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Old 05-26-2013
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Bahama Charter Suggestions

My family will be chartering in the Abacos in the Bahamas next June or July 2014. We are working through Ed Hamilton to help us choose the charter boat and they have made some suggestions for us. We definitely want to go with a cat since there will be 9 of us (4 adults, 4 young adults and 1 6 year old) to give us enough room.

At this point we are trying to decide on a boat and charter company. Does anyone have any experience with either Dream or Sunsail charter companies in the Abacos? The boats that have been recommended to us are a Leopard 444 and a Lagoon 45 so does anyone have any recommendations for either of these boats? Interested in any info on the quality of the accommodations and the sailing characteristics of each of the boats. I am new to cats having sailed monohulls so any thoughts on which would provide the best overall performance and ease the transition.

While I am at it if anyone has any recommendations on areas that we must be sure to visit or areas to avoid I am open and welcome any suggestions.
You will regret the things you did not do, more than the things you did.

Get out there!

Saco Bay, Maine
2001 Beneteau Oceanis 361
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Old 07-07-2013
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Re: Bahama Charter Suggestions

First, Sunsail is uniformly good in the Abacos and it shares the same base in Marsh Harbor with The Moorings, which you should also look at. The Leopard 444 is called the Sunsail 444 and it’s a great boat for the Abacos with shallow draft and a really nice “front porch” cockpit that cools the whole boat without using the air conditioning. Depending on the age of the young adults, there are two forepeak berths with separate hatches that give them independence. If there is a choice and the price difference isn’t frightening, I always try to get the Premier Plus boats which are a year old.

At Moorings I’d look at the Moorings 4800, which is a new Robertson & Caine boat in their Abacos fleet. More pricey, though.

As to what to see and do, check out the great Abacos feature story in the Winter 2013 issue of CharterSavvy. Just Google this bareboating magazine on line.

One last piece of advice: get to Man o’War early so you get some of Miss Lola’s cinnamon buns. She bakes daily, drives them to the docks in her electric cart, and she’s a hoot. Her Bahamian bread makes the best French toast I’ve ever had.
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Old 12-24-2013
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Re: Bahama Charter Suggestions

Hi Maccauley123,

I agree with Yachtguy on the Sunsail 444. It's a wonderful yacht and great for a large group as it has both a front and back sitting area...and its a great cruising cat for the Bahamas.
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Old 12-24-2013
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Re: Bahama Charter Suggestions

We chartered a Lagoon 420 from Dream Yacht Charter a little over a year ago, right after Sandy had blown through the area. My first big cat and it was our first time in the Abacos (most of our other chartering has been in the BVIs and down in the Windwards).

I can't really compare the Lagoon to other big cats, but we were generally pleased with this boat. You should quickly learn to take full advantage of the twin engines to help you dock the boat and get through the narrow channels. We had to enter ManOWar with a 40 degree crab angle due to the wind blowing across the channel entrance at 30 kts. Sandy sucked the wind out of the area as she left so after the first two days we mostly were under power.

Dream YC was a pleasure to work with, they helped us by shifting the charter period a day (due to the storm) and in many other small ways. They had relocated to the east side of the bay, opposite from where Moorings/Sunsail is based, and the restaurant (Jib Room) had not yet reopened for the season so we had a cab ride or long walk to the other side for shopping, bars and restaurants. Because of the storm and the early point in the season the area was deserted. If you use Dream, say hi to Terrence from Capt Ed - he was the base manager and a great guy.

Our itinerary included a mid-day stop at ManOWar, then on to Guana Cay (anchored in the harbor, drinks at Nippers, dinner at Grabbers), then Treasure Cay (marina), Hopetown (mooring ball), Little Harbor (anchored outside the entrance as we arrived at low tide - you should try to get there for sure), then back north to White Sound (marina) before heading back to Marsh Harbor. We didn't go outside due to the sea conditions and rage at Whale Cay, and the waters had been stirred up to almost totally obscure the bottom even in the shallows. That said we never touched bottom with the 4-6 draft of the Lagoon.

I will definitely return, sometime when the waters are clear and warmer and not right after a hurricane :-)
Capt. Ed Caldwell, USCG OUPV Near Coastal
ASA Instructor for BKB, BCC, BBC and CON
S/V Grace, a Hunter 340 on Lake Lanier, GA
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Old 12-27-2013
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Re: Bahama Charter Suggestions


If interested, I might be able to get you a great deal on a catamaran in the Bahamas. Just let me know, if you would like to discuss it.

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