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Old 20-05-2013, 12:52   #16
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The hurricane holes in Georgetown... yes, I hardly dared to take my dinghy in... they are not as safe as often stated but a low category hurricane is doable there yes. The problem is that a lot of strong hurricanes get there and I have seen devestation from storms years earlier: it gets very tough to survive with your boat.

I don't understand the remarks about rowing back. Rowing?
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Old 20-05-2013, 12:56   #17
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

Thanks for the advice..
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Old 20-05-2013, 12:56   #18
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

if you're just hopping across from florida you'll probably end up in the abacos or berry islands or maybe bimini. so forget havana. it's upwind, and worse, upcurrent (gulf stream) from the northern bahamas. florida will be downwind and downcurrent and a hell of a lot easier to make than cuba. you could make fort pierce from the abacos in 24 hours if you push it.

for a boat your size, particularly if you have a shallow draft, there are places you can get hauled out or at least hide out while a storm passes. needless to say, don't try to stay aboard during a hurricane.

we're going next month, and plan on staying for a few months - probably right through hurricane season. be sure to keep a weather watch every day.
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Old 20-05-2013, 13:03   #19
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

Thanks...Actually I now have a Catalina 400...I should change my profile. I too am going over (Abacos) in July and staying for several months also...which is my reason for asking about the "what if I can't get back" question. I'm a native Fl so I get the dangers of Hurricanes and the need to get out if all possible.
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Old 20-05-2013, 15:33   #20
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
The hurricane holes in Georgetown... yes, I hardly dared to take my dinghy in... they are not as safe as often stated but a low category hurricane is doable there yes. The problem is that a lot of strong hurricanes get there and I have seen devestation from storms years earlier: it gets very tough to survive with your boat.

I don't understand the remarks about rowing back. Rowing?
Well, the good thing is that hurricanes rarely seem to do serious damage in the Bahamas (because of the topography, surge is really not a big problem, for one thing) and most aren't at full strength when they hit. They just don't seem to be hit very hard by them historically.

The first time I was in the Bahamas and saw fifty year old buildings and houses everywhere, five feet above sea level, made me realize that their idea of a bad hurricane, and the gulf coast's idea of a bad hurricane, were quite different (try and picture what 22 (Camile) -37 feet (Katrina) of storm surge would do to most of the Bahamas and get my point). Just ten feet of storm surge would make a mess there, I imagine.

Still, I wouldn't be there for one if I could avoid it.
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Old 20-05-2013, 16:10   #21
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

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Well, the good thing is that hurricanes rarely seem to do serious damage in the Bahamas (because of the topography, surge is really not a big problem, for one thing) and most aren't at full strength when they hit. They just don't seem to be hit very hard by them historically.
Andrew? In any case, the problem you have in the Bahamas is that unless you leave as soon as something looks like it might hit the Virgin Islands, it is often too late, and yet a lot of the storms will eventually curve off and not impact the Bahamas severely. So, you end up with a lot of false alarms. The Bahamas get a lot of near misses too, and even a tropical storm can be very nasty in most of the harbors. If you have shallow draft it is possible to maybe find a spot in Hope Town, or Man O' War that will be reasonably sheltered. The boatyard in Black Sound on Green Turtle does haulouts in hurricanes, but they are likely to be swamped if a storm is coming.

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Hurricane Andrew passed through the southern Berry Islands with winds of 240 km/h (150 mph). The hurricane later made a devastating landfall in southern Florida, and after striking southern Louisiana it dissipated over the eastern United States.[1] Andrew was the first major hurricane to affect the nation since Hurricane Betsy in 1965.[2] It caused $250 million in damage (1992 USD, $384 million 2007 USD), with damage heaviest on Eleuthera and Cat Cay. Four deaths occurred due to the storm, of which one was indirectly related to the hurricane.
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Old 21-05-2013, 08:13   #22
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

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Andrew? In any case, the problem you have in the Bahamas is that unless you leave as soon as something looks like it might hit the Virgin Islands, it is often too late, and yet a lot of the storms will eventually curve off and not impact the Bahamas severely. So, you end up with a lot of false alarms. The Bahamas get a lot of near misses too, and even a tropical storm can be very nasty in most of the harbors. If you have shallow draft it is possible to maybe find a spot in Hope Town, or Man O' War that will be reasonably sheltered. The boatyard in Black Sound on Green Turtle does haulouts in hurricanes, but they are likely to be swamped if a storm is coming.

Wikipedia:
I went through Andrew with just wind and not much surge and then I went through Katrina with wind and unbelievable surge. We had agents from Miami who had been through Andrew, come to the gulf coast after Katrina, and we all agreed, that after seeing what a really bad hurricane looked like, we would never call Andrew a bad hurricane again. It's relative, I know.

But, IMHO, surge is the killer and destroyer, much more than wind, when a hurricane comes. At least that's my experience from having been in so many of them I have lost count and forgotten the names of all but the worst. And, luckily, the Bahamas just don't seem to ever get much surge, no matter how much wind they get. If they did, they would look like the other places that do get it, with all new buildings all of the time.

But, I do agree, that the only way to safely deal with hurricanes in the Bahamas is to leave the second you think one might hit. Waiting until you are sure will probably be too late.

And, if I did get caught there, I would ride it out on land, whether I could get the boat out or not. I'm on my sixth sailboat and if this one gets destroyed, I am sure there will be a seventh. But, there is only one of me and mine. You just have to see a beach covered with bodies of people who thought they would be okay to believe it.
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Old 21-05-2013, 08:26   #23
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Re: Bahamas in summer?

I agree that storm surge is usually the big killer, but it doesn't take much rise to put lots of areas in the Bahamas under water, so choose your shelter carefully. One issue too is that you have to get back to Florida in time to find a decent place to secure your boat before they start locking the opening bridges down in order to evacuate people. When the storm is hundreds of miles out it is impossible to tell exactly where you should head to in order to avoid a direct hit. I would probably choose the fastest route back to Florida based on wind and current from my location in the Bahamas, rather than trying to return to a specific location--use the ICW for that, if you can.
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