literally drop you onto the bottom in an eight foot channel.
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Old 16-06-2016, 10:34   #20
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

We had the same head scratching. We enjoyed 7ft draught on boats in Europe as well as a tall rig, neither would work well in Florida, ICW and Bahamas We originally had a trawler motor vessel with 4.5 ft and it came with 2 spare props, guess why? After I had a stroke we went back from motor to sail and bought our current Beneteau oceanis 36 Center cockpit, which has a winged keel and 5.23ft draught and 48ft air draught, pretty much ideal top and bottom. There was a more racy benny 375 I really liked but the stress of skinny waters and bridges would have spoiled enjoyment.
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Old 16-06-2016, 11:23   #21
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

Jdege, You hit on the perfect Florida/Bahamas boat. Based on the designs of Commodore Ralph Munroe. His grandson Bill Munroe built a comfortable boat perfect for cruising the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. Bill is quite tall so there is plenty of head room. You might have to pick your weather to cross the stream but everyone does that anyway.

I've been thinking of building a small Sharpie for Florida beach cruising. The Commodore was a big fan of Sharpies for South Florida.
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Old 16-06-2016, 11:36   #22
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

Under 5', aim for 4'. Look for centerboard, lifting keel etc. An Ovni seems a perfect but expensive option.
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Old 16-06-2016, 11:41   #23
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

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Jdege, You hit on the perfect Florida/Bahamas boat. Based on the designs of Commodore Ralph Munroe. His grandson Bill Munroe built a comfortable boat perfect for cruising the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. Bill is quite tall so there is plenty of head room. You might have to pick your weather to cross the stream but everyone does that anyway.
The question in my mind is how safe would they be, out in weather?

No matter how carefully you choose your weather window, you are going to get caught out.

I accept that they'd not be as comfortable, in a heavy blow, as say something like this: 1972 Ingrid Ketch. But would you live through it?
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Old 16-06-2016, 12:16   #24
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

It's funny guys with less the 4' 6" cruise like they are 3' 6" and guys with boats more than 6' 6" cruise like they're 8' 6".

It's all how you want to cruise. We have a Tartan 37 and absolutely love cruising South with the shoal draft (4'2"), you get the best anchorages and it's nice cleaning the bottom in chest deep water.
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Old 16-06-2016, 12:19   #25
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

Both and Alden 44 and Bristol 41.1 with centerboards cross oceans and crawl into shallow places. Best of both worlds.
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Old 16-06-2016, 12:56   #26
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

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Centerboard monos might be able to tuck themselves up the creeks, anchor in the shallow areas of the harbors that the deeper drafts can't reach, but how well do they handle crossing to the Bahamas in weather?
I sailed a San Juan 23 -- board up draft less than 2' -- to the Bahamas and back in the early 80s. Of course, I was careful to pick good weather, but I'd have done that even if I was sailing something like a Westsail.

There are lots of boats out there that have crossed oceans and sailed around the world with centerboards (or not) and a maximum draft of 5' or less. Until you get up to boats in the range of greater than 50 feet, sturdy, seaworthy boats with reasonable draft for the Bahamas are easy to find.
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Old 16-06-2016, 12:56   #27
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

We have cruised Florida and the Bahamas extensively. The advantage of shoal draft, to us, is access to safe and quality anchorages as well as access to pristine and remote areas inaccessible by deeper draft boats. We draw 4 feet and,at times, we wished we drew less during storm conditions. When we shopped for our boat, our target was 4 feet which meant a Scheel or Wing Keel. Ours has a wing. If you need a larger boat, you have the option of a centerboard albeit with their structural and maintenance considerations. In any event, five feet is the max but 4 feet or less is ideal. You will never regret your decision buying a shoal draft vessel. Good luck and safe sailing.
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Old 16-06-2016, 13:11   #28
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

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The question in my mind is how safe would they be, out in weather?

No matter how carefully you choose your weather window, you are going to get caught out.

I accept that they'd not be as comfortable, in a heavy blow, as say something like this: 1972 Ingrid Ketch. But would you live through it?
The only real advantage of the deeper draft is going to weather a bit better.... not primarily safety.
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Old 16-06-2016, 14:35   #29
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

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I am considering buying a larger sailboat for personal use and also to charter occasionally for South Florida Miami area. I'll sail to the Bahamas at least once and to the Keys also.

The question is: How much draft will make my life too hard to enjoy the cruising grounds? The boats under consideration average 7.5ft of draft.
Just my humble opinion, 7.5 is not for the Keys. For your stated desires a boat with less draft would make you live easier.
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Old 16-06-2016, 14:45   #30
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Re: How much draft is too much for South Florida

From South WEST Florida.
Better think carefully as to where you will dock this boat when you are not using it. Many canals are quite shallow and the available funds for dredging are almost nonexistent. On the west coast of Florida we have plenty of water, plenty of dock space but little depth and lots of towing insurance.
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