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Old 16-05-2016, 21:58   #46
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

Hi Paul, yes we are new to this, we have had boats but not sailboats.
We have been looking into this for a few years and have decided we need to do this. Our original plan was to sell our home in the prairies and move out to the east coast and rent a house whilst we did the sailing courses and gained some experience before heading down the icw. Our plans have now changed and so we are not wasting our money renting and still having to put up with the freezing winters we have decided to move to the west coast of Canada and buy our boat and liveaboard. The work I do is more plentiful down there and we can gain alot more experience on the water over the next couple of years. Yes I've looked at the route down to the caribbean from there, I know it's not ideal but it's doable, I will only head out when we are fully confident and if I think it's best to get hired help for the first leg of the journey down to San Francisco I will do so. From there we will head down to Mexico and spend some time down there before heading through the Panama canal and up the coast until we head over to Jamaica and over to the islands. It's a basic plan but something we can work on as the time gets closer. The boat will be payed for and we will have approx $100 000 cruise kitty, we plan on a 3-4 year cruise. There will be myself my wife and my daughter who is 8 at the moment. Everyone has to start somewhere and this is why I'm asking questions and getting information from the people who have done this. Thanks for you comment.

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Old 17-05-2016, 10:26   #47
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

We are in Bahamas now. Tucked up shallow in a cove. Catamaran, drawing 3.2 ft. Of course you have to pay attention to tides here that can be around three feet. Morning entertainment has been watching two deeper draft monohull anchored further out roll back and forth because they can't get in shallow enough to escape the swell. One just put out a third anchor to try to orient to the swell instead of the wind. Working now, but wind is forecast to pipe up overnight with thunderstorms and I suspect then he will be scrambling to release a stern anchor in the rain.

Otherwise there is lots of deep water to get around on the Bahama banks. Just have good dinghy to make up some if the anchor distance issues, be sure you will likely be anchoring further out. And some places you can't go, and some you will need to pay special attention to (like shallow water, crossing the yellow banks, etc.)

Big Majors pigs were entertaining for about an hour, watching them chase food from tourists. There's a lot of things to see here better than that.
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Old 20-05-2016, 17:52   #48
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

An eastbound vessel in the Caribbean certainly has her work cut out for her. You might instead consider following the Hiscock Highway westabout. By the time you get to the Caribbean, you'll know something about cruising under sail. Leave the PNW in July and pray you don't get hammered off the West Coast before you reach San Diego, a pleasant place bathed by sunshine and gentle breezes. Skip San Francisco. It is a cold, windy, foggy area on a forbidding coast with a lot of commercial shipping going through a small opening. From San Diego once you enter the trade winds, it is all downwind nearly (but not completely) to New Zealand. (Do not go through the Tuamotu. Give them a wide berth.) Anyone can do it. By the time you reach challenging areas, you should have learned enough to pass through them safely.

Of course, most people ignore most advice, even that which they have requested, and do exactly as they originally wished. All I can say is if you elect to set out from Panama eastbound, upwind and against the current, good luck keeping your wife aboard after your first landfall.

Write and let us know how it all turns out.

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Old 20-05-2016, 18:39   #49
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

A seven-foot draft could be limiting in "my" San Francisco estuarian waters, but would think not much in British Columbian and southwest-Alaskan waters.
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Old 20-05-2016, 19:24   #50
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

Our home is in Vancouver although we haven't lived in it for several years. As others have said deep draft is not a huge problem in most of the Caribbean and nothing can replace draft going upwind..having said that we are currently in Belize. We have traveled from time to time with another boat that draws slightly over 7 feet and there are places we can get into with our 5 ft draft Scheel keel that they can't so deep draft is not all roses. We do notice our shallow draft upwind but fortunately we don't sail to windward that often so performance wise it's had limited effect on our cruising. We didn't try to buy a shallow draft boat, it just turned out that way and we have been playing out here for many years so I'd give you the same advise as others have. Don't shop keel depth unless your buying a racing boat, shop for a ton of other stuff that is far and away much more important and let the keel depth be what it is. Enjoy the dream stage, it's fun. Your first leg to San Francisco can at times be an eye opener. The Caribbean is quite nice, we have enjoyed the western more than the eastern but that's like preferring Frozen yogurt to ice cream.
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Old 21-05-2016, 06:36   #51
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

Thanks for the advise and I certainly will take any given, as we have not done this and others have I will take every bit I can get, Paul I will look at the route you suggested, it's early days yet and we are still waiting for an offer on the house.i think from where we will be setting off from everything is going to be a challenge but if there is an easier route I'm all ears...thanks again.

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Old 21-05-2016, 12:37   #52
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

I would suggest reading Cruising Under Sail by Eric Hiscock. It would be worth your while to also read everything else he ever wrote.

Good luck,
Paul
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Old 21-05-2016, 13:03   #53
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

South of Turks and Caicos draft not much of an issue. But an issue in the Bahamas etc!
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Old 21-05-2016, 13:33   #54
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscook View Post
I'm stuck on what boat to buy as in the draught, I have seen a couple of boats I'm interested in but they have 7ft 2 inch draughts, my first priority is the safety of my wife and daughter so I'm thinking a larger draught to give me more stability at sea. I'm also thinking this could be a problem for the San Blas islands and also many areas in the Bahamas etc.
Chris

My opinion is that you are not giving up stability by going to a swallow draft keel, just pointing ability (How close you can sail to the wind).

I have a Catalina 470 with a WING KEEL with a draft of 6 feet (Factory calls it 5'9") . As a point of reference, my boat looses about 4-5 degrees of pointing ability compared to her sister boats with full (7'10") keels.

The reality is you don't sail to wind when you are cruising, except as a last resort. Or at least Gentlemen don;t sail to wind ;-)

We did the same trip you are contemplating (San Francisco to Florida) and I would not do the trip with much more of a draft over 6 feet.

You can adjust and watch the depth gauge, but why worry about draft when you can find a wing or full keel with a shallower draft? I was also very jealous of the Catamarans that went into really skinny water.

You mentioned the San Blas Islands... We were regularly anchoring and motoring in water as shallow as 8 feet while we were there.

Basically, once your in the Caribbean the water is very different than the West Coast of North America.

We now live in SW Florida and although we get by, a six foot draft here makes you miss a lot!

Good Luck!
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Old 21-05-2016, 15:17   #55
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

We often see the "you never have to sail hard on the wind when you're cruising" argument.

It has not worked out that way for us, perhaps because we have always had boats with good windward capacity.

Jim might pick different incidents to illustrate this, but the ones that come to mind for me are three:

1. Cyclone (fortunately compact and fast moving) did not go where predicted, but the eye came over us. We had to tack out of the anchorage that had become a lee shore, motorsailing, using the storm jib for extra power.

2. Another cyclone incident, it popped up on a friend's Satellite communications,in the evening, and we left the next morning to go to the better cyclone anchorage, hard, hard on the wind, for 70 miles; it was scary, hoping we'd escape the storm. This one is a double edged sword, because a closer "cyclone anchorage" was available, but was going to be full of boats, and has a trickier entrance, most of the shallower draft boats went there; we sailed to Port Sandwich instead against square seas in more breeze than we would normally choose.

3. Oil hose chafed through, can't use engine. Had to short tack out of the anchorage under sail. Windward ability really helped there! In this one, since Jim is a radio ham, we could probably have asked someone to bring us some oil and some hose -- it would have meant two days' sailing for whoever might have volunteered to help; or we would have had to pay, if we could have arranged it (foreign language difficulties). In this last example you see both our independence and frugality at work, too. Don't know where chris and his wife would come out on those parameters.

In the first two examples, there were no marinas for safe havens.

Skippers have to plan around their boat's capabilities, and usually sailors are prudent enough to allow enough time to get where they're going, even when it means one boat will be making more tacks and their VMG will be less than another.

My own view: windward ability is important in a cruising boat.

Therefore, I think chriscook's choice should be a good all around boat, one that pleases him and his wife, and if necessary, visit the shallow parts of the Caribbean with a charter boat.

Ann
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Old 22-05-2016, 07:03   #56
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

At this momentum Ann chris (myself) and my wife would have panicked and probably sunk as we have zero experience but hopefully within a couple of years as we gain experience we can deal with situations the same as yourself. Thanks for your input ann.

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Old 22-05-2016, 17:10   #57
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7 ft draught or smaller ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ALAIN97133 View Post
Did you say "Vancouver" ? I've lived a year up there before the Hong Kong invasion that made real estate people drink French Champagne instead of water & although I've been in the West Indies since 1980, I'd love to spend a year or two sailing between Seattle & Attu island -the westernmost Alaskan island- stuffing meself with salmons... To make my dream comes true, I would get a sailboat with an enclosed steering wheelhouse, very good insulation & heating/air conditioning such as Fleur Australe:
Expédition - Fleur Australe - Expédition maritime de Géraldine Danon et Philippe Poupon
Fleur Australe was designed for french offshore sailor/racer Philippe Poupon & guess what ... It has an enclosed steering position & it's a centerboard sailboat. Poupon has sailed her with wife & children across the North West passage, down to Antartica etc...

Cheers!

Lovely video.

On matter of draft--it's all proportional. We're shallow at 6'4" draft though by design should be 6'. We are a 30ton boat 46' waterline 14' beam 54' on deck and 69' overall length.

Shallow means more slipping or leeway as you're going to windward. Other than that it's good to be as shallow as possible IMO.


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Old 23-05-2016, 03:18   #58
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

Hi Chris,
I believe 7 foot a bit too much draft.I have no idea what it is like in the Bahamas,but cruising in Australia I have found that it is far less stressful having less draft.Numerous bars, rivers and bays that only afford good protection when in close have lead me to this view. Also, please consider if you are unfortunate enough to run aground where there is any swell running, there is much less force in a wave that can be formed in say 5' of water as opposed to a wave that can form in 7' or more .Admittedly,great windward performance requires a deep fin keel, but if you are mainly concerned with a boat that has great directional stability and comfort, a full length keel is the way to go.We only leave port when a following,beam wind, or no wind is predicted because I have wife and child on board and see no reason to slog to windward unless I really have to.Self steering systems have an easier life too with a full length keel and well balanced/set sails.
Hope this helps with you deliberations.
Cheers,Robseadog.
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Old 23-05-2016, 06:29   #59
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

Cheers rob, so what I'm getting from the replys is that the main benefit of a deep fin keel is windward ability , the full keel boats are a more comfortable boat at sea, the full keel from what I can see are older boats. Thx

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Old 23-05-2016, 18:09   #60
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Re: 7 ft draught or smaller ?

I agree with Ann that windward ability is very important in any boat. Eric Hiscock maintained that the most important characteristic of a cruising boat was, "the ability to work her way to windward in virtually any combination of wind and wave so as to get herself out of a difficult situation." (I'm quoting from memory,)

Weatherly ability is not necessarily dependent on deep draft however. Finnesterre, the only three-time winner of the Bermuda race, was a beamy (for the time) centerboarder with a designed draft of four feet (actually 3'11", IIRC). One of her greatest strengths was sailing upwind in heavy air. She would put her shloulder into it and power past boats 10' longer. She and her near-sisters, the Nevins 40, dominated racing until the Cal 40 came along. They were wood boats, but built to the highest possible standards. Many still exist. If you want a glass boat the Block Island 40 and the Bermuda 40 are also near sisters and all draw about 4' with the board up. (I once asked my father what was the best boat he ever sailed. His response was instantaneous, "The Block Island 40! Big, strong, fast, powerful..." His voice trailed off in memory.)

Paul
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