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Old 20-02-2016, 13:53   #1
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Draft considerations for world travel

Hi, I am looking at a number of different boat options, generally low budget full keel boats from 27 up to 35 feet. My intention is to be able to circumnavigate on an open ended schedule which would allow me to explore different parts of the world. Most of the boats that I am looking at (an alberg 30 would be a good example) have less than 5' of draft (most closer to 4'). An alberg 35 would be an option with ~5'. One boat that I am seriously considering is a Lello 34 which seems very durable and meets all of my requirements but has over 6' of draft (depending on the online source anywhere from 6'4" to 6'10").

Some of the areas that I am interested in spending time would be:
- Carribean (as well as the Bahamas, where I have heard draft will be an issue)
- East coast of south america (Brazil, Argentina,Uruguay)
- South Pacific/New Guinea/Australia/NZ
- Mediterranean (particularly Italy and Greek isles)

So, all things being equal for the sake of discussion (i.e. skill level and preparation) would an alberg 30 with 4'3" of draft be preferable to a seemingly more seaworthy lello 34 with 6'+ of draft? I plan on being conservative with weather windows and I am not trying to break any records or win races so I will tend to not put myself into harms way when possible however I know things can happen. Also, if I am in a position to round one of the capes, I would consider it.

I know this is a personal call and there are many variables but for those who have done something like this, would the peace of mind of having a more seaworthy boat like the Lello be worth the lack of access due to larger draft?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old 20-02-2016, 15:25   #2
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

Mike, if you think the Lello is the more seaworthy boat, you have answered your own question. I'm sure 5 ft. would be convenient for the Caribbean, but you're looking at a whole, wide world out there.

Ann
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Old 24-02-2016, 21:01   #3
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

Thanks for the response. That was what I was leaning which was may have been apparent in the way I wrote the post.
Mike
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Old 02-03-2016, 00:01   #4
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

No boat is perfect, but some designs try hard to strike a balance between shallow and deep draft. Our boat has a "Scheel" keel that's less than 5 feet. We point as well as any boat of similar size, so it seems to work. That might be good for you. Pacific Seacraft has built many boats with this keel.
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Old 02-03-2016, 00:50   #5
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

Two seaworthy boats one with a shallow draft, I'm picking the shallow draft. There are a great many areas of the world where shallow draft comes in very handy.

Now you need to decide if there is a significant difference in seaworthiness of the boats you are looking at.
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Old 02-03-2016, 01:02   #6
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

Seriously 6th draft doesn't make a whole lot of difference in reality. I have 6th and there's be very few occasions that it's been a problem. Maybe the Bahamas is a problem, I haven't been there . But I wouldn't let that extra foot stop me buying a good boat.

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Old 08-05-2016, 17:52   #7
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

We had a lello34 and sailed over 100,000 miles in her from 1979 to 1990. We did our best cruising in that boat. Very sturdy and well built. We endured a few hurricanes and groundings, and she always pulled through. Would love to know where she is now. She had a yellow hull - "Vemvaan" (a play on the zulu word for butterfly). I believe our draft was more like 6ft. Never really a problem with that draft. I think a little more beam would have given us more room inside, and maybe a more comfortable ride, but you get used to it. We had two children sailing with us so that is why we eventually moved up to a 45ft vessel.
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Old 08-05-2016, 17:54   #8
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

I just noticed that I posted my reply further down in the thread - sorry - do you want me to re-post here?
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Old 08-05-2016, 18:05   #9
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

FWIW:

The folks who cruise in the Bahama area are always touting very shallow draft boats, and for that area it may be important. Most of the world's cruising grounds have deeper waters. We've been cruising for a long time in the Pacific. Both of our boats have had 2.2 m (7'2") draft. It has seldom been an issue, never a serious one, and the improved sailing characteristics are useful, even if you are not a racer.

So, don't let the mere 6 foot draft worry you!

Jim
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Old 08-05-2016, 18:12   #10
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

If draft is concern, one can have a lifting keel boat.

Another fine alternative - a cat.

If I were to go again and visit any shallow places (I have a week spot for many shallow places), I would try to either stay below 6ft fully loaded or else I would go for a much bigger and much deeper boat (say 8 to 10 ft) and tender ashore.

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Old 08-05-2016, 18:31   #11
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

I'm with Jim and Dale on this.... An extra foot or two of draft is not a game changer unless it affects access into your home marina.

The cruising reality is that you often want to anchor far enough away from the shoreline to escape the bugs.

Good ground tackle and a decent tender are to me of higher priority.
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Old 08-05-2016, 19:19   #12
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

We have a Scheel keel and while it is OK my preference would be for a deeper draft, no matter what anyone tells you when going upwind nothing takes the place of a deeper draft.
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Old 08-05-2016, 19:51   #13
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Re: Draft considerations for world travel

In the Bahamas now, been here for a couple months. Draft is not an issue, accurate charts are. You can do pretty well all of the Bahamas with 6-7' draft. There are big charter boats here (75-125') that are doing it with 8-9' draft. For best options for anchorages less than 7' is best. We draw 5'8" and the small cats get closer to shore than us but there aren't that many places we can't go.

Our draft is much less of a problem here in the Bahamas than it was in Florida. The charts are mostly correct here and if you have a rough idea where you're going and keep an eye on the water color and depth finder then the Bahamas are easy. In Florida you have the same if not greater draft constraints but the charts are mostly wrong and the water is murky so you can't see the depth change.

There's very few places here on the Bahamas where I've wished for a foot less draft. Almost universally in Florida I've wished for a foot less draft, and we didn't even get down to South Florida where the water gets real shallow
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