News of The Abacos


Abaco Life
"The Life of the Islands"

Boating in The Abaco Islands
Chartering, Cruising and Boat Rentals

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Charter companies in Abaco have more than 35 yachts for bareboating - defined as a sail or motor boat that comes fully equipped, but which the charterers themselves operate. A few local captains are also available for hire, either for the whole charter or until you get competent and feel comfortable to handle the boat yourselves. The Moorings, located at the Conch Inn Marina in Marsh Harbour offers a wide range of power and sail yachts (monohulls and catamarans) ranging from 35 to 46-feet.

There are also a dozen boat rental businesses in Abaco (including Reef Rentals in Green Turtle) that have boats ranging from 19 to 26 feet available on a daily or weekly basis.

Bare Boat Charters, Boating and Cruising In The Abacos
By Jim Kerr Abaco Life Editor

Sunset came to our anchorage in Baker's Bay along the north end of Great Guana Cay in Abaco and we watched it with awe and silent appreciation.

We relaxed with drinks on the bridge of our power boat charter. This vessel was more like a luxury condo at sea. It had air conditioning, a salon with designer furniture, teak cabinets and deck, colour TV, a CD player and VHF radio. The galley featured a microwave and gas oven, range, refrigerator-freezer and a big stainless steel sink. The master stateroom featured a large center island bed and the "head" came with a sink, mirrors and plexiglass-door shower that would make any Hyatt proud. A second, smaller guestroom was there for company - in case friends dropped in for the night.

Even though it was capable of 18 knots, we kept the yacht at a leisurely seven along the lee coast of the outer Abaco cays on this four-day trip and I put my feet up as we cruised along past houses, sandy coves and little settlements. It was the kind of tranquil afternoon that sometimes lulls a boater into forgetting responsibilities.

I'm the first to admit, being in charge of a boat that costs in excess of $200,000 makes me a bit nervous. I know Abaco waters pretty well after 22 years of coming here, and I've bareboated many times, but this type of vacation does involve a certain amount of tension. I've always found, however, my apprehensions are assuaged by charter personnel and dock masters who remain unflapable when you call on the VHF with a little problem ... keeping in mind that sinking the boat on a reef is not a little problem.

Our second night out we anchored just outside the entrance to Hope Town harbour. The moonless night was filled with a zillion stars, a few meteors and an occasional satellite coursing across the black sky. We had taken the dinghy into town for dinner at a waterfront restaurant called Capn' Jack's, and back on board under that dark canopy, we found that ours was the only boat parked out here. After Baker's Bay - a popular anchorage - it might have been a bit lonely except for the comforting and reliably repetitious beam from the Elbow Cay Lighthouse that flashed its familiar message. Shortly after dawn, early- rising fishermen sped out of the harbour in whalers and sportfishing boats while we sipped our morning coffee on the flybridge.

Although it was just the two of us and we were glad of it, this is one of the most outstanding family vacations you could ever have - assuming you are qualified and comfortable handling both a boat and the kids at the same time. It's not your standard family car trip to Disney, of course. You need seamanship and boating expertise, but the look on your 12-year-old's face when he or she emerges from the sapphire green sea holding a starfish for the first time is a reaction few theme parks can elicit.

You can get the same result by just renting a 21-foot speedboat for the day and you need less experience. Abaco's waters are ideal for vacation boating whether you're in a small boat or the live-aboard variety. The boating areas are well protected, land is never out of sight and there are lots of land-based restaurants and shops when you want to come ashore. Wide-bodied catamarans have kids bouncing on the trampolin-like deck netting, and swim and snorkel platforms off the stern allow easy on and off for everyone from six-year-olds to grandparents. Beaches feature shallow water with plenty of sand castle-building material, and you can spend hours or days shelling, beachcombing, swimming and sunbathing.

Three companies in Abaco have more than 35 yachts for bareboating - defined as a sail or motor boat that comes fully equipped, but which the charterers themselves operate. A few local captains are also available for hire, either for the whole charter or until you get competent and feel comfortable to handle the boat yourselves. The Moorings, located at the Conch Inn Marina in Marsh Harbour has 21 monohulls and catamarans ranging from 35 to 46-feet. Abaco Bahamas Charters, the oldest and smallest bareboat company in Abaco, operates a fleet of monohull sailboats out of Hope Town. There are also a dozen boat rental businesses in Abaco that have boats ranging from 19 to 26 feet available on a daily or weekly basis.

Boating weather in Abaco is generally good all year, although it can turn nippy in January and February for a day or two. The rest of the year is ideal. The tradewinds are good for sailing and the water is warm and clear for snorkeling and diving. For more information on charters and boat rentals, as well as other Abaco features, go to "Subscription Information" on this web page for information and instructions on how to susbcribe and receive the current issue. For additional charter, cruising and boat rental information within Go-Abacos click here.

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Abaco Life has been published continuously since 1979

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