Offshore Cruising Club Bahamas Flotilla Cruise Adventure
The Perfect Winter Flotilla Cruise Getaway
November 26-December 3, 2016 – Just One Cabin Left!
If you’ve been thinking about getting away when the snow starts to fall, sign up now to sail on our Offshore Cruising Club’s Bahamas Flotilla Cruise Adventure in the Abacos. With easy sailing on short passages between picturesque well-protected anchorages, this sailing vacation is just what you need, as winter weather closes in.
Fabulous Sailing on Crystal Clear Waters
The Abacos are located in the Bahamas, east of Florida and north of Cuba. Gentle trade winds and easy line-of-sight navigation make sailing in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Sea of Abaco a dream. These islands are renowned for miles of sandy beaches, quaint villages, and wonderful snorkeling.
Nate and Heather Atwater are long time cruising and racing sailors who have joined the Offshore Team as Cruise Organizers and Leaders. They are fun, highly capable racing and cruising sailors, who are dedicated to making your flotilla cruise experience absolutely the best ever. Nate was born in Rhode Island and spent most of his first decade living in Europe. His first sail was on the English Channel at age 3 and “I have never looked back,” says Nate. His father, a graduate of Exeter University and his mother (a Dutch citizen) moved the family back to Rhode Island when he was 13 and Nate has spent most of his non-school time on the water – fishing, cruising or racing.
After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 1986, Nate was a winemaker for a year, then a marine rope manufacturer, and finally joined Offshore Sailing School in Florida and City Island, NY as its Branch Manager. There he met Heather, and they married in December 1991. Nate often took Offshore’s sails to Hild for repairs, a task he soon came to “love.” Heather is adding gentle yoga sessions to our flotilla cruises, for anyone who wants to participate.
The couple has raced and cruised a series of boats together ever since. They have two sons in college that sailed with them on their J24, Beneteau First 30E, Tartan 37, and now a Pearson 40. Heather and Nate have sailed extensively on the U.S. east coast and the Caribbean – racing, cruising and delivering yachts. After a career of over 25 years in telecommunications, Nate has decided to come back to his sailing roots. Their plan someday is to move aboard their boat and cruise extensively while sharing their experiences with others, like those who join our Flotilla cruises!
Our Fleet of Sunsail 444 Catamarans Await
Four 44’ catamarans make up our fleet – great boats for cruising the shallow waters of this region. Each has four cabins with en suite bathrooms, a huge main salon and galley, nav station, outside seating forward of the main salon and large outdoor deck aft. In the forepeak of each hull is an extra “crew” cabin which we likely will use just for storage. On our cruise we will assign couples and singles to the four main cabins.
This Cruise Has Just One Cabin Left
- Double shared cabin – $2990 per person
- Single private cabin – $3490
Reserve Your Cabin Today!
Call 888-415-7015 or 239-454-1700
Your cruise leader, an Offshore Sailing School Cruising Instructor, will adjust the itinerary as needed for weather changes. He or she meets with each boat every morning to go over the route to your next destination, discuss navigation, shore excursions and party plans. The itinerary below is based on past experiences in these islands. If you would like to do some advance reading, Abaco anchorages, marinas, harbours and settlements are featured in Abaco Ports of Call. The book is available in print or as a cruising guide Ebook which can be viewed from mobile devices or your home computer.
Saturday, November 26 – Sunsail Base, Marsh Harbour
The minute you step off the plane you can feel the relaxed Bahamian lifestyle. The Marsh Harbour airport, a short hop from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, is a 5 minute taxi ride to the Sunsail base. Boarding time is 6 p.m., so if you arrive early in the day head to the swimming pool and chill out. Your Offshore cruise leader will check that everyone is comfortable aboard before the orientation “meet and greet” gathering at Curly Tails.
Sunday, November 27 – To Man-O-War Cay (4 nm)
After stowing provisions, boat and navigation check-out, the fleet heads to this quiet island community with a population of about 200 residents. Colorful shops where artisans paint island scenes and women create canvas bags are fun to explore, but the real highlight is watching islanders build beautiful Out Island Regatta fishing boats – a century old craft. There are several restaurants serving island fare. Plan on “sun downers” aboard since Man-O-War Cay is dry. The two anchorages inside Man-O-War Cay Harbour are nearly landlocked and make for a soothing good night’s sleep.
Monday, November 28 – To Great Guana Cay (8 nm)
An early start for a day of sailing and snorkeling takes you first to Fowl Cay Marine Park, about 3 nautical miles from the northern tip of Man-O-War Cay. Then the fleet heads to Great Guana Cay, a long narrow islet, best known for its 5 mile beach on the Atlantic side of the island. The town has houses built by American colonists who fled the U.S. during the American Revolution, remaining loyal to the British throne. Snorkeling reveals one of the longest and best preserved elkhorn and staghorn coral reefs in the West Indies. Exotic birds populate the island’s interior, and loggerhead, green and hawksbill turtles lay their eggs along the beaches. Before sunset pick up moorings in Fishers Bay, a tree-lined cove at the northern end of Great Guana Cay with a sweeping vista of the Sea of Abaco. Expect a spectacular sunset aboard or ashore at the local hangout called Nipper’s.
Tuesday, November 29 – To Green Turtle Cay (12 nm)
This passage takes you briefly into the Atlantic past Whale Cay, then back inside to the anchorage at Green Turtle Cay. The charming historical village of New Plymouth is a must-see. There are several marinas offering warm Bahamian atmosphere and excellent seafood to visiting sailors. The Jolly Roger Bar and Grill at the Bluff House Marina on White Sound has its own pool and nice facilities. The Green Turtle Marina offers live music at a nightly happy hour.
Wednesday, November 30 – to Treasure Cay (24 nm)
This is your big day of sailing, first about 5 nm to Manjack Cay (pronounced “Munjack” or “Numjack” by locals) to swim, snorkel, explore the beaches and nature walks. Then the fleet sails south for Treasure Cay, known for its resort and world-famous three-mile white-sand beach.
Thursday, December 1 – to Elbow Cay via Lubbers Cay (18 nm)
Today is a straight sail to the south end of Elbow Cay, past Lubbers Quarters Cay, a 300-acre private island dotted with a few homes and cottages. A channel runs between Lubbers and Elbow Cays, where you’ll find magnificent Tahiti Beach (great lunch stop) and its resident giant starfish clearly visible from the deck of your boat. Then sail a short distance to White Sound to dock for the night at one of the marinas. The famous Abaco Inn offers informal gourmet dining and the beach on the Atlantic side is minutes away by foot.
Friday, December 2 – to Hope Town (4 nm)
A short 4 mile hop takes you into the anchorage at Hope Town at the north end of Elbow Cay. The century-old Elbow Reef Lighthouse with its distinct red and white stripes, rises above the low shore. Hope Town Harbour has full-service marinas, moorings and numerous attractions, including many excellent restaurants. This is a great place for a last night flotilla celebration. Walk through the narrow sidewalks and you’ll find a museum, art galleries, boutiques, a bakery, a dive shop, and no cars, because this island allows pedestrian traffic only. The island is surrounded by a magnificent barrier reef, with beautiful beaches and fabulous snorkeling, plus all kinds of water sports if you want to rent some gear. Gaps in the reef near White Sound allow for terrific surfing.
Saturday, December 3 – Back to Marsh Harbour (7 nm)
You won’t believe how fast the week has flown by as you enjoy your last breakfast aboard, before returning to the Sunsail docks at Marsh Harbour. Take lots of photos, post them to our Facebook page and make your friends long for a trip you’ll never forget.
Your Bahamas Flotilla Cruise Package includes:
- Your single private cabin or a shared cabin for you and your mate
- All breakfasts, lunches, snacks and three dinners aboard
- Cruising tax
- Ice, water and fuel provided before setting sail
- Damage waiver
- Signature cruise shirt and hat
- Welcome meet and greet party first night (hors d’oeuvres provided, cash bar)
- Comprehensive confirmation guide electronically sent well in advance of trip
Not included in your package:
- Travel to and from Marsh Harbour and Sunsail base
- Beverages ordered for your boat
- Any meals, beverages or provisions bought during the cruise
- Mooring balls and docking fees
On our Flotilla Cruises, we recommend each boat set up a kitty to cover shared costs during the cruise. A $300 refundable security deposit is also required.
- Full payment and a $300 security deposit per person private single or double shared cabin are due with reservation
- We strongly recommend Trip Insurance as no refunds are allowed at this time
- This is a special sailing flotilla. Transfers to a sailing course are not permitted
Join Offshore Grads on This Special Bahamas Flotilla Adventure
It’s easy to get to The Abacos, fun to cruise here, and hard to leave.
Image of Hopetown on Elbow Cay in the Abacos, from Florida Cruising Guides. All other photos courtesy of Sunsail and Offshore Sailing School.
Reserve Your Cabin Today!
Call 888-415-7015 or 239-454-1700