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Old 02-01-2017, 15:23   #1
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Bahamas bareboating

Hello everyone,

We (3 couples) are looking forward to bareboating in the Bahamas this spring, that is, a week sometime in February through April.

When is the best time to sail the Bahamas?

Where is the best place to sail for good sailing, snorkling, anchorages, and beaches ... northern, central, southern or Turks/Caicos?

Any recommendations for charter companies (new boat is not a necessity)?

Thanks in advance,
Ron
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Old 02-01-2017, 16:21   #2
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

If you are not too experienced look for charter companies in Abaco. If experienced Navtours in Nassau and the boats sail the Exumas.
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Old 02-01-2017, 16:45   #3
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

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If you are not too experienced look for charter companies in Abaco. If experienced Navtours in Nassau and the boats sail the Exumas.


Thanks Vasco!

We have bare boated twice so far, one monohull and one catamaran, plus a captained cat in the BVI. We also own a 36' monohull. Do you suggest we stick to Abaco or go for Exumas?
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Old 02-01-2017, 17:20   #4
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

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Originally Posted by RumRonrrr View Post
Thanks Vasco!

We have bare boated twice so far, one monohull and one catamaran, plus a captained cat in the BVI. We also own a 36' monohull. Do you suggest we stick to Abaco or go for Exumas?
That's really up to you and your crew. Abaco sailing is fairly straightforward and facilities are close. Exuma is more challenging and don't expect to eat out every night. As for timing the later the better May or June. The fronts diminish as the months progress. Every year is different but there's no guarantees. But the waters are great and much preferable to BVI. (of course that's only my opinion).
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Old 02-01-2017, 17:50   #5
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Top notch charter company in Marsh Harbor is Cruise Abaco. The Abacos are terrific in the Springtime. PM me for more.
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Old 03-01-2017, 05:44   #6
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

No, no, no. Don't PM. The whole point of a forum like this is to share information! If you have information that is worth sharing then share it.
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Old 03-01-2017, 12:50   #7
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Thanks everyone for your comments so far.

It looks like the two best areas for bare boating are Abaco and Exumas, with Abaco the suggestion for first time Bahamas cruisers. Based on what you have said we'll be going in April as we launch our boat in May (WI sailors).

Thanks again for the info and if you think of anything else please add it to this thread as we are looking for all the suggestions from CF sailors that we can get.
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Old 03-01-2017, 13:07   #8
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Another big thumbs-up for Cruise Abaco. Mark and Patti will make sure you have a good time!
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Old 04-01-2017, 05:20   #9
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Abacos are well protected cruising grounds, well populated and easy to sail. Quite social there and many things to do ashore. Exumas are wilder, less populated, and trickier to navigate. Not much coral left around abacos. Best of what's left is in the Exumas. Try the "aquarium" for snorkeling. Not many know about that little gem. Abacos are a small and compact area. The Exumas are an extended subject. Do Abacos first maybe. Lots of crime in Nassau, pretty safe elsewhere.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:29   #10
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Based on the feedback we've received on CF and the articles read, we will be going to the Abacos this trip and then coming back to the Exumas on our next trip.

Any additional info on the Abacos, flights to and from, charter companies, and specific charts is appreciated.

Thanks to everyone for all the good info and insights so far!!!

Ron
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:58   #11
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

I'm thinking March for best time. Feb water is still cool, April the mini jellys'/ Thimbles are out. Maybe late March.
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Old 04-01-2017, 10:34   #12
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Great. Go on over and have yourself a big fun time! That gin clear water of the Bahamas is like no other. Its open season on jellies, so thimble soup is always on the menu. Well, maybe stick with conch.

It's been awhile, but I recall an excellent guide book. Big thick thing, and is updated each year. Find that and it will be your ultimate resource for the Bahamas. Cheers
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Old 04-01-2017, 12:28   #13
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Oh oh, jellies? We'll have to look into that more.

We have purchased the Waterway Guide, which is helping.
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Old 04-01-2017, 16:49   #14
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Hi RumRonrrr,

My wife and I just did a bareboat in the Abacos over Thanksgiving (Nov 2016). I haven't been to the Exumas so can't provide a comparison.

For the Abacos, we chartered from the Moorings and got a Beneteau 42.3 Club boat, which means a slightly older boat. "Clubs boats are generally 3 to 5 years in our fleet". The boat was fine but as with any charter company do a thorough inventory check - ours was missing through hull plugs. The only thing I meant to check at the dock but didn't was that I didn't unfurl the jib (I did raise the main). Sure enough we had to actually use the winch to both furl and unfurl the jib!

With the Moorings you pay a bit more than other charter companies but you get their 4 hour response time to have someone out to repair your boat. I used to think that was great but now that I've done 8 charters with different companies I'd rather not have the boat broken in the first place. Our Moorings boat didn't seem to be in better nick than any other companies. We listened to base communication through the week and there was the following:
- engine wouldn't start - those folks lost an entire day of sailing
- prop fell of a catamaran while sailing. Not from running aground, just sailing. That's a funny one. We ran into the charterers during the week and got to hear their story.
- head flooding into the boat. Base told the skipper "Skipper, you'll have to handle that yourself". Makes sense due to urgency, but there was no further communication on that one which struck me as very odd.

So I don't think Moorings Abaco is any better or worse than any others out there.


Joe
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Old 04-01-2017, 17:00   #15
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Re: Bahamas bareboating

Hi again Rumronrrr,

Ok, I'm attaching our trip diary for our Abacos charter with Moorings out of Marsh Harbor this past thanksgiving. 22 pages with itineraries, links, provisioning info, where we anchored or moored each night, restaurants and costs, general impressions, etc.

Would be interesting to hear comments or feedback from anyone on this. This was our 7th charter and a pretty low key one. We usually bring dive gear and dive but didn't this time. We were surprised that it wasn't very warm and was low season with no crowds at all and many places not yet open for "the season". We asked folks there (restaurant owners) and apparently it's March through August when they get busy and it's a big party.

We had a 5'1" shoal draft Beneteau 42 and still had to wait for tides to enter/exit Little Harbor, so keep tides in mind if you go with a monohull.

Favorite evenings out were at Grabbers on Guana, and Green Turtle Club on Green Turtle

Let me knowif you have any questions.

Cheers,
Joe
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