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Old 24-08-2015, 19:27   #1
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Post Question for Caribbean cruisers

We're evaluating our ground tackle for our move down to the Caribbean. We'd like to hear about the depth of water you typically encounter for anchoring so we can determine how much chain we will need.

Our plans are to take the ICW to northern FL and stay there about a month and then travel south. We expect to hit the Bahamas, PR, the Virgins, probably a lot of the Windward/Leewards and the ABCs over the next few years - basically just cruise where we feel like going.

Our experience in the islands is limited to chartering. So, if you have experience cruising/living aboard in any/some/all of the areas I like to hear about anchoring depths you've encountered. Our boat draws 6' so no need to talk about very shallow water.

Thanks,

Larry
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Old 24-08-2015, 19:35   #2
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

10 to 15 ft in most anchorages, Bahamas even less, winwards and leewards 10 to 15 ft, 20 or 30 in some open anchorages, places like Dominica , St Lucia have few spots where 60 ft is the norm, the rest are shallow, i mean with 150 ft of chain you are fine in my opinión, i have 300 ft of chain ready just in case but use it just in few occasions.. tropical storms and few tough blows in squalls.
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Old 24-08-2015, 20:46   #3
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

We have spent the last two years cruising up and down the Caribbean and all of it on the hook. We have 150 ft of chain backed up by another 200 ft of rode. I would say the average depth that we anchor in, is probably 20 ft. We anchored in 55 ft of water in Normans Bight in the BVI, our deepest and many other anchorages that were in the 30 ft range.

We are on a Cat that draws only 3 ft 8 in and always look for that spot up in the front of the bay, but down here they are few and far between. In many anchorages you now have mooring balls which forces us into deeper water. Many Islands have shelves with no shallow water and then drop off.

I would recommend at least 200 ft at a minimum and 250 would be ideal.

Hope this helps!

Marty
S/V True Colors
Currently anchored in 28 ft, Prickly Bay, Grenada


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Old 25-08-2015, 06:20   #4
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

Almost always 30' or less in the Leewards and Windwards, usually 15'-25'. I had 150' of chain backed by 175' of nylon rode. The nylon never saw the light of day.
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Old 25-08-2015, 06:47   #5
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

Yup, as others have said about 20 feet with the exception of St. Lucia and Dominica. In Dominica we anchored in a nice underwater 'valley' that was 110 feet deep (we carry 600 feet of rode), but that's not the norm. 200 feet of rode should be plenty for most places. They are getting a little deeper though in some places as more and more mooring buoys are popping up and forcing those of us who anchor further out.
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Old 25-08-2015, 07:02   #6
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

In 12 years here I think the crowd is getting bigger and more often you need to anchor further out and deeper. Best to be prepared. That said 250 feet should be fine.
Bob
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:08   #7
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
10 to 15 ft in most anchorages, Bahamas even less, winwards and leewards 10 to 15 ft, 20 or 30 in some open anchorages, places like Dominica , St Lucia have few spots where 60 ft is the norm, the rest are shallow, i mean with 150 ft of chain you are fine in my opinión, i have 300 ft of chain ready just in case but use it just in few occasions.. tropical storms and few tough blows in squalls.
We carry three anchors and over the years have need all three only a couple of times Yet, when necessary they're great to have available. Our primary anchor is over sized with 250' of all chain. Our secondary also has similar rode except only 80' of chain and the remained the new multi braid. The spare which has only been used for stern anchoring under heavy weather situations is a heavy old Danford with 175' of rode.

In our 2.5 decades of Caribbean cruising the anchorages have become way too crowded. We find ourselves moving further and further into the deeper water......we will often anchor in 50-60' of water especially if we're staying a few days. You need to thing 4 OR 5 to one......if you're on a forty to fifty footer that ratio will have you drop several hundred pounds of ground tackle.
The use of a second anchor in a crowded deep water anchorage helps greatly in reducing your swing room...... ENJOY.
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:19   #8
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

In 5 seasons, up and down the chain, we have rarely anchored in more that 30'. There have been a couple of exceptions, e.g. Les Saintes off Guadeloupe, where we have anchored in 50', though that particular spot is now full of moorings. In some spots, e.g. Roseau on Dominica, anchoring is pretty much impossible and it is wise to pick up a mooring. This isn't risk free, we have friends who found their 500lb mooring anchor hanging off their bow in 500 ft of water, but we have always been OK. Whatever the challenges, Dominica is a must-stop, in our view the most beautiful and friendly of the Caribbean islands.

David
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:47   #9
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

+1 on the 250 feet of chain recommendations.
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Old 25-08-2015, 10:41   #10
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

You will find depths you like. Deeper boats can anchor further off while the tiny ones tend to anchor somewhat closer to the shore. No wonder as the small craft will often have less powerful tenders.

In a couple of places there are drop offs and you cannot anchor to far offshore.

With 100' of chain and 150' of rope we never found it too deep to anchor and most of the time we anchor chain only, preferably in 6 to 12 m of water (but less, and more, at times, too).

We are in a small boat.

b.
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Old 25-08-2015, 13:54   #11
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

a note on Dominica - one of our favorite islands! Go to Portsmouth in the north. Prince Rupert Bay has excellent holding and you can anchor in 15 ft. with no problem. Roseau was not a high point for us. Would not go there again.
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Old 25-08-2015, 14:36   #12
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

After 6 yrs cruising the Caribbean & experiencing 6 hurricanes I upgraded my ground tackle a few times out of necessity.
Started off with 22# CQR Lunch hook, 45# CQR main anchor & a Fortress 37 all on 30-40ft chain & 150 ft cord rode.
I lost the Lunch Hook and almost lost the boat. The Fortress continually dragged.
Ended with all chain, 200ft for each of two anchors or 400ft for one anchor when needed at times. 45# CQR, 65# Plow and never used Fortress again except at the stern to dig into the beach with cord rode.
Anchored in everything from 6ft to 80ft depths.
This gives outline of what to expect.
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Old 25-08-2015, 20:58   #13
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Re: Question for Caribbean cruisers

Thank you all for the replies. I'm getting a clearer picture of what I'll need. Now I just have to find a place to store it all!
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