sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Australia Cruising USA Cruising Canada Boats for Sale Sail-World Racing Photo Gallery FishingBoating
Newsletters Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Shallow Water sailing - Ten vital hints for roving sailors
Shallow Water sailing - Ten vital hints for roving sailors

'Sheryl and Paul Shard, aboard their Southerly 49 S/V Distant Shores II crossing the Caicos Bank en route to the Bahamas.'    Paul Shard    Click Here to view large photo

Cruising sailor Paul Shard who, with his wife Sheryl, is an award-winning filmmaker, sailing author, and the fun-loving host of the Distant Shores sailing adventure TV, here offers some wise advice on his experiences sailing on their boat, Distant Shores II, in the shallow waters of the Bahamas:

Ahhh the Bahamas. Could this be the most beautiful water in the world? Tough to judge for the whole world, but for many people the Bahamas is best! Definitely for American and Canadian sailors on the East Coast, the Bahamas is the achievable paradise. Yet on any day you will see yachts flying ensigns from countries all around the globe. The secret is out.

But beautiful as they are, the same shallow seas (the name 'Bahamas' comes from the Spanish for shallow seas - baja mar) can be a concern for sailors new to the practice of shallow water piloting.

The differing shades of blue are indicators of the depth of the water. -  Paul Shard  

Sheryl and I have cruised these islands many times, probably a total of fourteen months altogether, over the past twenty-five years exploring the shallow seas of the Bahamas in boats of varying drafts from 6-feet to less than 3-feet. (Our current boat is a Southerly 49 with a variable-draft swing keel giving us a draft from 2-foot 10-inches to 10-feet.)

Navigation has changed here with the advent of pinpoint accurate GPS and plotters but most of the techniques for safely navigating here have not changed. There are few aids to navigation in the Bahamas. Sand bars shift and reef grow.

With a little practice you can learn to pilot shallow water safely and so enjoy some of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. -  Paul Shard   Click Here to view large photo

10 Navigation Tips for Successful Shallow Water Bahamas Piloting

1. Time your passage. It is easiest to judge water depth with the sun over your shoulder. High sun works best – 9:30 or 10:00 a.m until 3:00 or 3:30 p.m. will be best. Try not to come straight into the sun especially when it is lower on the horizon. Do not navigate at night! Rising tide means you can get off again if you get stuck.

2. Do not rely exclusively on waypoints. Cruising Guides have waypoints and they are useful but these are not designed to be used alone. Keep a lookout as well even when running point to point. For new places or routes we haven’t tried, Sheryl and I will check both our charts plus cruising guides for additional information when planning a trip.

3. Know your boat’s draft and tolerance to running aground. Can you afford to run aground? If you have exposed rudders or propellors be sure not to run aground. What is the calibrated offset of your depth sounder? Is the offset calibrated to the bottom of keel or to the water surface?

Paul wearing polarized glasses to reduce the glare on the surface of the water so he can see reefs and shoals better. -  Paul Shard   Click Here to view large photo

4. Wear polarized sunglasses. They cut the glare on the surface of the water so that you can see down into the water much better when wearing polarized glasses.

5. Keep a good watch. Height helps - have a lookout standing on the cabin top or other high point. Do not look through windows or cockpit enclosures. Keep a sharp lookout. Post a lookout at the bow. Do not rely completely on Electronics.

6. Slow down or stop when unsure.

7. Learn to judge the depth by the water-colour. Deep sapphire blue to swimming pool blue to pale yellow is all sand. Deep green or gray-black will be deeper water of 3-5 meters over grass or reef. Brown water will be quite shallow water over reef or rock - less than one meter. Judge depth over sand from sandy colour (less than 0.5 meter - two feet) very pale light blue (one meter) to deep blue. (I will go into this in more depth in my next Tech Blog, 'How to Read the Colour of the Water' since it is an important skill for skippers to develop to ensure a safe and happy cruise.).

The Shards’ previous boat, Distant Shores, a Southerly 42, dried out in the shallow water of Pipe Creek in the Exumas, Bahamas. -  Paul Shard   Click Here to view large photo

8. Practice with your depth sounder. Judge the depth ahead (for example, picking a shallower sandy patch) and confirm your estimation as you pass over this patch. Explore ahead in the dinghy and confirm depths with a lead-line.

9.Try out a Lead-Line. On our first trip to the Bahamas in 1989 friends gave us a lead-line neatly designed for our boat (which drew six feet). It was a 20 foot piece of thin cord and had ribbons tied every two feet with a fishing sinker on the end. The ribbons at 2,4 and six feet were red indicating depths we couldn't go. 8,10 and 12 were yellow and 14,16 and 18 indicated we could easily anchor here. Great for scouting in the dinghy or for checking depth off the stern...

10. Be careful in cloudy conditions. The small trade-wind clouds common to the (otherwise) perfect sailing day in the Bahamas can cast a shadow on the water that look just like a black reef patch. The clue is to carefully watch the bearing - if the bearing changes then it’s a cloud. If you are unsure, head around it. When you get closer it’s easier to see if it’s really a reef. Not all clouds pose a problem. Soft clouds or on a high-cloud dull day it is still relatively easy to judge water colour.

One of the most beautiful spots in the Bahamas is Warderick Wells where there are ribbons of blue water with the varying shallow depths. -  Paul Shard   Click Here to view large photo

We love the Bahamas and enjoy the challenge of piloting in the amazing blue waters here. A little preparation and practice will allow you to safely navigate this wonderful cruising ground.

Paul and Sheryl Shard are the authors of the bestselling book, 'Sail Away! A Guide to Outfitting and Provisioning for Cruising' which is currently being updated to a third edition and are the hosts of the award-winning sailing TV series, 'Distant Shores' which is also available on DVD and downloads. They are currently cruising aboard their Southerly 49 sailboat, Distant Shores II, in the Caribbean and Bahamas. Visit their website.


by Paul Shard


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=122236

1:02 AM Sun 18 May 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Distant Shores TV

Related News Stories:

07 Feb 2014  Making money while cruising
18 Jan 2014  TV's 'Distant Shores' ready for boat show season
16 Jan 2014  Ten Parameters of Provisioning
29 Dec 2013  Top 10 Tips for Cooking at Sea






Sail-World Cruising News - local and the World

The record-setting North American winter of 2015 has left us with all kinds of remarkable images, most of them of snow and ice. But a photographer on Nantucket found something most of us have never seen – nearly frozen waves. ... [more]  

Coast Guard crews continue the search Monday for Richard Byhre, the 76-year-old sailor who did not return from his sailing trip as expected. ... [more]  

Rio de Janeiro's state environmental agency says it is investigating a fish die-off that has left thousands of carcasses floating in waters where sailing events are to be held when Brazil hosts next year's Olympics. ... [more]  

The Salty Dawg Rally (SDR), a cruising rally that has quickly grown to be the most popular one of its kind on the U.S. East Coast, announces the Spring 2015 rally plans, when members of the SDR once again sail out of their ‘Winter headquarters’ in the Caribbean and head home for the warmer months of the year. ... [more]  

Dutch Chief Mate suspended following tragic yacht incident by Maritime and Coastguard Agency Press
On the 8th June 2014 the 'Shoreway', a 98 metre 5000 tonne dredger, owned by Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV, collided with a Moody 31 sailing yacht 'Orca' at the entrance to the River Orwell in Suffolk. At the helm of the Shoreway at the time was Mr Gerardus Chapel who was employed as Chief Mate. ... [more]  

Last year, OceansWatch trialled a Climate Change adaptation program in two communities in the Solomon Islands which have been identified as one of the countries that will be most affected by the rising sea levels and increased storm conditions. The low coral atolls where we work are especially vulnerable. ... [more]  

Sailors for the Sea and Cruising Club of America will work together to encourage sailors to become stewards of the ocean. Sailors for the Sea, a leading conservation organization that engages, educates, inspires and activates the sailing and boating community toward healing the ocean, will partner with the Cruising Club of America (CCA), an international organization of over 1,300 sailors ... [more]  

Safety at Sea seminar is being held on Saturday, March 14 at SSYC. Before you head offshore to cruise or race, join us for the most authoritative daylong seminar on safe seamanship, heavy weather tactics, weather forecasting, communications and boat preparation. ... [more]  

The European Commission considers a Greek cruising tax introduced at the end of 2013 to be lawful following concerns from Britain's Royal Yachting Association (RYA). Although it has yet to be implemented, the new Circulation Tax (TPP) applicable to all boats over 7m sailing in Greek waters, has now been ruled lawful by the European Commission. This report by Yachting World. ... [more]  

Rescued Australian father and son are recovering fast by Sean Flynn | The Newport Daily News
The Australian father and son who were rescued from their 43-foot sailboat Sunday morning in 60-mph winds and 25-foot waves two days after setting out from Jamestown were recovering Monday at the Coast Guard Air Station in Forestdale, Mass., a village in Sandwich. ... [more]  

Airbnb may a popular 'peer-to-peer' lodging site on the web, but if you want to rent a boat in your local area or away, you’ve got options, too. Boatbound.com, Boatsetter.com and Cruzin.com are just a few of the new crop of online websites offering a chance to rent a boat for the day or weekend. ... [more]  

Australian father-son duo delays trip back home by By Matt Sheley | The Newport Daily News
Lousy weather and a wonky autopilot kept the 43-foot sailboat Sedona docked Monday at the Conanicut Marina in downtown Jamestown. Australians Reg and Jason McGlashan rode out the snow in the boat’s cabin, waiting for a marine electrician to show up and fix its electrical system. ... [more]  

Reg and Jason McGlashan spent the weekend getting ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime. In freezing weather, the father-and-son team prepared the 43-foot sailboat 'Sedona' for their 8,600-nautical-mile trip back home to Port Macquarie, Australia. ... [more]  

With shark encounters and bites on the rise, Lindsay Lyon, Shark Advocate and Managing Director of Shark Shield, the world’s only proven shark deterrent technology, provides his tips on preventing a shark attack as the last days of summer roll in. ... [more]  

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) announced today winners of the 2015 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show Innovation Awards, presented during the annual Industry Breakfast at the Miami Beach Convention Center. ... [more]  

The Baja Ha-Ha… The 750-mile cruiser rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas beckons with adventure, fun and memories-to-be-made. This year 171 boats and 525 participants answered the call. ... [more]  

Oceans of Hope is a Sailing Sclerosis Foundation project that aims to change perceptions of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), inspiring people with the disease to overcome their own personal challenges by telling the stories of those taking part in the first ever circumnavigation by a yacht crewed by people with MS. ... [more]  

Tropical Cyclone Marcia is moving quickly through the Coral Sea towards the Queensland coast. The recent movement has been to the southwest, and it is expected to maintain this general motion through to landfall on the eastern Queensland coast between St Lawrence and Bundaberg early on Friday. Tropical Cyclone Marcia is expected to slowly intensify, with the possibility of reaching category 2 inte ... [more]  

Between 18th-25th May 2015 I will spend 7 days and nights in a life raft in Portland Marina, Portland Harbour, Dorset. This is a twofold exercise, firstly to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital families centre, and secondly to allow Professor Mike Tipton and his team at Plymouth University conduct experiments on me. ... [more]  

Fusion®, a worldwide leader in marine audio, announced today the release of its revolutionary high-performance marine audio systems, the Fusion 750 and 650 True-Marine™ Entertainment Series. Approaching audio engineering from the perspective of the boat enthusiast and incorporating the latest marine technologies and environmental protection ... [more]  

Boat owners cruising in Turkish waters are facing more difficulties because a new law regarding Residence Permits is confusing everyone concerned. ... [more]  

I was ruined...completely and utterly ruined. At the young age of 22, my very first trip to the Caribbean was to Eleuthera, which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on earth. It will now be an uphill battle for me to surpass my visit there. ... [more]  

RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show 2015 - Over the weekend of 28 February-01 March everything you ever wanted to know about dinghy sailing plus hundreds of boats, brands and kit can be all be found under one roof at Alexandra Palace, North London. ... [more]  

Don Macpherson developed a passion for sailing in his twenties while cruising with his father, a navigator in the US Navy, on the family Swan 57. ... [more]  

OCA Series - Face the fear with Julie Salisbury as she takes you on a journey at sea, encountering sharks and jellyfish, complete darkness alone 1,000 miles from land, battling malaria, a debilitating back injury, and being jilted in Malaysia and left alone with no money, friends, or home. ... [more]  

Dominica has been on 'the' list for quite some time now and when I actually get to do something on 'the' list, my heart skips a beat! Although Dominica still remains somewhat off-the-beaten track for boaters, it is located right in the middle of the chain of Caribbean islands and can be easily accessed from Antigua and Guadeloupe to the north or Martinique and St. Lucia to the south. ... [more]  

Yachts arriving in the Galapagos are now subject to more stringent checks to prevent introduced species invading the Islands. ... [more]  

Cruising under Power - With more and more members trading in the sails for the power option we thought we’d take a look and see if taking on the Power option really was turning to the Dark Side! ... [more]  

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) Chairman and Founder Richard Schwartz, who created and grew the association to become the predominant advocacy and boater services organization for the nation’s recreational boat owners, passed away Wednesday after a short illness. He was 85. ... [more]  

50th Newport Bermuda Race - When I wrote my history of the race, A Berth to Bermuda, in 2006, one theme wove its way through the narrative: Anyone who wishes to win the oldest of all ocean races must be prepared to be bold in choosing strategy and tactics. Jim McCurdy designed Carinas and sailed with the Nyes, as did his daughters, Hope and Sheila. ... [more]  

About five percent of our land-based mess (12.7 million metric tons of plastic) estimated to wind up in the water. Since their invention roughly 75 years ago, plastics have become increasingly prevalent in the consumer marketplace. Today, we use and dispose of plastics on a daily basis, in products like bottled water and grocery bags. Plastics now represent a significant portion of the solid waste ... [more]  

At 20.29 UTC, Captian Piotr Kuzniar, & his 10 man polish crew onboard the 67 foot yacht Selma, reached the edge of the ice in the Ross Sea, at 78,43.S in the Bay of Whales, just over 100 nautical miles farther south then the previous record. ... [more]  

ARC USA Rally - Offshore Passage Opportunities (OPO), the largest crew networking service in North America, has reserved 24 crew berths for amateur crew aboard five boats it is 'delivering north' during the upcoming ARC USA Rally. A Swan 57, Swan 53, two Swan 46s and a Beneteau 50, each with a professional skipper and five crew, will start the ARC USA Rally on May 9 ... [more]  

Setouchi International Yacht Rally preview
Cruising yacht disappears in Bay of Islands
Getting your gear (wheel) on
Caribbean Safety and Security Net 2014 year end report
Boat Docking Secrets - How to Avoid Springline Snap-back
New legislation would fix renewable fuel standard
New legislation would fix renewable fuel standard
Provisioning the aCappella Way
Ilen’s Whiskey Plank Ceremony at Hegarty’s Boatyard
Best Loch Ness Monster evidence may have been destroyed
Tall ship falls over - Could your boat do this?
Two Somali pirates appeal in deaths of four Americans aboard yacht
Producing jet fuel from ocean algae
FUSION® unveils 750 and 650 Series Marine Entertainment Systems
The true story of Donald Crowhurst set for a major film adaptation
Humans drive 500 species of land animals extinct, now marine?
Predicting coral reef futures under climate change
Sailors for the Sea launches ocean conservation movement to heal ocean
Family rescued after catamaran breaks in half
2015 Ocean Cruising Adventures - First to finish without really trying
Winter Storm Juno expected to impact Northeast - Take precautions!   
Sailing Sclerosis Oceans of Hope arrives in Panama City + Video   
Ocean Cruising Adventures Series preview   
Planning an open ocean cruise? Become a Citizen Oceanographer   
Croatia First Regatta - Brand new limited entry one design event   
Boot 2015 – Worlds largest boat show shows optimism   
Doyle Sails offer sail repair and basic rigging service at BOISW   
World Arc Leg 2 - Fleet depart for San Blas   
World Arc - First arrivals to St Helena island   
2014 warmest year since records began + Video   
Volcano creates large new Tongan island   
Summer camps for teens aboard an extraordinary tall ship   
Highland Yacht Club - Lake Ontario’s hidden jewel of a Yacht Club   
Particular Harbour – Gananoque   
SE Asia tanker hijacks rose in 2014 - IMB report reveals   
Rescuing Ben Ainslie from a boat? Stranger things have happened at sea   
Christmas Caribbean Rally - Success, new dates, multihulls offer   
Cruising like a Vendée Racer   
World ARC - Two rally fleets set sail   
Hidden battles on Reefs - How will corals fare in a changing ocean?   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph, contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW CRU NH
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT