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Old 06-10-2012, 00:20   #1
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West entrance to Gorda Sound

How tricky is the west entrance to Gorda Sound between Mosquito island and Virgin Gorda on a 42' cat with 4'3" draft?
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Old 06-10-2012, 00:48   #2
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

One day during heavy weather moving in from the north in Dec 1999, 2 cats struck rocks and were holed and badly damaged while attempting to go through there. Do not attempt if seas are high.

Judy
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:07   #3
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Thanks, maybe I'll stick to the north entrance!
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:49   #4
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

I have never done it,but have hiked on Mosquito island. From that vantage point the channel is quite clear. The locals and ferry boats use it all the time. I think its about six feet and very visible in good weather. Me? Its the cruising life. I've got all day. North channel for Starchaser.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:05   #5
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

I've gone over it several times with the dive boats out of Leverick and the deepest channel wanders and is not in the center of the gap. It doesn't look very deep at all and those coral heads / bommies can ruin a hull quickly. I suppose that with spotters on the hulls and good noon light and a slow approach coupled with close watch on the (calibrated) depth sounder it shouldn't be too stressful.

It isn't that much further to the channel and one might get some YachtShots pictures that way, too.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:32   #6
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

Thanks for the replies. I'll stick to the main channel.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:47   #7
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

Good idea. We've snorkled in there, and I wouldn't want to do it, ever.
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Old 06-10-2012, 13:00   #8
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

Quote:
Originally Posted by Q. Helm View Post
How tricky is the west entrance to Gorda Sound between Mosquito island and Virgin Gorda on a 42' cat with 4'3" draft?
IMHO given your draft it is not difficult or risky at all if it is your own boat and there is no heavy sea provided you are careful (slow, use transits and/or GPS route over ground, spotter in the bow, etc).

I use the west entrance every time with a bit more draft than that (4ft6in). I had heard so many things about that entrance that took the time to map it with a dinghy and handheld echosounder. I can go straight through the middle of the channel but at low tide the bar is a bit tight, hence I prefer to turn 90 degrees to the right after going through the narrowest part and just before the bar. That way I never had less than 12in clearance below the keel (that would be 5ft 6in depth). Then of course I need to turn left again to avoid hitting the beach.. I do not have waypoints here but should have them when I get to the boat next week. PM if interested..

All that said, I do not suggest you do this on a charter boat because the charter companies typically do not let you go there..

Cheers
C
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Old 06-10-2012, 14:09   #9
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My contract doesn't specifically exclude it, but if the company advise me against it, I won't go that way.
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Old 07-10-2012, 12:20   #10
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

Just for the sake of a different opinion is that it really relies on the level of your navigational skills.
It is much quicker then the channel entrance and very beautiful with the beach on Mosquito Island off to port.
There is even room to anchor for lunch as you pass the actual cut off to port. It is quite enchanting and safe. You can take your dingy to the beach and have a delightful time.
Just stay more to starboard on your approach, sometimes waves break over the reef that will be on your port. Despite that there is a lot of room when you get in there and it is not to be feared. When you pass the cut the water will get very shallow but quite adequate for your cat. Go slow and you will enjoy this little passage immensely. Remember sun to your back so morning passage is obviously important.
Of course if a heavy sea is running then common sense would dictate to avoid it unless you are really skilled. I am surprised two boats have gone up on the rocks there. My suspicion is they were inexperienced.
I have been through there probably 12-15 times and always go that way not only because it is shorter but very beautiful.
Good Luck
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:50   #11
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

It's tricky as other posters have mentioned. I do it on a nearly high tide and I draw 5'. But I can't recommend it except for the most experienced skippers who are used to tight and shallow cuts.
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Old 09-10-2012, 16:46   #12
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Re: West entrance to Gorda Sound

I'd be surprised if it wasn't off limits. Most charter companies will go over that with you in the briefing - I don't think it would be listed in a contract.

With that said, we have gone through it every time we've been in a cat, but I wouldn't recommend it. It's not that bad going around - we had to last trip with a Mono and 6'3" draft
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