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Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options #146611
10/18/2017 01:15 PM
10/18/2017 01:15 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 106
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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BreckSailor  Offline OP
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Denver & Breckenridge, CO
First, I apologize that this is somewhat misplaced in this forum. However, with so many experienced sailors here I thought I'd ask about Bahamas sail chartering.

Despite 30 yrs of sailing, I've never sailed in Bahamas and am looking to take my family there for next March '18 spring break trip. As best I can tell, my choices are basically Abacos and Exumas bases - and choosing between the 2 multinational opns and smaller opns (generally preferred).

Does anyone have any particular experience with differences - especially sailing and "experience" wise - between the island chains? I suppose we prefer experiences similar to Virgin Islands of 20+ years ago - meaning very casual and laid back, less developed, fewer boats and developed beaches, fewer college groups and pirate flags. Also, when we sail we enjoy the 20+ mile passages from place to place - I don't like feeling confined to a small area.

Also, if anyone has any experience with the smaller local Bahama sail charter operators I'd love to hear of them - I generally know what I'm going to get with the 2 large operations.

Much thanks!

Kevin

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Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: BreckSailor] #146612
10/18/2017 01:48 PM
10/18/2017 01:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 3,945
Buffalo, NY
lauraandrex Offline
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are you bareboat or crewed charter? Dirk from Catatonic has just set up a new venture there with a shiny new Catatonic! They literally just arrived and will be chartering from there for the near future until they can return to the BVI's.
https://www.facebook.com/chartercatatonic/

they haven't even updated their site yet but here is their contact info
yachtcatatonic@mac.com

https://www.coolcatcharters.com/

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: lauraandrex] #146613
10/18/2017 01:59 PM
10/18/2017 01:59 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 106
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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BreckSailor  Offline OP
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Denver & Breckenridge, CO
Bareboat

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: BreckSailor] #146614
10/18/2017 02:25 PM
10/18/2017 02:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,828
Maine
Breeze Offline
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Breeze  Offline
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Maine

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: Breeze] #146615
10/18/2017 02:41 PM
10/18/2017 02:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 106
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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Excellent - thanks for this. I'd previously searched TTOL but found nothing on "Bahamas" and didn't go further.

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: BreckSailor] #146616
10/18/2017 04:49 PM
10/18/2017 04:49 PM
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 30
Buffalo NY
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Eriesailor Offline
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I did the Exuma's just this past winter. Not a charter but during a boat delivery. It sounds just like what you are looking for - very laid back and mostly undeveloped, although there won't be many 20+ mile sailing days. Most being 10 miles or so with a couple longer ones. During the 9 days I spent there I didn't see a single charter boat, they were all permanent cruisers. Now that Moorings is opening a base in Nassau that might change however. The actual sailing is a bit trickier than the BVI's due to the strong currents, high tidal range and ever changing shoals. The only place I saw mooring balls was in Waderick Wells Land and Sea Park (a must see), the rest of the places you will need to anchor or dock in a marina. The Exumas were spectacularly beautiful and extremely laid back. You won't find many beach bars but there are some. It's a very different experience from the BVI's.

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: Eriesailor] #146617
10/18/2017 05:24 PM
10/18/2017 05:24 PM
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Posts: 106
Denver & Breckenridge, CO
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BreckSailor Offline OP
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Thanks Erie for those comments - I agree that Exumas sounds like a great option for my family.

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: BreckSailor] #146618
10/19/2017 06:27 AM
10/19/2017 06:27 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,893
Maryland
Eva Offline
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Eva  Offline
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I chartered in the Exumas this year (Navtours out of Nassau); I also spent 4 months in the Bahamas (2.5 of which were spent in the Exumas) as a cruiser on my own boat before that. I love the Exumas, but they are not an easy place for charterers. You have to be very resourceful, as you can go days and many many miles between places to fuel up and top up. Not much in the way of restaurants or bars, either. If you like seclusion, you'll be delighted.


I've got a Caribbean Soul I can barely control... (JB)
Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: Eva] #146619
10/21/2017 03:32 AM
10/21/2017 03:32 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 119
Georgia
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cruzdoc Offline
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BreckSailor,

I have been once to the Abacos for bareboat (4 adults and 4 teens) and going again in November as we had to switch from BVI. I think you will find it very similar to BVI minus the tides and shallow water sailing. Have to really pay a lot more attention to these details than the BVI. We spent a couple of nights anchored as the only boat in a location so you can find seclusion if you want but also still have many places to hit beach bars and mooring balls if you want. Plenty to keep you busy for a week and beyond.

I reviewed the Exumas charts yesterday for future and got the feeling that it is a step up from Abacos even in regards to tides, currents, and shallow areas. Appeared to me that you will find plenty of seclusion if you want but I have never been.

My personal opinion is that Abacos would be an easier family trip but may be a little more crowded than usual due to many charters being moved there. Feel free to PM if you want more specific questions answered.

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: cruzdoc] #146620
10/22/2017 01:14 PM
10/22/2017 01:14 PM
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 33
FL
Catdancer Offline
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We used to sail the Abacos when we lived in S.FL 35 years ago, and twice in the past three years as retirees, most recently in August. In some ways, time has stood still for some of the islands (especially Man O War). On others, such as Great Guana and Green Turtle, there are more options for dining etc. similar to BVis. We particularly love the clear, usually calm waters with numerous opportunities for snorkeling and diving on spectacular reefs. There are deserted little islands, and Hope Town on Elbow Cay is always a favorite for all. The winds during the April trip made for excellent sailing, better than the summer winds, but keep in mind that the temps are the same as West Palm Beach; beautiful sunny days for beaching and shallow water swims, but the water temps were a bit cool for us southerners to do much snorkeling on the Atlantic reefs. We will continue to explore and enjoy the Abacos for as long as we can still get in and out of a dinghy!

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: Catdancer] #146621
10/23/2017 01:06 PM
10/23/2017 01:06 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 72
Fayetteville, Ar
NWA4Sail Offline
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NWA4Sail  Offline
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Fayetteville, Ar
After our BVI charter was cancelled we were considering a trip to the Bahamas. In this process we discovered that Sunsail only offered cats as an option. Is that the case with other charter companies?

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: NWA4Sail] #146622
10/24/2017 06:32 AM
10/24/2017 06:32 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,893
Maryland
Eva Offline
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Eva  Offline
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Both Dream Yacht Charters and Cruise Abaco have monohulls available for charter in the Abacos; Navtours has a few monohulls for the Exumas.

While we had little trouble with our own monohull (draft approx. 5' with a wing keel) -- only hit bottom once in the Abacos -- why not give a cat a try? Unless cost is an object, cats are ideal for the skinny waters of the Bahamas, letting you tuck in closer to shore if you choose. Of course, cats involve some compromises in sailing performance, but in the Exumas you won't be doing all that much sailing; in the Abacos, you do a lot of beam reaching in the prevailing winds, so a cat is fine for that.


I've got a Caribbean Soul I can barely control... (JB)
Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: Eva] #146623
10/24/2017 09:33 AM
10/24/2017 09:33 AM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 72
Fayetteville, Ar
NWA4Sail Offline
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Thanks Eva for the info. I will check out your suggestions. We should consider a cat but have zero experience out side a Hobie!! Not a lot of comparison. Thanks again, Jonny

Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: NWA4Sail] #146624
10/24/2017 09:51 AM
10/24/2017 09:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 1,893
Maryland
Eva Offline
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Eva  Offline
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Maryland
If you can sail a mono, you can sail a cat. And, under power, with twin engines, it's easier to maneuver.


I've got a Caribbean Soul I can barely control... (JB)
Re: Bahamas Sail Charter Thoughts/Options [Re: Eva] #146625
10/24/2017 03:04 PM
10/24/2017 03:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 44
Charleston, SC
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Quote
Eva said:
If you can sail a mono, you can sail a cat. And, under power, with twin engines, it's easier to maneuver.


I second that. Experienced monohullers who recently switched. Based on maneuverability alone we won't switch back. Cruising cats tack like fat pigs, but once you get used to it, no going back!


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