Cruisers Forum

Go Back   Cruisers & Sailing Forums > The Fleet > Monohull Sailboats
Cruiser Wiki

Join CruisersForum Today

Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 20-06-2013, 03:39   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Suitable draft for cruising Qld coast and Great Barrier Reef?

Hi all
I'm new to the forum and hoping for some advice.
Was looking to cruise the GBR with the family and am wondering how concerned I should be with being limited by draft in both navigation and anchorages. Is the 6'-7' draft of most blue water 42' monohulls going to be restrictive? Should I be looking for something more in the realm of 4'-5'? Or is the difference not relevant until you get down to a 3' draft on a centerboard yacht or a multihull?

Thanks in advance.

Boat Buoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2013, 04:06   #2
Boracay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pelican Bay, Great Sandy National Park
Boat: Steel Roberts Offshore 44
Posts: 5,175
Images: 18
Re: Suitable draft for cruising Qld coast and Great Barrier Reef?

We haven't gotten that far north but there's been a lot of very shallow water so far.

With a 2m draft we've touched bottom a few times already (mostly in NSW) and I've leaned to make sure it's a rising tide when venturing into unknown waters.

From what I can work out 6'6" is workable but less is better. If I was choosing for Qld. I'd go for #1 Catamaran, #2 Centrboarder and #3 Bilge keels.

If you can get it under 4' there's a lot more places to anchor and it's going to be easier on the nerves.

Rust never sleeps
Boracay Blog.
Boracay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2013, 04:45   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 2
Re: Suitable draft for cruising Qld coast and Great Barrier Reef?

Thanks Boracay
You're right there is lots of shallow spots until you get north of Fraser.
Boat Buoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2013, 06:09   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia.
Posts: 148
Re: Suitable draft for cruising Qld coast and Great Barrier Reef?

Yes it is shallow going inside past Fraser, it is well marked - you just have to get the tides right... no big deal.

I don't have my own boat yet but have crewed extensively up and down Oz east coast including lots of GBR on lots of different boats. Also heaps in Louisiades PNG, Perth to Melbourne, a lap of Tassie and Hobart to Sydney.

All boats I have sailed on (except cats) have had 1.8 meter draft or very close to it which I believe is a good balance between performance and shallow water access.

I would suggest a bolt on fin keel is not nessasarily as ideal for cruising as a three quarter encapsulated keel or similar if you hit things like coral reefs. Fin keels more likely to sustain damage in a hard grounding or hitting reef. A three quarter keel encapsulated is pretty tough as I have experienced some pretty good hits with such keels with no damage other than a chunk of missing, laughed at by the owner.

Also be aware of rudder depth, if your rudder is a big fin type like I have seen on the new hunter 50ft which is the same depth as the keel this might be a big issue when trying to reverse out of a grounding in mud. If it catches in the mud you could bend it pretty good.

Personally I don't want to be in big ocean conditions (which you can get on the east coast) with any kind of shallow draft centerboard yacht thing.

If you want shallow draft get a cat or a tri. Otherwise get a proper keel about 1.8 meters deep.

Your depth gauge and charts will help you keep away from the shallow stuff and a sharp eye.
giant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-06-2013, 06:53   #5
Senior Cruiser
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 9,085
Send a message via Skype™ to Jim Cate
Re: Suitable draft for cruising Qld coast and Great Barrier Reef?

G'Day BB,

I won't speculate, but will give some personal experience: We have been cruising the East coast of Oz since 1992, with numerous voyages up and down. We've ranged from South West cape in Tassie to Lizard Island in FNQ. We have done this in two different boats, both of which draw 2.2 metres (7'2"). The only places that the draft has been an issue were the Broadwater (between Southport and Morton Bay) and the Great Sandy Straights. In those places we had to time our passages through the skinny bits relative to high water. The skinny bits in the Broadwater (near Jacobs Well) have been dredged and are not currently an issue... for how long is not known!

The rest of the time we have enjoyed adequate depths.

There are lots of irrational fears expressed about one's draft, but we have observed a striking behavior amongst yotties: no matter what one's draft is, one sometimes pushes the limits in an effort to get to some goal, and just about everyone who cruises will run aground at times. The only difference is that the folks with shallower keels run aground closer to shore.

And for what it is worth, both of our boats have had bolt on fin keels, and in our groundings zero damage has occurred other than bottom paint. All this worry about fin keels (of the cruising variety, not 3 metre fin and bulb things) is internet paranoia.


Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
Jim Cate is offline   Reply With Quote

cruising, draft

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:48.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.