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
Frazierís Hog Cay
Great Harbor Cay
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
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:
: 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
: 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.
: Everything worked like a gem. I have all B&G electronics
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
On the way back across the Stream!
Anchored in White Cay, snorkeling
My dog in Bimini
Back in Lake Worth