Group Sailing Bahamas
Fully crewed sailing charters…with a French touch
Your group will have the adventure of a lifetime sailing and exploring coral reefs in the dazzling Abaco islands of the Bahamas while living aboard and learning to participate in running a 51-ft. sailing yacht.
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A Sailing Adventure for College Groups, Scout BSA Groups and Youth Groups
Our Sailing Adventure in the Bahamas is a 6-day/5-night live-aboard learning adventure for student, Scout and youth groups. Your group will live aboard the sailboat as part of the crew alongside the captain and mate. Our Bahamas Sailing Adventure makes a perfect Spring Break trip for college students. We also cater to all types of Scout groups. We have participated in the BSA Bahamas Sea Base program for over 10 years. As members of the crew, your group will take part in sailing the boat, navigation, preparing meals and other activities needed to run the boat.
Itinerary and Activities
On day 1 your group will board the vessel, have your orientation and set off to find the first perfect anchorage (time and weather permitting) to test out the group’s swimming and snorkeling skills. After settling in and enjoying our first dinner at anchor, we will spend a peaceful night under the stars.
The remaining days are filled with sailing, snorkeling the reefs, swimming, kayaking, trolling for local fish, and visiting the various island settlements. The Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas and the brilliant-blue Sea of Abaco offer miles and miles of sailing and island exploring. The Great Abaco barrier reef lies just off the coast of the islands, some parts easily reached from the beach.
Each night, the boats anchor in a sheltered bay. Evening is the time to watch the sun set over the horizon, prepare fresh meals, share stories, play games and eventually drop off to sleep under the stars.
Most days include informational sessions to give participants the opportunity to learn about basic sailing, navigation and identification of the abundant sea life and to gain a renewed appreciation for reef and ocean ecology.
We have snorkeling equipment on board for everyone (you are also welcome to bring your own). You will be able to swim and snorkel right from the boat or from the different beaches we will visit. The Abacos are known for their coral reefs and you will spot interesting sea life whenever you are in the water. Fishing equipment is also on board so you can try your luck at trolling as we sail or fishing from the deck when we are anchored.
Nights are spent on board anchored in a calm harbor sheltered from the prevailing winds. We return to Marsh Harbour for the final night in preparation for the departures the next morning.
Life on Board
Living on board a sailboat is a little bit like camping with a bed that gently rocks minus the campfire cooking. The boat is equipped with a full galley stocked with all of the necessities for whipping up tasty meals. We provision the boat before your arrival with lots of fresh ingredients for all of our on-board meals during the week. The menu is varied and adaptable to special needs and requests. Your group will plan and prepare meals with assistance from the captain. You will also be sharing clean up duties as needed. Need a break from cooking? There are also opportunities to taste the local fare at the numerous and varied on-shore cafes and restaurants.
The boat has a few bunks down below, but most participants enjoy sleeping up on deck. The Abacos are far from brightly lit cities making it possible to view star constellations that you may not have seen before. It’s fun to watch for shooting stars and passing satellites before dropping off to sleep.
We spend much of the day in the water so you will not miss having a daily shower. You can rinse off the salty sea water with buckets on deck. Hot showers may be available during an island visit. The boat is equipped with flush toilets and indoor plumbing, although we emphasize water conservation on board.
Abaco Sights and Favorite Activities
Apart from sailing and exploring, the number one activity in the Abacos is snorkeling.
Explore the Coral Reefs and Marine Life of the Abaco Marine Parks
Dive on a Wreck
The Sea of Abaco hides lots of sunken boats, barges and even cars, trucks and building equipment. Fish and other sea creatures love to find homes around any sunken structure and snorkeling around one of these is sure to pay off in spotting some unusual fish, a ray or even a moray eel.
Kayak, Paddleboard or Just Jump In!
We carry a kayak and stand-up paddleboard for you to try out at any of our anchor spots. We will set up swim ladders so everyone can have fun jumping in while waiting your turn. Jumping off a boat into crystal clear water is one of the unforgettable moments of the sailing trip.
Paddling the Mangrove Wetlands
The Abacos are dotted with mangrove swamps which serve as nurseries for turtles, sharks and all kinds of fish. Mangroves are salt tolerant trees that grow in shallow salt water wetlands. The roots of the mangrove tree look more like tree branches as they arch up out of the water.
Climb the Elbow Reef Lighthouse at Hope Town
No visit to Hope Town on Elbow Cay is complete without climbing to the top of its famous candy-striped lighthouse, built in 1863. Today, the Elbow Reef light has the distinction of being the last manually operated kerosene fueled lighthouse in the world.
Visit Hope Town
Hope Town is a charming settlement situated on Elbow Cay surrounding a harbor chock full of moored boats. A short walk through the settlement leads to the coral pink sandy beaches with an impressive coral reef just off shore. Bicycle rentals are available for those who want to see more of Elbow Cay with its astounding views over the bluffs and out to the Atlantic Ocean and top-notch eating places.
Explore Traditional Ship-Building Community at Man-O-War Cay
One of our favorite stops for tranquility, quirkiness and beautiful snorkeling, Man-O-War Cay is sure to please. Whether you are craving a seaside walk past charming homes, shops selling local handicrafts, some ice cream or a snack of the local favorite conch fritters, you will find it on this island. Here you can pick up a conch shell horn, or sturdy yet beautiful canvas bags from the women who sew at the Albury Sail Shop.
Getting to Marsh Harbour
The trip begins in Marsh Harbour in the Abaco islands of the Bahamas. Direct flights to the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport (MHH) in Marsh Harbour are available from several commercial airlines departing from Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, West Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Nassau. Please note that some Florida departures are in the morning, which would mean an overnight stay in Florida if you are connecting from another city. You can always contact us if you need help planning your travel.
Taxis await all arriving flights at the airport and will take you to the Conch Inn Marina in Marsh Harbour, unless we make other arrangements with you prior to arrival.
A valid passport for each traveler is required by the Bahamian Government for entry into the Bahamas, and a valid passport is required by the U.S. Government for travel from the Bahamas to the United States.
Weather in the Abacos
Follow this link for a chart showing average air and water temperatures in the Abacos by month.
Communications and Electronics
Cell phone and data service is available throughout the islands so there will always be the ability to communicate when necessary (check your service provider about roaming or other charges while in the Bahamas). In addition, you can find WIFI hotspots on and near some of the islands. We promote an “unplugged” policy during the group trip so you can get the most out of a blissful week in the islands. Note also that there is limited ability to charge devices on the boat.
Budget and Money
The Bahamian dollar is equivalent to the US dollar and both currencies are accepted interchangeably. But don’t go home with the Bahamian dollars because you won’t be able to change them once you are back in the USA. Most individuals spend $150 – 200 for personal expenses during the week such as food while traveling, taxi fare to and from the marina, souvenirs and emergencies – and your group may want to eat a meal or two out while visiting the local settlements.
Safety and Medical Considerations
You will need to let us know if you have any medical condition requiring medication and be sure that you bring an adequate supply. It will be difficult or impossible to obtain many medications once in the Abacos and on board the boat.
We emphasize safety precautions and try to minimize risk of injury on or off the boat. Most participants do not experience any injuries because they exercise appropriate safety precautions and we have not had any major injuries among our participants. Youth participants, their parents and adult leaders should be aware, however, that any sailing/boating/sea-based adventure can involve accidents, illness or injury. Possibilities include sunburn, heat exhaustion, dehydration, asthma and even heart attacks. Sea creatures such as rays, sea urchins, anemones, coral, barracuda and sharks pose little or no threat if safe distances and respect are given them. We emphasize a no-touch/no-take policy with regard to the coral and creatures of the reef.
Please note that while there are medical clinics and personnel in the Abaco islands for treatment of minor problems and injuries, in the case of a major medical emergency, you would likely need to be transported by air back to the United States or to Nassau for treatment. We highly recommend travel insurance that includes emergency medical transport.
A parent or legal guardian for youth participants will need to authorize us to arrange for any medical treatment in the event it becomes necessary. They will be asked to sign a release from liability as well as an agreement to cover any medical expenses that may be incurred.
The Sea of Abaco is protected from the ocean swells by a chain of islands and the barrier coral reef. Sea sickness is rare here because of the flat seas. We don’t recommend taking sea sickness medication or arriving with a sea sickness patch unless you are extremely prone to sea sickness. The medications and patches have side effects including drowsiness and it is shame to miss out on activities that you would otherwise enjoy. You may want to pack Bonine or other medications “just in case.”
What to Bring
Once you have booked your charter, we will send a useful packing list and additional details about your Bahamas Sailing Adventure.
No Drug Use, Smoking or Intoxication
You will not be permitted to use tobacco products, alcohol (under 18) or illegal drugs on board the boat. The legal drinking age in the Bahamas is 18. There are many places on the islands serving beer and alcohol, but you will not be permitted on board intoxicated. We will be obligated to take you off the boat if you do not abide these rules. You will be responsible to find and pay for an earlier flight home or pay for a hotel until your flight date.
We offer a 6-day/5-night group trip for up to 8 participants. We do not accept reservations for individuals. For groups of 12 to 16, inquire about availability of a two-boat trip.
To reserve a trip for your group, call us, email us or use the reservation inquiry form and include the following information regarding the organizer:
- Organization (if applicable)
- Email address
- Number of participants
- Preferred dates
We will reply with confirmation of available dates and provide you with application forms and additional information about booking your trip.
Requirements for Participation
- Participants must be at least 18 years old OR have 1-2 responsible adults for groups with participants 14–17 years old.
- This is a physically demanding program and you must be in good physical condition and health.
- You will need to have good swimming skills and comfort swimming in an ocean (saltwater) environment.
- You will need to be able to get on and off the boat from the water using a fairly narrow swim ladder and be able to get in and out of the inflatable dinghy from the boat and possibly from the water. This means you should not be excessively overweight. For your safety, we cannot accept participants who weigh 275 pounds or more.
The rate of $7960 is based on a group of up to 8 participants.
- Captain, mate
- All on-board meals
- Fuel, dinghy trips ashore
- Use of snorkeling and fishing equipment, kayak and paddle board
Not Included in the Rate
- Airfare to and from Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas
- Airport transfers and other land transportation
Personal expenses such as souvenirs, snacks or meals on shore (typical meals on shore will run $15 to $25 per person).
If you are reserving your trip more than 60 days prior to departure, you will need to pay a non-refundable 50% deposit and sign a charter agreement. The remaining payment will be due 60 days before the beginning date for your trip. If reserving your trip less than 60 days prior to departure, you will need to pay in full for the group trip. Payment details will be provided with the charter agreement. We will also provide you with enrollment forms for each participant.
The deposit is non-refundable. All payments made less than 60 days prior to departure are also non-refundable. If an individual member of the group needs to cancel, their payment(s) may be transferred to another eligible participant. If the whole group needs to cancel the trip, a refund (minus $250 fee) may be available if we are able to book the same dates with another group.
VALID PASSPORTS ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL MEMBERS OF YOUR GROUP
We will send you all of the necessary forms for your group once your dates are confirmed. Each participant will need to complete an enrollment form, sign a release from liability and an agreement to cover any medical expenses that may be incurred.
No visas are required for U.S. citizens visiting the Bahamas.