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Old 25-04-2015, 20:11   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: St. Petersburg
Boat: Caliber 40LRC
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Bahamas Recap

I wanted to write somewhat of a review of my recent trip to the Bahamas. It was a quick trip, but the first real journey I have taken in my new boat and a big enough trip to truly test the equipment I have chosen.

Quick overview of the trip, we left from Ft. Pierce, FL and headed south offshore to Lake Worth Inlet, then to Port Everglades and then to Miami. From there we headed across to Bimini. Then:
Gun Cay
Chub Cay
Frazierís Hog Cay
Chub Cay

White Cay
Great Harbor Cay
Lake Worth Inlet, FL

Overall, the trip was a great time with good weather and good company. We didnít run into any bad weather, but some of the days we got stuck with wind and swells on the nose with not enough time so we had no choice but to motorsail or solely motor. Nothing went wrong during the trip and nothing on the boat broke, so I have to say I am pretty pleased.

The crossing from Miami to Bimini was not ideal. We left Miami at around 0700 and had good wind from E-SE, but being my first time crossing the stream, I misjudged just how strong the current would be, and we got pushed much further north before even getting offshore of Miami. This killed our angle and a bunch of time, so we ended up having to motor most of the rest of the way and still arrived in Bimini by around 2300, which was not the best time to negotiate the shallow entrance to Alicetown. All went well though- just needed to use my spot light to find some of the unlit markers.

Honeymoon Harbor south of Bimini on Gun Cay was a great anchorage - a bit crowded during the day but once the daytrippers left it was a secluded beach all to ourselves.

The cross from Gun Cay to the Berry's wasn't ideal either, and we were forced to motor and didn't get in to Chub Cay until late. Another anchorage that I wish we could have set up in the daylight. Chub Cay Marina is extremely well protected and nice, however it is $4.25 a foot and there is really nothing there. The clubhouse is deserted and construction is halted, however there is a beautiful infinity pool right on a private beach. Not too shabby, but for that price we stuck to anchoring.

Nassau was everything I remember from going there on a cruise ship seven years ago. Not my scene, but fun to meet up with some fellow cruisers who were in the area and have some conch fritters and some beers.

Back to the Berrys, we stopped at White Cay, which was easily the best spot of the trip. The only boat in the anchorage, we had paradise all to ourselves. Beaches and snorkeling were amazing. Can't say enough about this place.

Great Harbor Cay was a bit of a nothing town, but good to get a protected slip at low cost and sleep easy for the night. Lucaya was a bit of a tourist trap and wasn't all that great.

The crossing back to the US was amazing. We FLEW, I plotted our line well and I guess learned from my mistake the first time. We were heading for Lake Worth Inlet from Lucaya, and got up to 10 knts SOG, which was unreal to see. Winds were out of the north/northeast which I have heard is a big no-no, but it was fine- the swells weren't too big.

Some notes about the boat:

Sails: The sails on my boat are the original Doyle sails from 1999. The previous owner barely used the boat and they are in decent condition, however the genoa had to be cut from a 135% down to a 115% and both probably need to be replaced. I am not pleased entirely with the genoa being a cut down version of the original. Ideally, the boat is completely set up to be cutter-rigged, and should be from the factory, but the previous owner had absolutely nothing installed on the boat when he bought it. I figured Iíd sail the boat as a sloop before upgrading any of the rigging. I would love to install a staysail and replace the 115% genoa with a larger sail, possibly an asymmetrical spinnaker.

Windlass: This trip has been the first time Iíve anchored out at all with a larger sailboat. I opted for a Maxwell VWC 1500, and have all chain with a plow anchor. I couldnít be happier with the way things work. The windlass works flawlessly and anchoring is a breeze. I love dropping the hook now. Searching for cool places to anchor is really exciting. I do need to mark off my anchor chain with some paint so I know how much I have let out.

Electronics: Everything worked like a gem. I have all B&G electronics. Autopilot has been on during almost the entire time, steering like a champ. No issues with any of the other equipment. 4G radar has been extremely helpful, especially pulling in at night.
Energy: My three 140W Kyocera solar panels have kept my bank of 630AH topped off completely. The only real draw I have other than the electronics is the refrigeration, which is a brand new Isotherm through-hull cooled unit, and that thing barely uses any power. I love the solar panels. I would contemplate a wind generator, but to be honest I just donít think I need it given my current power draws. One thing I donít have but definitely need is a unit from Tristar that lets me see what the solar panels are actually doing. I didnít have time to put one in, and I donít have a battery monitor either, just the analog battery and AC/DC status on the breaker panel.

Other things of note are how beneficial a watermaker can be. I have nearly 200 gallons of water tankage, and it sure does go fast, especially with four people on board. Definitely on my wish list.

Overall I am happy with the way my boat performed on this trip. She isnít very fast, but she makes me feel extremely comfortable, especially in rough weather. She makes me actually push myself to sail harder, because I know that sheíll be able to take more than I can. I can really tell how well built the boat is. Very happy!

Anyways, I just wanted to share a little review of some of the equipment Iíve used and my overall experience with my boat in case anyone was wondering. Here are some photos I took on the trip:

Hanging in Honeymoon Harbor

White Cay

White Cay

On the way back across the Stream!

Anchored in White Cay, snorkeling

My dog in Bimini

Back in Lake Worth
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Old 26-04-2015, 00:58   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Florida Keys, Bahamas Bound
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Re: Bahamas Recap

Looks like a great trip!!!

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