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Old 12-11-2004, 21:31   #1
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pirate Heading south on our Aloha 34

Hi all. We hope to head south to the Carribean in 5 years on our Aloha 34 and were woundering if anyone has any imput on our boats suitability for the shallow waters (5ft 6in draft). Also any opinions on the Aloha's ability to go off shore if we decide to continue on from the Carribean and head to the South Pacific.
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Old 13-11-2004, 07:03   #2
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5 and 1/2 feet draft is no problem in the Bahamas if ya pay attention to the tides and such.

I crusied the islands with the same draft plenty of times and never been stuck.
Kissed the bottom numerous times and learned to enter and exit Bimini and other places at high tide only.

No need to anchor close to the beaches, there is more bugs there.
Stay 1/8 mile out in 10 feet of water and fresh air, no bugs.
(sometimes they still fly out and greet ya)



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Old 16-11-2004, 03:10   #3
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Draft won't be your issue, but...

...you may be trying to do a lot with your boat if Pacific Bound.

When viewed from the perspective of thoughtfully preparing your boat for the Tropics AND getting to know her in a variety of conditions, five years is a shorter time than you might imagine...especially with short sailing seasons. If you haven't already done so, I'd encourage you to pick up Bruce VanSant's _Passages South_ and use a portion of your off-season time to read and reflect on his writing. While described as a 'guide' for making the passage down the Thorny Path to Venezuela from the U.S., it actually is much broader in scope. He will help you appreciate the conditions you'll face underway, the navigation involved, what represent 'comfort' aboard a boat making that trip, and lots more - and all these topics will be very helpful to you in preparing your boat. It's a great trip - we've done it a couple of times - but made better when approached knowledgably and with a well-prepared boat.

Re: draft, this will only be an issue for you in the Bahamas and then Turks & Caicos...and even so, will hardly be an issue there.

I'd suggest that any possibility of you taking your boat into the Pacific is so far out in time - and with the prospect of learning a lot before then, given your Caribbean plans - that it's premature to hope to determine your boat's suitability for such a run. Better that you learn what YOU think as you cruise the Caribbean. Just keep in mind that while the Caribbean is essentially in our geographic backyard, the Pacific is a much bigger commitment for a much longer period of time, and without the easy return options.

Good luck; I hope you profit from Bruce's many years of learning!

Jack
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Old 16-11-2004, 14:47   #4
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pirate Guide

I am an avid reader and picked up Bruce's book a couple of years ago when i first thought of heading south. I have read it twice already and will follow his advice, dont want the wife to abondon ship part way. Any other advice as to reading material to read before we leave, crusing guides etc.
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Old 16-11-2004, 19:08   #5
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Quote:
Any other advice as to reading material to read before we leave, crusing guides etc.
Dashew's Big Bible.

lots of useful info
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Old 17-11-2004, 09:04   #6
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Add'l references for your Caribbean trip...

There are of course an almost unlimited range of guides, books, etc. that you could be pouring over...altho' in truth, I think you'd be better off spending 5 hours on the boat for every one hour of reading what someone else thinks you should have or do.

Dashew's 'bible' is fine if you want to research a system or a method or a rigging option, but I don't think that's where the emphasis needs to be placed when prepping to move the boat down a river, down the U.S. east coast, and then island hop into the Caribbean. 'Systems' aren't going to get you there, tho' they will make you a bit more comfy at times and give you more work to do (and fewer dollars to do it with) as you install, integrate and then maintain them.

Here are two thoughts you might consider:
1. Find an old copy of Hart & Stone's Caribbean Guide (from the 70's). Read the sections on routing advice, weather systems and seasonal variations. None of that is outdated and they did an excellent job of addressing those issues. Spend some time thinking about which areas you'll want to sail, and then develop your own route and timetable. Understand that this will be an interative process: doing this will generate questions, which in turn will result in getting more info, and will generate discussion with the crew, which will have you revisiting both route and timetable. This is almost like cruising! Good fun, and productive.

2. Do a little weather research. Think about how you're going to get real-time wx info when you leave NOAA and then the cozy but limited Bahamas wx nets. Visit the NOAA web site and sample their products. Read a bit about SSB radios, even if you have one and especially if you don't (e.g. get Marti Brown's HF Radio for Idiyachts). Make some tentative decisions about getting wx info (based in part on Bruce's book) and then try them out on these BB's, soliciting feedback. Making your own informed decisions about wx conditions - and not being in a hurry - make all the difference in having a great time.

Jack
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