CSR Bahamas Rendezvous (Spring Break 2015)

Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by Alex F, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. cod

    cod Member GOLD Sponsor

    678
    Nov 25, 2010
    Naples, Fl.
    2005 500 Sedan Bridge/
    Cummins QSM 11's/
    Joe,

    Shorepower was the same. No problem there.....no need to purchase chips either. We did find that the Garmin Bluecharts seemed to have more updated info than Navionics. However, as I was heading to Double Breasted Cay, I had to pass a shallow area on my starboard side called Strangers Cay Bank. On the Garmin Blue Chart, it showed me skimming right along the bank. I could tell by the color of the water that it did not seem accurate. Shallows are easy to see with the change of the color of the water. On my Raymarine Hybrid Touch, it showed the shallows a distance away. I could see the shallows in the distance proving the Raymarine was more accurate in that instance....
     
  2. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    Joe,

    Besides what Steve had replied, I'd like to add few things regarding navigation.

    First of all, everything is much different when your boat is 1200 miles away. You really have to plan things in advance, which includes plotting the routes. When we were on the boat last time prior this trip, I made sure that my routes are plotted (on my E120s) according to our original Plan A. After we changed the itinerary, obviously majority of previously plotted routes were useless. This is where combination of tools comes in to play. Having an iPad as my "3rd MFD" with both apps (Navionics and Blue Charts) installed, it was time for it to shine. It now became "primary MFD" where I plotted all the new routes. There were few minor changes during the trip, so Steve and I made some corrections on the fly.

    From what I've learned, Garmin Blue Chart offers the best charts for Bahamas. However, it was interesting to see how my refreshed chart (on E120) and Steve's new chart (on his newly installed Hybrid RM MFD) came in to play. Navionics charts presents much less number of routes (magenta line) and they're on very much conservative side. Even though we've used Garmin as our primary Nav aid, we always cross-referenced with Naviounics.

    I have to tell you that between my 3 displays (2 E120s and iPad) and Steve's 3 dysplays (2 MFDs and iPad), we were covered as one can be. BTW, I've updated all of my Garmin charts prior the trip. We had perfect team work. If one of us sees something coming up on the chart, we would communicate and make necessary course corrections. It really didn't matter who was the lead boat for which leg, b/c we would always be communicating and make sure we agree on a given course. Like I said, perfect team work.
     
  3. h_gerry

    h_gerry Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 19, 2013
    Oceanside, NY
    400 Express Cruiser - 1994 with
    Raytheon 41xx Radar, Northstar 6000i GPS
    Kohler 5E
    454 Mercruiser Inboards
    Great write up and pics! Glad you guys had a great trip. I have to say I am jealous.
     
  4. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    Harold,

    You know you could have been there, even though your boat wasn't available. We were stone thraws away from Mooring branch (March Harbor), where you could charter nice power Cat. Anytime we do trips in remote location, I think it's a great option for others to be able to participate.
     
  5. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Alex,

    Your write up is fantastic. I really appreciate the time you invest to share the trip and the experience. Seeing the pictures is fantastic. More importantly hearing the discussion of the experiences of you and Steve (and crews) greatly expands the knowledge that is in your posting.

    Looks like the trip was very much a top-end experience. So glad it went well.

    (for everyone on the trip) Anything you would do different? If you were repeating the same general trip, anything that you modify in your plans based on experiences?

    Thank you so much for investing the time in your write up so all of us can benefit from the experiences of the trip.

    Mark
     
  6. Irie308

    Irie308 Member SILVER Sponsor

    701
    May 28, 2013
    CT
    320 Sundancer 2005, Raymarine C120 and C80
    Highfield 9.6 RIB & Tohatsu 8hp
    Previous boat: 215 expre
    350 Mercruisers V-drives
    Very nice Alex! Glad everyone had a great time. Definitely one to add to the bucket list. Thanks for taking us along!
     
  7. Alex F

    Alex F Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 14, 2006
    East Coast
    2005 420DB with AB 11 DLX Tender, Raymarine Dual E120 MFD/Radar/XMWeather, ST7001 A/P, AIS, SeaLift
    T-Cummins 450Cs Straight-Drives, 9KW Onan Generator, 40HP Yamaha for tender.
    Great question, Mark.

    From my point of view, I'd love to have at least one full day for getting the boat ready. Besides provisioning, there are always few things that have to be done before the trip. But, how do you manage to have it all "perfect" when you're pretty much at the mercy of the weather?

    I kind of followed the saying "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain".

    My original plan had exactly 1 day before the trip and 1 day after. Unfortunately, between work and kids school, we're running on tight schedule. So, there was not much more I could have done better other than start cutting in to the more vacation days. In our situation, we had a choice to make, either push it and travel in perfect conditions or take our time and get beat up for 4hrs. Or wait another day and make the run. Our decision was to loose few hours of sleep in exchange for great conditions and gaining extra vacation time in Bahamas.

    I'd like to clarify what I've posted earlier. Planning trips like these while having the boat 1200NM away requires to be more on proactive side and plan things much more in advance. This means that before I left the boat during our last visit, I left it in the "ready to cruise" state, that included full fuel, basic vital checks, etc. I've also asked the diver to do the bottom few days before the trip. This approach allowed me to simply turn the keys and go.

    In regards to the itinerary, cruising and our stay in ports, I think the way we had it arranged was perfect. I'm a big fan of planning, but having decent experience and being realistic, I know that being flexible is one of the keys to a successful jorney. Steve and I had 100% agreement on being flexible to reasonable extend. We knew that we had a great plan, but we were ready to make adjustments on the fly. Our major focus was on 4 crossing days. Two of them were obviously going and returning while crossing the Gulf Stream. The other two were Whales Cay passage. To help us plan (as you can see from the pic), I included the "WEATHER" column in my spreadsheet, so we could see the forecast for each day. Once were had those 4 days in good shape, the rest was walk in the park.

    We had some weather approaching, so we also planned to extend our stay in Hopetown and cut one day short from Great Guana Cay (anchorage). Despite the weather, when we got to Hopetown, we realised that we'd like to stay here longer, so we told the dockmaster rightaway that we'll be here extra night.

    Another point on flexibility, we knew that there are tons of great ports, especially gunk holes. So, we knew that even by having few on our plan, we wouldn't mind going to other places, depending on the cercomstances. And that exactly what we did on our last two legs.

    As you can see from the pics, all the ports we've visited were great. People may have different opinions on spending overnight at West End. We had our share of experience there during the start of our trip, but we didn't feel a need to spend the night there on our return trip.

    I guess there isn't anything that I could clearly pinpoint as an item that I would change for a trip that I would be doing for the first time.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2015
  8. Air O'Nautical

    Air O'Nautical Active Member

    Feb 5, 2008
    Stamford CT "Ponus Yacht Club"
    1995 400EC. Raymarine E80,4kw dome, Garmin 235 gps,
    2013 7.4L Mercruiser Blue water.
    Hurth straight shaft 630's,
    Westerbeke 7.0 BCG
    Just WOW....guys.
    Thanks for taking us along via CSR.
     
  9. FootballFan

    FootballFan Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 20, 2012
    Florida
    Marquis 59
    MTU Series 60
    Alex,

    Your point about doing pre-planning and prep from 1200 miles away definitely resonates with me. We rarely go to the boat then just stay in the Marina. I think we did that once back in November. We are down to a specific drill, which is everything from the normal flight that we leave DFW on, template based provision list that we work from when we arrive. The admiral and I have our respective tasks when we arrive.

    All of that said - it is pretty comfortable for us to be able to shove off 18-24 hours after stepping off the plane in FL (that includes normal sleep).

    That said - I have some help. We have a person that takes care of the boat when we are not there. They are the primary person on our hurricane plan. They visit the boat every week or so. When we get back from a cruise, they get the list of open items that need to be resolved. If I don't have time to get the fuel truck out after we get back - they meet the truck. Within a week of us arriving, he cleans all the strainers, does a fluid checks. Makes sure the Marina has the holding tank pumped, freshwater tank is full and fresh.

    Knowing that you handle a large portion of the activities yourself - and still manage a 24 hour departure after flying in - you are very well organized. My hat is off to you, don't think I could pull it off.

    Your planning skills are extraordinary!

    Mark
     
  10. cod

    cod Member GOLD Sponsor

    678
    Nov 25, 2010
    Naples, Fl.
    2005 500 Sedan Bridge/
    Cummins QSM 11's/
    Mark,

    I can can honestly say there is nothing I would do different.. A major factor in making this trip such a success is we had amazing weather. Everyday was beautiful and the couple of breezy days were when we were at port so it was a non issue. Certainly, we could have easily have stayed a month. What I can also tell you is we can do another similar trip and can have a completely different itinerary. There are plenty of other ports in the Abacos to see and enjoy.......In additions to the Abacos, as Alex mentioned, we met a crew from a yacht and they said Eluethra and Exuma have to be experienced. Remote but absolutely beautiful is what we were told..... My response was how can this get any better.......And that there is what will draw us back.....
     
  11. Kendall

    Kendall Member

    367
    Feb 3, 2009
    Lake Wylie SC/SC Coast
    2006 260DA
    "WET BAR"
    Generator

    Tow Vehicle:
    2006 F-350 Dually 4X4 Diesel
    350 MAG w/Bravo III
    Awesome report and photos! Made me feel the urge to head back! Glad you had great weather and crossing conditions.
     

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