Top 10 Winter Yacht Destinations: Abaco, Bahamas

By Tristan Rutherford

I must confess a personal interest in Abaco. My family moved to this outer Bahamian island in 1980, escaping the Oil Shocks, recession and a wicked English winter. To claim that every night was a party is a gross understatement. Most residents on our street worked at the local Bacardi sugar cane plantation, and received part of their wages in rum.

Hard liqueur has a pivotal place in the history of The Bahamas. Distillery bosses grew rich during US Prohibition as they sat on an unlimited supply of rum just 50 miles from the Florida Keys. Bacardi Family assets were funneled into the islands during Castro’s Cuban Revolution back in 1959. American tourists traded Havana’s casino tables with new ones in Nassau.

But on islands like Abaco – an overnight sail from Nassau – little changed. Three decades ago my father speared grouper and scooped up crayfish from over the side of his wooden Finn.

Sailing through this winter? Don’t worry, it’s still the same. Abaco’s endless coastline remains a pristine wave of ice-white beaches and paradise islands, shared by only 15,000 lucky locals.

The most popular port of call is Treasure Cay. National Geographic voted its Beach one of the 10 best in the world. This sandy curve is backed by a sub-tropical golf course and a one-room international airport. What more could you need?

South of Treasure Cay, Eden becomes untamed. Green turtles ply the turquoise shallows. Cuban Amazon parrots squawk from the trees. Civilization means a hammock. Lunch means conch fritters and lobster tails.

But Abaco’s real gift to yachtsmen are its ‘cays’. Nearly 100 palm-fringed islets surround the main island at an average distance of two to three miles. A sandy-bottomed stretch of shallow water lies in between. If Bacardi were shooting a commercial for cocktails in paradise, this is where they’d choose.

And my story? It’s bittersweet. In 1983 my father was offered employment in Birmingham, England, so our family traded the Bahamas for baltis. By coincidence we’ve just booked our late winter trip to Abaco from Heathrow via Nassau. I’ll see you there.

Sealyon is one example of the superyachts available in The Bahamas this winter. For more information on chartering this or any other yacht here, or anywhere in the world, contact the Y.CO charter team: [email protected]

For more inspiration, visit the Y.CO website to discover a range of luxury yacht charter experiences.

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By Tristan Rutherford