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Old 11-07-2013, 14:54   #1
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Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

Doing extensive research of these two areas I have a question I cannot answer without having a local expertise. Have anyone used Hillsboro and/or Boca Raton Inlets to accesses the ocean in an about 40' sailboat or catamaran? Can you please share your experience? As per the Internet, a lot of sailors seem to have problems with these two inlets. 63' feet of the mast looks OK; most complaints are about currents, waves, and depths.
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Old 11-07-2013, 15:29   #2
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When I first purchase my boat I sailed out of the Boca inlet. The issues are the shallow area outside the inlet in the apparent channel and that on an incoming tide holding position between the bend and the bridge on a Sunday would make a monk scream! The issue with the shallow area is that at mid to low tide with an easterly swell there is a reef in the apparent center channel outside the inlet (hope that makes sense). How bad is it? On my last trip through there were 4 foot breakers, we slid over the sandy reef on a +/-15 degree list!

I now sail out of Hillsboro. Much easier to deal with! When things get bumpy enough that i have a concern, the classic side door approaches are easy to execute- swells from the north an issue? You can approach from the south and have a short run with a quartering sea- same goes if there is a swell from the south. That said, about a year ago a powered catamaran used as a dive boat flipped in the inlet...

"You pay your money and take you chances"

Hope this helps
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Old 11-07-2013, 15:30   #3
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Re: Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

Leont,
Hillsboro inlet is constantly being dredged and is plenty deep and can be entered in almost all but heavy conditons. When on the heavy side be carefull only when tides is dropping as waves can get big and break due to the counter current of the tide. Otherwise, if you have a keelboat with 5 ' draft or more stay away from Boca Inlet, they don't dregde. If you want more details send me a private message.
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Old 11-07-2013, 15:43   #4
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Hillsboro is a piece of cake. Boca is a little trickery... What are you sailing?
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Old 11-07-2013, 16:02   #5
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Re: Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

When pompano was a port for sword boats i was on a 65' broadfire. I remember coming to a dead stop in the current once and having to idle out in weather waiting on tidal flow and rips.
what a trip to get the riggers swung inboard in the moments between safe water and going through bridge!
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Old 11-07-2013, 18:52   #6
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Some funny currents for sure... For a couple of beers and a boat ride I'll show you the tricks of Hillsboro inlet...
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Old 11-07-2013, 19:15   #7
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Re: Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

If i only had one horsepower per ft I'd take Palm beach to the north or Lauderdale to the south.
Last time i did Hillsborough was late eightys on a 49' bottomfish boat( 671 Detroit) Flood tide i dam near hit the bridge twice getting my riggers in, There is a turning basin but sometimes it fills up with sail boats waiting for gulfstream to settle down. I remember that trip not only because of the girl with me but mostly it being NW 35kn and gusty it took till 3 A.M to get there. No fun. She insisted i stop at first dock and i never saw her again
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:10   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George P View Post
, if you have a keelboat with 5 ' draft or more stay away from Boca Inlet, they don't dregde. If you want more details send me a private message.
Hate to sound like a contrarian, but you may not have been through there in a while. The City of Boca Raton has had a dredge station in the inlet for some time. As of 2 years ago, when I called they kept the controlling depth "in" the inlet at either 5 or 6 feet. I believe that to still be accurate as they were working in the inlet yesterday afternoon. The issue I had was in the apparent channel while east of the south breakwater in a vessel drawing only 4 1/2 feet in an easterly swell at the bottom 1/3 of the tide. Must be hell in the NW swell we get after a cold front!
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Old 12-07-2013, 08:57   #9
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Re: Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

Clear, thank you, guys. Also received very useful info from gene80.
I was looking for a house in Boca/Lighthouse area and all of a sudden realized that I did not check the access to the ocean; after searching the Web, got quite confused.
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Old 13-07-2013, 02:32   #10
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Go a little further south and sail out of Port Everglades. Take Catsailor up on his offer. Hillsboro is ok once you know it. Otherwise it can be a nasty beach!
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Old 29-07-2013, 11:32   #11
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Question Re: Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

While you are talking about inlets, what about Stuart, Fla. for a smaller 32' sailboat. Any major issues there?
Any comments would be appreciated!
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Old 26-08-2013, 19:25   #12
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Re: Boca Raton and Hillsboro Inlets

Hey guys and gals - great info but RATHER general in nature. Does anyone use their depth sounder anymore? Does ANYONE know the minimum depth going thru the Hillsboro Inlet at low tide?
I see the latest Garmin charts shows 7 ft at the north end (near bridge). I draw 6 ft - does anyone know if a 6 ft keel can pass thru Hillsboro Inlet at low tide ? (I can figure the rest from tide tables).

Thanks!

Ron
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