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Old 03-01-2009, 20:51   #1
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Caribbean Draft

I'm plotting a future boat buy and need some intel and opions from any Caribbean cruisers about boat draft. What are the recommendations for monohull draft considering the most common ports and/or marinas?
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Old 03-01-2009, 21:00   #2
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Most of the Caribbean draft is not an issue. If you plan on cruising the Bahamas (not technically in the Caribbean but is frequently included as a Caribbean crusing destination) then draft is more of a concern. I have cruised the Bahamas on boats with draft from 3'6" to over 6' and managed to enjoy every trip and found plenty of places to anchor. Just have to be a little more selective about where you go.

If you do plan extensive Bahamas cruising your life is a lot easier if you keep the draft under 6', 5' even better.

By the way, I managed to (gracefully) bump the bottom on every trip, no matter what the draft of the boat.
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Old 03-01-2009, 21:51   #3
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check out the 38' Krogen sailboat - one currently for sale in Maine and another in St Petersburg Florida. It has a tandem centerboard. Board up is 3'-2" draft. The interior is very spacious for an older boat (1980's). Check out yachtworld listings. They claim to be blue water cruisers.
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:23   #4
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From my 3 years cruising in the winwards and leewards draft is not much of a problem. There are a few thin anchorages and passes through reefs but most of the anchorages are fine and some a bit deep. Most of the holding fine. I did it with 6'-3" and don't feel I missed much, never went a ground or hit bottom.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:40   #5
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Caribbean Draft

I just realized that the title of this thread sounds like something you might order at a Tiki Bar.

Thanks for the input on draft restrictions! We're looking to build a steel boat and the designs have drafts in the neighborhood of 6'. So far your replies give our plans some promise.
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Old 06-01-2009, 15:44   #6
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Been down here in the Windwards since '01 with a 6 1/2 foot drqft (7' with the water tanks and fridge full) with no problems at all. BTW - forget about marinas - at least in my neck of the woods: there aren't any!
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Old 06-01-2009, 15:53   #7
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I agree....no draft issues in the Caribbean but if you plan on cruising the Bahamas care and attention should be given on a boat with a draft over 5'10" or so.

My boat drew 7'. I bumped my way over the Banks more than once. Not a big problem at high tide. There are just a few sand mounds that get flattened out a little. It's mostly all sand on the banks with a few coral heads and junk that are clearly visible.

Over time, you will be able to read the depth of the water by the colors that you see. The water is very clear.

BTW......add 4-6" to the publicized draft to any cruising boat. Plan on repainting your boot stripe accordingly too.....
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Old 06-01-2009, 16:22   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanani View Post
...BTW......add 4-6" to the publicized draft to any cruising boat. Plan on repainting your boot stripe accordingly too.....
Kanani, you got that right!

My boat had a few inches between the bottom paint and the boot stripe. On my first haulout after going cruising, I ran the bottom paint up to the boot stripe, about 3-1//2 inches.

It's a good idea to learn how many inches your boat will sink for every 1,000 lbs of cruising "stuff" you add. Mine is 1" per 1,500 lb.
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Old 06-01-2009, 17:30   #9
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I'll take the bottled beer from Jamaica....oh sorry. Ditto above on draft for most of the caribe. But the Bahamas are the best of the trip IMHO, so I would try for 5 ft personally. If it's a performance boat then you will want more. The thing is, I always wanted to tuck into that 6 ft deep anchorage where the little guys did......
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Old 06-01-2009, 19:23   #10
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My 2 Cents

Not to offend.....

We've been through the Caribean once, but like the Bahamas better and in the Bahamas, you cannot beat the less than 3 foot draft of a cat or center border mono.

All kidding aside, make a serious analysis of your intended destinations and choose accordingly. If you aren't crossing oceans, you may not need 6+ feet of keel.

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Old 06-01-2009, 19:44   #11
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Bahama restrictions

Cool feedback. Sounds like Bahamas get a lot of praise for a hang out. Are there any real fun spots that a 6' draft would be anchored too far from to dinghy in?

How do "key" locations in the FL keys fair for average depth?
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Old 13-01-2009, 12:54   #12
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6' in the Bahamas is fine if you are careful. You will not miss anything at 6', but you will have to pick your way around and be prepared occasionally to bump, as sand shifts. We draw 5'7" and occasionally bump at low tide if I get it wrong, but we like to get close to shore.
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