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Old 27-12-2023, 12:43   #1
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Location: Yorkville, IL
Boat: Thomas Tugboat (self built) 20 ft
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Nassau / Exumas / Dream Yacht trip report

Exumas / Dream Yacht Charter review – NASSAU

We were on a week-long charter with DYC out of Palm Cay Marina - Nov. 18-25, and I am happy to report that the entire trip was an A+!

There have been so many negative reviews regarding this base that I think they need some credit where credit is due. Ramon, the new base manager, and his entire team did a great job at taking care of us and the FP Astrea 42 we were on.

Upon arrival: we were greeted by an office staff that was helpful and accommodating. We were actually picked up by their on-base taxi service from our AirBnB. Alexis (sp?) was a great “tour host” on the short drive to the base making sure we all had our morning fix of Starbucks. He was one cool dude, being a member of the Bahamian Marines.

Upon check-in: the cat was bright, shiny and ready for us early. Eden Blue is a popular cat in their program and having a 4-hour turn-around between charters speaks volumes about their dock crew. We had paid the $165 early check-out so that we could leave at the break of dawn for the first 38 mile leg to get to Highbourne Cay. Was it worth it? Yes and No.

“No” – be aware that there is a security cable that closes off the marina entrance from any late or early activity. I think it opens between 7-8 AM. That really didn’t matter though as our crew of 10 was not exactly ready that early anyways. TIP: take a headcount prior to shoving off from the fuel dock. I took off not realizing the entire group was not present! A bit of an embarrassment but we were not even out of the channel when someone asked “Hey. Where’s Andrew, Kao and Carson?!” So… Turn around and pick up the missing crew. We can all laugh about that now (Right, Crew??)

Yes – the early fee was worth it – the extra time we saved not having to go through a vessel and itinerary review the day of departure saved us valuable sail time.

The briefing was handled by Joel – a very thorough and knowledgeable resource. He was not rushed, he was clear and concise and much appreciated. We only charter once a year (or so) so this process is very critical to the success of our charter. He explained the systems, I took notes this time, and then I ran through the process just explained to me. No hiccups. All systems were functioning properly (A/C, water maker, fridges, freezer, heads, etc.)

The itinerary: as is typical with American vacationers, we tried to cram too much stuff into a 1 week charter. We ended up skipping some "must sees" and being occasionally rushed. Our order of stops is as follows: 1) SW Allens Cay – a little horseshoe-shaped island just across from the main Allens Cay. There were iguanas here but no other boats. Stay far enough out as it is shallow in close to the beach. 2) Normans Cay for a day stop at Pablo’s airplane wreck and a great meal at McDuff’s. The following day to 3) Shroud Cay for the night – we did the Sanctuary Creek run the next morning. It was a very cool experience. I was very surprised with the size of several boats making this run. The tides are strong here. Pay attention. 4) All the way down to Staniel Cay, 5) back to Highbourne Cay for Thanksgiving dinner, 6) crossing the Yellow Bank to return to Nassau / Palm Cay Marina. (My log notes are thin, so much detail may be missing here.) Yes, we missed Warderick Cay. Yes, we saw the swimming pigs (a 5 minute experience just to say we did it.) Thunderball Grotto was very cool.

On our return leg to Nassau we stopped in the middle of the Yellow Bank, dropped anchor and went for a swim. Totally cool! 12 foot of depth, crystal clear waters, play time in the water.

In summary: DYC provided us an exceptional opportunity with a well found cat. The management of the facilities was on top of their game. If anyone has doubts about this destination, rest assured, they will take care of you.

We have chartered with several other major charter companies (Voyage, Cat Co., etc) and none of them did as good of a job as DYC. Our last charter in Antigua through DYC was similar. A+, and I am a very discerning client. As a Quality Control Manager for a major US pump manufacturer, I can distinguish between companies who SAY they are great and companies who PROVE they are great. DYC proved who they are, I hope this trend spreads to other DYC bases.

The last point I want to highlight to potential charterers is this: “It's the crew and how they handle adversity” is what will make or break a successful charter – things break, toilets clog, and weather taunts you. Being able to roll with the punches and maintain a good attitude during the “sporty times” makes for great stories later. If you can’t handle adversity perhaps you should not be sailing. Go to an all-inclusive resort. Conversely, of course, the charter company and how they respond to issues also contributes to the overall success of your sailing adventures. I found that DYC delivers on this.
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Old 27-12-2023, 12:53   #2
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Re: Nassau / Exumas / Dream Yacht trip report

That's a great writeup, but what did DYC do that got them the raves? The quick turnaround and the boat briefing?

Did things break on the boat? What adversity did your crew face and overcome?
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Old 27-12-2023, 13:24   #3
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Re: Nassau / Exumas / Dream Yacht trip report

Positives include, but are not limited to: timely responsiveness - we asked for extra bedding. Done, 10 minutes. we asked for (and this is kinda a big one for us) a dinghy with a front step for my old knees to handle better. Done, 15 minutes. It was the little stuff and attention to detail that can be missing when you have to get boats turned around on schedule. And, as importantly, there were no BIG issues that we have seen elsewhere in the past - broken water maker, non-functioning generator - items that other reviews listed. Their maintenance program must have gotten overhauled. Adversities faced - an outboard that died in the middle of the Sanctuary Creek run. Even though it was a new motor, something got into the carb. I was able to troubleshoot it with phone support from base (before this trip I woulda asked "What's a carbureator?") Tides played with us, the weather was quite "sporty" but for only one day. Realize, you're talking to a once-per-year guy who could not do this without proper support. But that's how you learn, right? Nothing broke on the cat.
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Old 27-12-2023, 13:41   #4
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Re: Nassau / Exumas / Dream Yacht trip report

I've done DYC several times from Palm Cay, to include a 3-week trip. It has always gone great. The service and communication has been excellent, they seem to take good care of the boats, and they are responsive to needs at the last minute (extra provisioning runs, unusual gear requests, extra items, etc.) They were a bit better when they were Navtours, but overall my experience has been good before and after the DYC purchase. I've actually had good success with DYC at other locations also (La Paz, Naples, etc.)
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