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Old 17-08-2010, 09:27   #1
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Advice Needed - Nassau ? Abacos ? BVI ? - Bareboat Charter

Hello, I need advice....

Given that we are novice sailors (Basic Learn to Cruise - one week liveaboard) and live in the western hemisphere, we are looking to bareboat in either the Bahamas or BVI in February 2011 for one week. These areas are advertised as Level I cruising ground with the big two charter companies. Croatia is way too far away for one week.

It is just my husband and I so we are looking at a small boat. We've got quotes for Sunsail and Moorings in both BVI and Bahamas. Issues with Abacos in the Bahamas is the entire day it takes to get there from Ottawa.... not to mention the four planes. Same with BVI for that matter if we go to Beef Island.

Moorings in Abacos was actually the best value overall (35' Beneteau).

As an alternative I did a search for bareboats out of Nassau. Not huge luck. But we did find a company, based out of Quebec, called Navtours. We can charter a 1999 35' Beneteau for a bit less than the Moorings quote. This would cut out a big chunk of travel time and one flight so it appeals to me. Even though it is not better value for money.

Though... I am worried about the nickle and diming that may occur. Fuel, water, insurance and maybe even toilet paper! are not included. As it was in the Moorings quote.

Also I just read a comment on a forum that the Exumas do not have many bareboat charters because the cruising ground is not for novices... Not sure if this is true. But Navtours said we were good to go on that size boat.

We did our learn to cruise in BVI last February. Would for sure go back! Just that crazy long flight(s) again.

So I prefer to shorten the travel day and Nassua fits the bill.... Am I way off? Should I stick to Abacos or BVI?
Does any one have comments or advice on the above information?
Experience with that Navtours company?
Small charter companies you would recommend?
Anything you would stay away from?
A better suggestion of what to do with our money?
Comments on where to provision, experience to share, tales to tell?

I should probably go hang out at the marina and have some libations.

Thanks ahead for your help and insight!
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Old 17-08-2010, 09:52   #2
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I have seen the Navtours boats in the Exumas. They usually go down the Exumas to Norman's Cay and then back to Nassau. Their clients are usually from Quebec. The Exumas are not a place for novice sailors. I go there every year yet, on occasion, I have been stuck in Nassau four or five days waiting for weather to get down to the Exumas. I would not choose this area for a first time charter.

The Abacos is a lot easier. Most of the sailing is in the "hub" area, Marsh Harbour, Hopetown, Treasure Cay. This is sheltered water, all inside the barrier cays and easy sailing. If the weather permits getting around Whale Cay cut you can go up to Green Turtle. The only thing wrong is that if you're going for a week it might coincide with a front or two coming through and it might be cool and windy. Not the weather someone from Ottawa would want on vacation.

Your best bet is the BVI. Sunny, 85 degrees. I know it's a long trip but that's air travel for you. We always ended up getting up at 4 a.m. and getting into Beef Island after 5 p.m. and this is from Toronto. you've got another leg from Ottawa. But BVI is your best bet, next Abaco and lastly Nassau and the Exumas. Now as far as sailing and nice waters go you can't beat the Exumas but a week chartering out of Nassau is not the way to go. Here's a shot taken from the Normans Cay anchorage.

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Old 17-08-2010, 10:00   #3
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Northern Bahamas can get cold in the winter as cold fronts blow through. I've been in Marsh Harbor when it was in the low 50's and blowing 30. That time of year you are better off in the BVI where you are guaranteed good weather. Water tempatures should be warmer as well.
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Old 18-08-2010, 17:09   #4
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Thanks for the responses.
Vasco, what kind of weather did you have to wait out in Nassau? Was it waiting out storm weather?
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Old 18-08-2010, 19:07   #5
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Not Vasco but for what itís worth,

Ya you can save a couple bucks going to the northern Bahamas BUT.
In December thru February the cold usually exit the Carolinas every 3 to 5 days. And 50 deg. 30 knot winds is a far cry from 80+ deg. whatever wind. Give me my choice and the BVIíS win hands down at that time of the year.
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Old 18-08-2010, 19:50   #6
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Vasco,

What were you doing on my island?
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Old 19-08-2010, 06:27   #7
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hehe, that lone palm gets a lot of attention......i2f
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Old 19-08-2010, 06:37   #8
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I thought I had it all to my self...lol...that's the Island in my avatar. Couldn't figure out how to put that picture in the message.



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Old 19-08-2010, 07:01   #9
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Amazing when you read the directions...
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Old 19-08-2010, 07:05   #10
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Originally Posted by NotJustDreaming View Post
Thanks for the responses.
Vasco, what kind of weather did you have to wait out in Nassau? Was it waiting out storm weather?
Sometimes it's fronts (last season we sometimes had two fronts in the same week). Sometimes it's strong headwinds, the Yellow Bank can kick up pretty good when heading south out of Nassau. Better to sit in Nassau when it's blowing 25 knots from the southeast. If you charter out of Nassau and get poor weather you'll just have to stick right around Nassau, maybe go out to Rose Island, you can anchor on the ocean side if it's blowing from the southeast. Very limited sailing though.
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Old 19-08-2010, 07:14   #11
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Vasco,

What were you doing on my island?

Sorry, it's my island! Discovered it in 1990. That's when the only folks on Normans was a detachment of cops from Nassau. The homeowners had not returned yet after being shooed away by Carlos Leder. The clubhouse was nearly fully intact with tons of documents in file cabinets. Made for interesting reading. The large Sony projection tv was a bit shot up though. We use to get water from the cistern there. The cistern water is still good today but with the availability of ro water and watermakers few use it now.

Here's a pic of one of the Navtours charter boats aground in the middle of the Normans anchorage.

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Old 19-08-2010, 07:22   #12
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And the clubhouse 20 years later.....
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Old 19-08-2010, 07:49   #13
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Hey Bob,

You're anchored in my buddy's (Watermusic, Morgan 384) spot!

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Old 19-08-2010, 08:00   #14
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For those of us without a watermaker the cistern was HEAVEN!!! Laundry, showers, shaving. Repeat.

NotJustDreaming, not to hijack a good thread, the previous posts about the weather/sailing options given already seem to be spot on.
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Old 19-08-2010, 11:31   #15
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Have you looked into flying into St. Thomas and taking a ferry?

Personally, I'd take 6 planes and fly for two days for a week of sailing in the BVI Although I'd much rather spend the flight time on the boat.
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