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Old 23-04-2013, 19:45   #1
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Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

Headed from Charleston to Abaco in June with the family. We draw 7.9 ft. Any suggestions on deeper water marinas, or anchorages? After West End what's the next stop with facilities that can accommodate a deep ish draft?
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Old 23-04-2013, 19:48   #2
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

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Originally Posted by MG skipper View Post
Headed from Charleston to Abaco in June with the family. We draw 7.9 ft. Any suggestions on deeper water marinas, or anchorages? After West End what's the next stop with facilities that can accommodate a deep ish draft?

I can't tell you about that, but having been in the Abacos without sailing there, get yourself a little sailing dinghy or you'll miss out on a lot of it.
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Old 23-04-2013, 19:57   #3
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

MG,

I used to live in the Abacos, and cruised in a boat that drew 7ft. It made sailing around a bit of a challenge... You will just need to be careful, and use the tide in some places.

You'll be fine though. Are you heading over for Regatta Time? What are you guys sailing down?
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Old 23-04-2013, 20:11   #4
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

I think with a 7.9 draft your going to need to anchor outside most harbors and dinghy in. Marsh Harbour can accommodate your draft at Harborview. Some of the marinas on Grand Bahama around Freeport can handle your draft. Orchid Bay on Great Guana might be another. Some marinas will have the depths at the docks but the channel entrances won't get you in. You will need a set of current charts. We're in the Abacos right now. Chuck
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Old 23-04-2013, 20:22   #5
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

You are going to have to be very careful, as if you didn't already know that. As mentioned you will need the latest charts and watch the tides. I have a 4.5 ft draft and I would drag from time to time in areas that were marked with OK draft clearance. The problem with the Bahama's in general is that the charts seem to be sugestions not hard and fast rules. A lot of chanels are missing markers or are wrong. I think there budget for updating markers and charts is very limited so you are on your own a lot of the time.
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Old 23-04-2013, 20:34   #6
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

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You are going to have to be very careful, as if you didn't already know that. As mentioned you will need the latest charts and watch the tides. I have a 4.5 ft draft and I would drag from time to time in areas that were marked with OK draft clearance. The problem with the Bahama's in general is that the charts seem to be sugestions not hard and fast rules. A lot of chanels are missing markers or are wrong. I think there budget for updating markers and charts is very limited so you are on your own a lot of the time.
Sharing a six-pack of beer will probably get you a lot of local knowledge.
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Old 23-04-2013, 20:36   #7
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

you shouldn't have any problems in the passages - water is generally in the ten foot or better range. it's coming up on the islands that may present a problem. fortunately there is a 2.5 to 3 foot tidal range, so you may be able to play the tides.

just checking my dodge guide, i see that low tide in marsh harbor is in the six to eight foot range.

you may not be able to get in to green turtle cay (white or black sound); there may be just enough water inside, but both have shallow entrance channels. i bumped bottom coming in to black sound with my five foot draft, but that was at low tide. you could anchor off green turtle and dinghy in, but then you'd be exposed to weather, so bring big anchor/chain gear. i use and recommend the manson supreme.

treasure cay may also be iffy, for the same reason. shoaling in the approach channel. but high tide might help you out there.

bakers bay on great guana has plenty of water, but also plenty expensive. it's an 'upscale' resort.

man o war cay, also iffy, may have to play the tides.

hopetown has deep water inside, and the approach channel might be adequate at anything above low tide.

keep in mind there is no 'sea tow' in the bahamas. good anchoring gear, a big dinghy with a big motor, and careful piloting will keep you out of trouble. you may find that you'll have to anchor off places that other boats can go in to, so anchor and dinghy will be important to you.

the good news is, you'll really like the abacos. you're wife will LOVE it. mine didn't want to leave...
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Old 24-04-2013, 15:08   #8
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MG,

I used to live in the Abacos, and cruised in a boat that drew 7ft. It made sailing around a bit of a challenge... You will just need to be careful, and use the tide in some places.

You'll be fine though. Are you heading over for Regatta Time? What are you guys sailing down?
Regatta time yes but not racing. 3 very young kids aboard. Strictly cruising. Beneteau First 40.7.
Thanks!
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Old 24-04-2013, 15:09   #9
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you shouldn't have any problems in the passages - water is generally in the ten foot or better range. it's coming up on the islands that may present a problem. fortunately there is a 2.5 to 3 foot tidal range, so you may be able to play the tides.

just checking my dodge guide, i see that low tide in marsh harbor is in the six to eight foot range.

you may not be able to get in to green turtle cay (white or black sound); there may be just enough water inside, but both have shallow entrance channels. i bumped bottom coming in to black sound with my five foot draft, but that was at low tide. you could anchor off green turtle and dinghy in, but then you'd be exposed to weather, so bring big anchor/chain gear. i use and recommend the manson supreme.

treasure cay may also be iffy, for the same reason. shoaling in the approach channel. but high tide might help you out there.

bakers bay on great guana has plenty of water, but also plenty expensive. it's an 'upscale' resort.

man o war cay, also iffy, may have to play the tides.

hopetown has deep water inside, and the approach channel might be adequate at anything above low tide.

keep in mind there is no 'sea tow' in the bahamas. good anchoring gear, a big dinghy with a big motor, and careful piloting will keep you out of trouble. you may find that you'll have to anchor off places that other boats can go in to, so anchor and dinghy will be important to you.

the good news is, you'll really like the abacos. you're wife will LOVE it. mine didn't want to leave...
Thanks everyone! Really great info. What an awesome community. See you there
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Old 24-04-2013, 15:17   #10
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

I don't think you'll be able to take the Indian Cay channel just north of West End, but instead have to go up to Memory Rock and then across. In fact, you may want to skip most of the Little Bahama Bank and sail either up and over the north end or south around and up to the Abacos. On the bank you'll frequently be within inches of the bottom. I think you'll find it tough in the Abacos with that draft.
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Old 24-04-2013, 20:56   #11
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Abaco is skinny water indeed. Saw half a dozen boats aground in the course of one visit. Get a Dodge's guide, but beware there are many unmarked reefs and shifting sands. Otherwise, Abaco rocks!
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Old 24-04-2013, 21:20   #12
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

Funny how relative draft is. I learned today that a Pearson 424 does not fit in the entrance to Hope Town at a lower then low full moon low tide. Might have made it if my water tanks were not so full... Petty close.

Cruising the same places in my Ariel (around 4' draft) I could go many more places... But if I had 7' I would just look at things with slightly higher numbers. The tide does not have a great range here, but many of the skinny places are either sand or they are sheltered enough that a low speed grounding is not a tragedy.

Explorer chart books are going to be your very best friend. I have both Garmin (chip and ipad app) and the Navonics Platnum chip. Garmin is closer to the right depths, the Navonics chip is off in left feild much of the time....

Have fun!
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Old 24-04-2013, 22:14   #13
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

you should be able to cross lake worth - memory rock - great sale - spanish cay in 10+ feet of water. when coming on to the bank at memory rock (actually, two miles south of memory rock) there is a charted shoal spot - 8 feet i think, maybe less - that you might have to take at more than low tide.

that will get you into the heart of the abacos. we expect to be there during regatta time in july. what's your boat name?
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Old 19-05-2013, 14:45   #14
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

We're going over for the Regatta with a draft of 5'8"...hopefully that will be ok....40ft. Catalina-
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Old 19-05-2013, 15:15   #15
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Re: Cruising in Abaco with a deep draft

My own personal opinion is that with 5'8" it is doable, but 7'9" will be very, very tough in the Abacos. I knew some folks who drew around 7 feet and they did a lot of Bahamas cruising, but they had a much tougher time of it than those with shallower draft.
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