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Old 29-07-2010, 04:07   #31
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Originally Posted by captainKJ View Post
... Friend of mine was on a 50 foot sailboat with a 7 foot draft and spent 2 years in the bahamas. Never ran aground once. He is a great navigator. It is not just the draft but your skill also.
I doubt that he really tried.
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Old 29-07-2010, 06:28   #32

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Boats for the Bahamas

Ocean Liners cruise to Nassau. This means that boats with drafts of 10 meters ( 30 ft ) can go to the bahamas.

So what?

What matters is where you can go....

If you want to explore the out of the way places, like the Indian villages on the west side of Andros, you need less than 1 meter of draft. If you like gunkholing, and your boat has shallow draft, new horizons open to you.

So, before you say anything regarding draft, would be best to get a set of Explorer Charts for the Bahamas, and look at the situation yourself. Then decide what kind of cruising you want to do. if it's nassau, anything up to 10 m will do. But if you want to gunkhole, then something with centerboards will be necessary.

Please don't hit me with superior navigator rubbish. Gunkholing with 4-6 ft in the further bahamian places requires visual navigation of narrow winding channels studded with coral heads, which means a crew of at least two, one steering, the other in the crosstrees, pointing. Also necessary will be a very tough boat that shrugs off groundings, definitely not a boat with encapsulated ballast.

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Old 29-07-2010, 06:38   #33

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Shallow Draft and World Wide Cruising

Originally Posted by Janice View Post
The real question is what do you want to do besides go to the Bahamas! Do you want to sail the Caribbean, Atlantic or beyond? Decide what type of cruising you will be doing and then decide what type of boat you need to get you there. I certainly wouldn't buy a shallow draft boat just because you want to spend a few months in the Bahamas.
The Europeans have developed shallow draft sailboats to a very high standard. I foiund them cruising the Caribbean, the Pacific, and elsewhere.

The boats I mention have drafts of 2-3 ft. They are flat bottomed, they have kickup rudders, some of them articulated, many of them are aluminum, and look quite modern.

In the pacific, shallow draft permits you entering lagoons closed to others, anchoring in places no one else can go.

I have had a boat with tandem centerboards for 20 years. In my experience, a properly maintained canterboard performs well and is inexpensive.

For my book, the best draft for Florida Bay and the Bahamas is 10 cm. However, things being what they are, a practical draft limit for a boat up to 34Ft on the waterline is 2 ft, Dick Zaal's Lapwing comes to mind.

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Old 07-08-2010, 19:08   #34
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we ran a oday 302 with a five foot draft and first year on the ocean.the bahamas offered us no problems at all using explorer charts.being a bunch of 26 year olds and probly the dumbest on the forum we didnt have any troubles at all......
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Old 19-09-2010, 12:35   #35
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We have a 7 foot draft and we did not run aground in the Bahamas, due to the excellent Explorer charts and the clear waters in the Bahamas. Obviously we were restricted in our choice of anchorages. But other than that, it was easy sailing in the Bahamas.

We did ran aground on the ICW in Florida, south of Fernandino Beach in mud, and we ran aground on a reef in Cuba (that one hurt). But that was due to lack of accurate maps.
Sailing? living on the wind..
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Bahamas, draft

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