Orchard Bay Sunset

Orchard Bay Sunset

Orchard Bay

Orchard Bay on Guana Cay

We left Treasure Cay with the intention of going to Guana Cay, but the wind was not helping matters. Guana Cay is just about due east of Treasure Cay and guess where the wind was blowing from? That’s right east, not a problem we call that tacking (see definitions). Well we did not feel like tacking for 3 hours in huge winds so we headed to Marsh Harbour instead. As it turned out this worked out very well, we got a slip but this time on the other dock. There were 5 other boats there from Annapolis (Eastport Yacht Club) and we had a great time getting to know everyone. After the winds died down a bit we left Marsh on Sunday morning and had a splendid sail to Guana Cay. We got a slip at Orchid Bay Marina, only because the weather was calling for big winds for the next couple days, and the moorings were crappy looking. This is a beautiful resort, but no one was here except a hand full of cruisers, but the real excitement on this island is Nippers.

Nippers Nippers2


Sunday is the pig roast that starts at 1 at Nippers and goes till all hours of the night. We got there around 2, we met folks from New Bern, NC (moved from the Chesapeake Bay and owned a Tartan 3500) and another couple from Maine on a Passport 47. The food was buffet style and it was really good, they had a DJ playing tunes and the view from the bar was to die for. It was high on a hill overlooking the Atlantic with people swimming, body surfing and snorkeling on the reef, but even though this view was to die for the real entertainment was the folks at Nippers. We watched people dancing, older guys trying to hook up with the younger ladies and older chicks trying to look like teenagers and hook up with the local guys. We stayed most of the day, but as the sun was setting we headed back to the boat to crash and burn. Today has been very windy so we stayed here on the boat doing cleanup and downloading Kindle books because after we leave Abaco we will most likely go for long spells with no Internet access.




Some folk’s think I write too nautical, sorry here are some words defined for you land lubbers.

Tacking                 A sailboat can’t sail directly into the wind. You have to steer a course about 45 degrees to the right (or left) of the wind for a period of time then ‘tack’ to the new course 45 degrees on the other side of the wind for a total of 90 degrees. In bigger winds this is very uncomfortable on a cruising boat because the boat heels hard away from the wind 15 to 20 degrees, plus when tacking the crew has to quickly bring the huge head sail (Jib or Genoa) to the other side of the boat, it’s a lot of work.

Reef                      When the winds start blowing around 20 knots (nautical miles per hour) or so the wind pressure on the sails makes the boat heel over so hard that it is hard to control, also the bigger winds can damage the sails or the rigging. When we reach this point we need to reduce the size of the sails, this is called a reef. Reefing the main sail (usually the sail attached to the rear of the mast) consists of making it smaller by not raising it as high and tying it off at various ‘reef points’ built into the sail. The first reef might work from 18-25, the second reef 24-30, third reef above 30. The head sail sometimes called the jib (sail forward of the mast) can be rolled in on a device called a furler, which works very much like a window shade, this makes the jib smaller to handle bigger winds.

Sailing, motor sailing       When we say we are sailing we have turned off the engine and totally relying on the wind for propulsion. If motor sailing we are running the engine but get a little help from the sails so we can cut back on the engine rpm, save fuel and go the same speed. When motoring we usually run the diesel engine around 2200 rpm, which pushes the boat at its most efficient speed.

Depth/draft                       I talk a lot about depth, in the Bahamas it is shallow almost everywhere we go. Our boat is a Tartan 37, it has a shallow draft meaning the amount of depth we need before we hit the bottom is about 4.5 feet. On the other hand a power boat will draw only 2-2.5 feet, and a catamaran sailboat maybe 2 feet, a normal sailboat of our size will draw about 6 feet.

Moorings, slips                  When you pull into a marina they assign a space for the boat called a slip. It will have a number and usually they will send someone to help guide you into the slip and get the boat tied up. Marinas are typically expensive, our budget can’t afford one every night so we sometimes anchor. Many harbors have floating balls attached to huge anchor chains that you can rent for the night, these are called moorings. Mooring is usually much less expensive than getting a slip. Anchoring is free in most cases, but there is always the chance that it doesn’t hold on the bottom. Mooring and anchoring give you the best ventilation because the boat will swing into the wind and you have a nice breeze to keep you cool, marinas are sometimes hot. If you want to go to town if on a mooring or anchored you will need to use the dinghy which becomes your taxi to take you wherever you need to go.

One Response to “Guana Cay”

  1. Mike says:

    Thanks for the lesson.

    I was Googleing the terms.

    Do you plan on going as far as PR or DR?

    Or will you stay in the Bahamas?