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Old 20-08-2014, 15:01   #1
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Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Hey everyone. My first post. It's good to be aboard.

I'm seriously considering several mid to late 80s Catalina 36s for living aboard in the Tampa area. I like everything about this boat, but I'm a little concerned about the 5'10" draft. Is that going to be a problem for Florida/Bahamas cruising? I mean, I once went aground in a Gemini 105 in Pine Island Sound with the boards up! If I buy one of these am I going to be sorry that I've got all that junk hanging off the bottom?

Thanks! Oh, and I'm open to any other boat suggestions. Looking to make a purchase in the next 60 days or so.
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Old 20-08-2014, 15:16   #2
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Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

I was down there last winter in our Hunter 356 with 5 feet of draft and was comfortable , but still bumped a few time. I have chartered several times same area in Island Packet 380 and 40 without problem. Also 32 ft Tahiti Ketch at 4'6 ok .

Most everyone in West FL I know thinks 4'6 best, 5 Ft generally about max. I haven't sailed the Bahamas so no experience there.


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Old 20-08-2014, 15:38   #3
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

guess it comes down to whether you want to be able to sail well in other places doesn't it?
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Old 20-08-2014, 15:57   #4
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Uhm, they made shoal draft keels for the C36s, you may want to try to find one.
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Old 20-08-2014, 16:24   #5
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

You'll be fine. We draw 5', but rarely are we concerned with depth. Another 9" wouldn't make any difference. We've cruised from Texas to Brunswick, Georgia. Also two trips to the Bahamas (Exumas, Eleuthera, and Abaco).

I have a friend with a Tartan 41 (6 1/2' draft). He's been most places that we have, plus many others.

If you ran aground in a Gemini, then you would have ran aground on just about anything else....just need to pay more attention. 6' draft in Florida and the Bahamas is no problem.

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Old 20-08-2014, 16:52   #6
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Somebody here said the six ft draft boats run aground 50 yds from the beach, the five ft ones 5 yds closer or something like that
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Old 20-08-2014, 16:59   #7
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

I cruised the Keys, yacht channel, and up to Tampa bay quite a bit. 4'6" draft was a blessing. There are plenty of places on charts that say 7ft and are definitely not (Yacht channel, for example, Florida bay or Biscayne Bay. The ICW on the north side of the Keys). The big storms and 'canes that rolled in from 2005 and after created a lot of shoaling.

Good friends cruise a C36 and are very happy with it. I would suggest finding one with a shoal keel. I doubt you will see much sailing difference, but 5' or less will make a difference in the number of times and places you run aground.

Hope this helps
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Old 20-08-2014, 17:18   #8
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JTSmith View Post
Hey everyone. My first post. It's good to be aboard.

I'm seriously considering several mid to late 80s Catalina 36s for living aboard in the Tampa area. I like everything about this boat, but I'm a little concerned about the 5'10" draft. Is that going to be a problem for Florida/Bahamas cruising? I mean, I once went aground in a Gemini 105 in Pine Island Sound with the boards up! If I buy one of these am I going to be sorry that I've got all that junk hanging off the bottom?

Thanks! Oh, and I'm open to any other boat suggestions. Looking to make a purchase in the next 60 days or so.
I sail in the Tampa area, and yes, a 5'10" draft will restrict you a lot. I have a 4'9" draft, and bump the bottom more than I want to admit. If you want to get from Tampa to Stuart via the ICW your going to be sending a lot of your time looking at your depth finder, as the advertised 6' minimum are suggestions only it seems.

The other issue through the ICW you may have is your mast height.

Going down through the Keys will mean again being vigilant on your charts. There is a lot of shallow water down there, as there is in the Bahamas.

I would look for a shoal draft boat myself.
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Old 20-08-2014, 17:24   #9
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Since you haven't already bought the boat I'd say keep looking. The c36 is available with shoaler drafts...
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Old 20-08-2014, 17:42   #10
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Or, consider the incomparable CSY 37. Two stateroom layout, cutter rig, generous tankage and very comfy .40 ballast: displacement ratio. 4'8" shoal draft would be perfect. Nice flat deck for laying out or working in a blow.

I would take one.
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Old 20-08-2014, 17:57   #11
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

Thanks, all. I'll keep looking for something with less keel. BTW, the run aground in Pine Island Sound in the Gemini might have had something to do with too many Bloody Marys forcing me out of the channel. Still, for all the water in that sound, it's spread pretty thin.



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Old 20-08-2014, 18:46   #12
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by JTSmith View Post
Thanks, all. I'll keep looking for something with less keel. BTW, the run aground in Pine Island Sound in the Gemini might have had something to do with too many Bloody Marys forcing me out of the channel. Still, for all the water in that sound, it's spread pretty thin.



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Pine Island area can lull you in to a false sense of security. I know several experienced "area wise" that have lost props and run aground. I've lost a prop in the marked channel to Pineland Marina Warning to those who navigate these waters in the future, be cautious, very cautious. I can not explain why things change rapidly, but (on high incoming tides) I've taken the same routes, but occasionally I'll "bump" on the way to my hotspots for snook or reds. I suppose somehow the regular Caloosahatchee river dumps over past few years, may be having an effect. If 4' draft or more, channels are the only way
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Old 21-08-2014, 06:31   #13
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by JTSmith View Post
I'm seriously considering several mid to late 80s Catalina 36s for living aboard in the Tampa area. I like everything about this boat, but I'm a little concerned about the 5'10" draft.
As well you should be. The Catalina 36 is a very nice boat for this area, but not with the deep draft. Around here (and in the Bahamas) you want the wing keel, for sure.

Of course, it is possible to manage with the deep draft. You will have to keep a close eye on state of tide, as well as depths. There will be numerous marinas that you cannot get into, or out of, except at high tide (for some reason it seems like a whole lot of marinas and passes are dredged to 5' depth, and no more). It's possible, but it will be a pain. Get the wing keel version, though, and you will be much, much less limited.
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Old 21-08-2014, 07:31   #14
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

The Keys and western Bahamas (Bimini/Grand Bahama) are my primary sailing areas. In the Bahamas, I would suggest that 5'10" is not going to be a significant liability. In the Keys, if your draft is much more than 5', you will find yourself waiting for the tide to change at a number of the more useful inlets. Nonetheless, you can still use most of them with 5'10" if you are willing to wait. As far as open water sailing goes, the only place 5'10" would be a modest concern would be in the intracoastal. Of course you can run aground almost anywhere if you try hard enough.

If I were buying a boat for South FL including the Keys, I would not buy one with a draft much more than 5'.

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Old 21-08-2014, 13:47   #15
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Re: Catalina 36 for Florida/Bahamas?

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Originally Posted by John Drake View Post
Or, consider the incomparable CSY 37. Two stateroom layout, cutter rig, generous tankage and very comfy .40 ballast: displacement ratio. 4'8" shoal draft would be perfect. Nice flat deck for laying out or working in a blow.

I would take one.
Thanks for the compliment, john. After ten years of ownership I have come to the conclusion that it is the best cruising boat in the world. Everyone who comes aboard is amazed at the roominess, to say nothing of solid construction and access to all systems. It sails amazingly well for what many might think of as a tub - we did 7+ knots for 3 days on an offshore run this spring from florida to north carolina. Almost never touched the wheel; our cpt autopilot worked flawlessly.

Having said all that, I should tell you that the version you are describing is known as the "A" plan. Its not my favorite. It was designed for the charter trade, thus the two staterooms, and in my opinion too chopped up inside. We have the "B" plan, which is very open and spacious. Most importantly, the admiral loves it, and you know how important that is...
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