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Old 02-08-2015, 09:35   #1
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Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

All,
I'm still looking for a replacement for my Catalina 22, swing keel (now that I'm definitely settled in NW FL), for what I expect to be "mostly" coastal cruising (possibly to the FL Keys or Bahamas at most) over the next 6-8 years or so. Although I'd love to cut the dock lines and head off on extended blue water adventures, that's just not in the near future. I'm looking at a 1985 Catalina 30 Tall rig, that seems in great condition (pending survey; especially looking for that "Catalina smile"), and "appears" to have been cared for very well. With a draft of 5ft 3, it's not getting into some of the area's I'm used to, and I'd prefer a skeg mounted rudder (vs spade), but my main concern is use in the gulf. with my little 22 I really had to be very selective of conditions if I ventured out, but I assume the Cat 30 should be able to handle most of what the Gulf of Mex. could present on those pesky FL afternoons and get me safely to Biloxi, Tampa or Key West... possibly Bahamas. Interested in thoughts from Catalina 30 owners (or others) on if I'm overconfident in this boat.
thanks
Mike
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Old 02-08-2015, 09:58   #2
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

I see no issue with a C30 for what you intend. Anyone can get caught in bad conditions in the Gulf Stream, I would not want to be in that situation in a C30 or many others, but realistically, you just need to work the weather windows.
Personally I would probably look for less draft for Fl and Bahamas.
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Old 02-08-2015, 21:26   #3
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

I agree with Cheechako in regard to the draft. While I have not sailed on the Gulf side of FL and cannot speak of the depth in that area. Over the past few years sailing southern GA, east coast of FL and a winter in the sea of Abaco, we wished that we had less than our 4'10" draft on a few occasions.
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Old 02-08-2015, 21:34   #4
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

You're post is a little confusing. A Catalina 30 should be a nice upgrade in size from your C22. You will lose much of your inshore capability.

However, I personally consider a 30 to be a perfect coastal cruising size. Catalina makes a good boat.

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Old 03-08-2015, 09:13   #5
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

By all means, only get the shoal draft model.
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:30   #6
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

We are 7', and are in the Bahamas. We have yet to run aground other than to intentionally put her on a steep beach in mid-fall of the tide, to scrub (floats back off in a few hours, by which time we usually are finished).

Get the boat you want. Shallow draft boats go aground as often if not more than deep draft ones. If what really floats your boat is going up a creek until there's only a couple of feet, you're out of luck, anyway, in a mono. Get a dinghy and do your exploration that way ☺
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:46   #7
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

Well....... even if you don't run aground, the draft limits where you can go, especially if you are going to have a pocket cruiser type of boat. Yes I have done the Bahamas in 6-5 draft, but also done it in less than 4 ft. I'll take the latter.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:03   #8
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

The sad fact is that channels & the ICW are, for the most part, poorly maintained, if they are maintained at all, in Florida. Shoaling is common & shallow water outside of channels is the norm.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:25   #9
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

I have had both wing and fin keel 30's. Either boat will handle more weather than a normal person can. Keep looking for a wing keel, you will get into lots better spots with less draft. I currently sail a Catalina 42 on the west coast, Keys and Bahamas. With our 4'-10" draft it's not too bad finding enough water but any more would be a pain down here.
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Old 03-08-2015, 10:53   #10
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

How about some more info? What's your budget like? 30' is a great size for 1 or 2 people to cruise Fl & the Bahamas. Or even Cuba! Are you stuck on Catalina?
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:09   #11
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

For 1 or 2 the 30 is great. My absolute favorite was my 34. The 42 is comfy and a great sail, but everthing is bigger and heavier. My wife likes the comfort. I am a bit stuck on Catalina. The factory folks are a great help to owners of any vintage boat and they are right there in Largo. Good solid boat at a reasonable price, great value. If you want to chat, call me at (716) 523-1969.
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:14   #12
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

We have a 1993 Hunter 30T (for sale coincidentally that we have sailed all over the keys and Bahamas. She has a shoal draft of 4.5 and we could squeak into many shallow anchorages. I think the Catalina 30T is very similar and should be fine. I wouldn't worry too much about that smile if it's been well tended to during haul outs.
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Old 03-08-2015, 11:50   #13
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

If your budget will swing it I'd take a look at an Island Packet 31 centerboard version. Seward's another option but pretty pricey. If you like traditional shoal draft boats the Lazy Jack Schooner is a neat boat.


1977 Ted Brewer Lazy Jack Schooner Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:19   #14
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

At 6 ft 6 inches I plowed my way into March harbour's, Conch Inn Marina.
No way to enter Little Harbour, save Spring tide.

With an earlier boat at 5 ft was acceptable and only had to wait for tide a few times.
I was most pleased with 4 ft 3 inches for many years.

I did sail on a friend's 63 footer as navigator to get him out of Abaco.
It can be done. But there is no need to have a non race 30 footer with more than 4 ft 6 in.

The Bahamas are now so crowded so that a good anchoring spot can best be had in + or - 3 feet. Plus, you can go where you can be alone.
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:39   #15
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Re: Coastal cruiser / Bahamas?

I wonder where it is that the Bahamas is so crowded.

Wells Bay (Grand Cay) has 5 boats in it; we saw none on the usual side of Great Sale, and one other on top of Little Sale a couple of days ago.

When we were here earlier this year, off Fowl Cay we were alone. Off Elbow Cay, we had two other boats. Off Great Guana's southern harbor(our?) on the north end (CRS including that particular cove name), we were alone. Off Green Turtle, there were a total of 5 boats, not all the time...
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