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Sea Ray SDX 290 OB - West Palm to Bimini?

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Sea Ray SDX 290 OB - West Palm to Bimini?

Old 01-03-2021, 06:07 PM
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Default Sea Ray SDX 290 OB - West Palm to Bimini?

Looking to upgrade to a new boat. I really like the Sea Ray SDX 290 OB. I'm not much of a fisherman. Really just looking for something with plenty of seating for hanging out at the sandbar. However, I'd like to try to occasionally go over to Bimini if the conditions are right. I am wondering if you guys think the SDX 290 could handle that trip. I know that a center console of the same size or bigger is more suited for a trip like that. Would I be crazy to try and cross from west palm/boca in the Sea Ray?

Old 01-03-2021, 07:02 PM
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Make sure your weather window is clear for both runs and you'll be good to go. You have offshore experience?
Old 01-03-2021, 10:19 PM
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Crossing to Bimini is done by people on 15’ whalers so it can be done. The Sea Ray SDX 290 OB is fine until it isn’t. What I mean is that on a flat summer day you would be fine but if a weather system develops and you are caught in it then it’s less than ideal. My biggest concern on that boat would be stuffing the bow. Also, there are many more days that you shouldn’t take that boat than if you had a CC.

I’m sure that some people will tell you that it is unsafe and no way should you take that boat to Bimini while others will tell you that it’s more than enough at 29’ even though not an ideal CC.

I like Denver Dave’s question about your offshore experience. Also, consider going with a buddy boat, be sure to have an EPIRB, maybe a PLB or two, Garmin InReach or Spot tracking device, good quality life vests (not the WM 6-pack), a decent ditch bag with a HH VHF and consider a life raft.

My question is why go from WPB to Bimini when you can shoot straight across to West End, Port Lucaya, etc?
Old 01-04-2021, 02:30 AM
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Did you know that if a boat has a bed, head, and galley, you can deduct the interest on the loan as a second home (or a first). This might make a larger boat with that stuff just as affordable as that bow rider. Plus, when you go to Bimini, where are you going to sleep?

Note the recent stories about a 29 foot Mako with 20 people aboard that tried to make this trip and were lost. Over crowding and bad seas are obvious causes for the deaths.

Even a nice day can turn really snotty in a hurry. Then there are outside pressures (like work, family, friends) that will push you to make the trip home when weather is borderline. Make sure you get the right boat.

I had a 30 foot express (like a Sundancer) and got caught in bad weather in Delaware Bay and it was a nightmare. Water was crashing over the bow constantly. A bow rider will start to get flooded in those conditions.

I agree with getting all of the safety stuff.
Old 01-04-2021, 03:54 AM
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Whenever I see a post like this, I am reminded that the first rule of the sea is that a captain is responsible for the safety of his crew and his boat. So getting advice on a fundamental safety questions from the random postings of people you don't know is not a great idea if you are lacking the experience and confidence to make your own decision. It's. very nice for someone to say "pick your weather days and it will be fine" but the reality of weather forecasting is that it is wrong pretty often and you can find yourself in much worse conditions than you expected. Most of the time if you just slow down and hang on, you will be fine if not having a lot of fun. But the Gulfstream is a huge strong current with a powerful effect on sea conditions and weather and you have cross it (twice) to visit Bimini. That is a whole different class of trip than running 100 miles down the coast to the Keys, which might be a better sort of cruise for you with that style boat.

Apart from the always good advice to have adequate safety and communications gear such as an EPIRB and ideally a life raft, think about a few other issues. The fuel capacity of that boat is barely adequate if you encounter rough conditions and need to slow down and run into big seas. Another major issue is that there are lots of ways for literally a ton of water to get into the cockpit and bow seating areas because of the low freeboard but the drainage is very inadequate to get it out of the boat quickly. Even if the water does not find its way to places you don't want it below deck, the handling will become frighteningly unresponsive and being lower in the water means the next wave will put even more water in the boat.

There are many boats that size that would be much better suited to crossing to Bimini or elsewhere in the islands. They may not have all of the creature comforts of the Sea Ray so as always with boats, you have to decide what is most important to you and make trade offs. My boat is filled with lots of expensive equipment I hope never gets used and the design and construction that alloiw her to withstand very rough seas added a lot to the cost. But I spend a lot of time fishing 100 miles offshore and that makes sense for me.

Last edited by ClassicGuy; 01-04-2021 at 04:00 AM.
Old 01-04-2021, 05:22 AM
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I have the 270 sdx but only use it inland. The bow design does not throw water ideally for offshore use. If the bow lands hard, it tends to throw water forward as much as to the sides, causing it to crash over the bow. Now, the deck is mostly self bailing so almost all the water will go overboard.
As others have said, on good weather it would be a nice boat for the ride. If the weather goes bad, no so much.
Old 01-04-2021, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Denver Dave View Post
Make sure your weather window is clear for both runs and you'll be good to go. You have offshore experience?
I don't really have any offshore experience. I have a 23ft deck boat right now. I've taken it from the boca inlet up to the boynton inlet several times over the last two years that I've owned the boat. I've only done it on days where it was completely flat. I was out there a few weeks ago and the ocean was almost calmer than the intracoastal.
Old 01-04-2021, 07:43 AM
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The Sea Ray can certainly handle it. Plan for it and monitor the weather & conditions closely. Ultimately it's up to you and your capabilities should something go wrong, just be prepared. I know a group that rides Jet Skis to Bimini and leave out of Boynton.

Last edited by Hook85; 01-04-2021 at 07:49 AM.

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