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Old 26-10-2013, 16:15   #1
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pirate Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

Hello all, I am currently planning a sailing trip to the Northern Bahamas for mid may and was hoping some of you more experienced sea goers could help me out in making sure me and all my friends have a great vacation.
The parameters for the trip are as follows:
1) A week long trip (getting 12 people together with conflicting and busy schedules limits us to only a week)
2) Sailing a chartered Lagoon 44' Cat
3) Sailing out of Fort Lauderdale

What we are looking for in the trip are as follows:
1) Obviously we are looking for good snorkeling (Reefs)
2) island hopping
3) Beaches
4) taste of local flare
5) To see as much as possible in that short amount of time

Thanks again, I cant wait to see your responses and hear your stories from your adventures in the bahamas.
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Old 26-10-2013, 16:50   #2
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

don't get in a big hurry. maybe you can make bimini as a first stop and adventure out from there as time permits. the northern berry islands are possible in a cat with fine beaches and a few reefs.
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Old 26-10-2013, 17:15   #3
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

Charter a boat in Ft. Lauderdale and you might wait two weeks for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, so you might save your money. Or go charter a boat out of Hope Town, Abacos. Chuck
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Old 26-10-2013, 18:25   #4
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

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Charter a boat in Ft. Lauderdale and you might wait two weeks for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, so you might save your money. Or go charter a boat out of Hope Town, Abacos. Chuck
Our issue with that is getting to the Abaco's. Do you know of any ferry or some form of transportation from Freeport to Hope Town? We are trying to avoid Airplanes to keep cost down.
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Old 26-10-2013, 19:08   #5
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

Lots of cheap flights from Ft. Lauderdale to Hopetown, Marsh Harbor or Treasure Cay.
Chuck
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Old 26-10-2013, 19:34   #6
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

One week is not enough time to go round trip Ft Lauderdale to the Abacos, even if you don't run into weather problems.

First day there you will be getting all the group together, shopping loading provisions. Then 10 hours or so to get from Ft Lauderdale to Bimini. Then, if you arrive during business hours figure half a day to clear customs. Then if you want to make the Abacos you have about 100nm dead to windward to get there, and that just puts you at the edge of the Abacos and more miles to go to get to the main cruising grounds. Then you have to get home again.

I've tried it before. Even on a 10 day charter we determined that we would spend most of the trip under sail trying to get somewhere and very little time relaxing, diving and hanging out.

So, if your goal is to sail then go for the Abacos. If your goal is hang out, dive and relax, stay around Bimini and Cat Cay.
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Old 26-10-2013, 19:49   #7
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Not enough time... As others mentioned weather is your guidance. Sail and enjoy south Florida or fly to Abaco and charter there. Very poor sailing decisions are made by managing to a schedule, one activity that is schedule exempt.
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Old 26-10-2013, 20:43   #8
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

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Charter a boat in Ft. Lauderdale and you might wait two weeks for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream, so you might save your money. Or go charter a boat out of Hope Town, Abacos. Chuck
I would suggest you get one or more guides for starters. Most of what I am posting is conventional wisdom I got from guides.

The right weather window can make a big difference and it is not a lot of fun hanging around waiting. On the other hand crossing the Gulf Stream with a 20kn+ North wind and square waves can be much less fun.

The shortest crossing is Miami to Bimini, which can be nice if you get little wind and have to motor over. As a kid my Dad and I use to go to Cat Cay to check in but Bimini is probably cheaper. There are several places to anchor and dive around Bimini and if you have a bunch of peeps coming over some might rather take the fast boat from Miami and meet you there. Check out the guides for nice dive areas. From there you should be able to day sail to West Bay and anchor. This avoids the mess at Nassau, unless you want to go there and enjoy the tourist night life. From West bay it is also a day sail to Morgan's Bluff or Chub. From there the Berrys are close if you want to get away from it all or you can go up to Marsh Harbor for civilization. Problem is a week is a really short time.

My advice would be to charter out of Marsh Harbor if you really want to go to the islands. On the other hand you could go to Key West charter there and sail to the Marqueses/Boca Grande and not be under time pressure, not have to deal with Bahama customs, and Sea Tow covers this area.

YMMV
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Old 27-10-2013, 06:35   #9
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, ismith15.
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Old 27-10-2013, 06:59   #10
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3 weeks might be enough time we waited 2 days to cross to bimini waited 4 days to be able to leave bimini for the berrys thats your week right there, stuck in berrys a day longer for weather. Do you have to sail there and back in a week? Even if weather was perfect it would leave 1 day maybe 2 to do anything other than motor/ sail.
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Old 27-10-2013, 07:49   #11
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

With only a week to spend, my personal preference would be to forget the Bahamas, fly down to the BVI and charter out of Tortola. That takes the potential weather difficulties out of the equation. Very reliable weather, easy cruising there, and a lot to do, if you haven't tried it.

I sailed up to the Bahamas from St Thomas twice, both times in early May. Each time there were several cold fronts in the picture, so I think you're almost guaranteed that you'll have to wait for weather to cross the Stream at least one way, and maybe both ways.
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Old 27-10-2013, 07:49   #12
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

Do not even think about chartering from Fla. fly into Marsh Harbour and charter from the Moorings. They have boats large enough to accommodate your group and you will start out in a great cruising ground.
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Old 27-10-2013, 08:39   #13
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, ismith15.
Thanks, happy to be part of the community
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Old 27-10-2013, 09:58   #14
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

We used to do 7 day bareboat charters out of Lauderdale...

Day one gets you provisioned and to Miami
Day two gets you to Key Largo
Day three snorkel in Pennekamp
Day four go to Bimini (weather not good sail to Marathon)
Day five in Bimini
Day six evening return to Lauderdale

and if the weather turns bad on day five you are stuck in Bimini paying for an extra weeks charter for not returning the boat on time and a delivery crew to fly in to return the boat to Lauderdale.

That's 5 guys who can provision in an hour (cornflakes, milk, coffee, bread, beer, cheese, ham and apples) and can sail at night in any conditions. Not 12 people on a cat designed for 6-8.

Fly to the Abacos and you will have a great time. Or just stay in the Keys where it does not cost $300 to check in and beer is not 2x US prices.
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Old 27-10-2013, 11:44   #15
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Re: Planning a Bahamas Sailing Trip (Need Help)

Thank you everyone for your responses. A lot of you have mentioned that we fly to the abacos, do any of y'all have recommendations for a charter company that has Cats that can accommodate 10 people and cost between 5500 and 7000 a week?

Thanks,
Ian
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