Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle

AHOY Mates! Check out my weekly radio talk show Yachts: The Perfect Escape Vehicle. We are "live" on the Overseas Radio Network every week at 3:00pm Eastern U.S. time and you can access live and archived shows on the network's website: The show is aimed at the 6,000,000 American expats and expat-wannabees who want a change of scene, to get away from the U.S. and see what else is out there. Yachts are the best way to accomplish this because:
1. You can find liveaboard yachts from $15,000 to $15,000,000 and everywhere in between, so there is something for everyone.
2. A liveaboard yacht serves as your home AND it provides cheap transportation worldwide. Yes, it's possible to sail around the world for free and a number of people have done it.
3. You can easily "try before you buy" and visit your countries of choice and see what it's like to live there (on a yacht)...
4. If you don't like something about your neighbor, the weather or whatever; just cast off your lines, set-sail and MOVE ON. It's as easy as "1-2-3!"
5. It's much easier to enter a country on a yacht than any other way. because you are considered part of the international seafaring community and rules are different. For example, you can stay in Europe for 6 months for a small fee if you enter on a yacht. In the Bahamas, you pay $300 and you can stay there a year. You are usually treated like V.I.P. Royalty when you arrive on a yacht (even if it's a small one) unlike entering with the masses at an airport and being herded around like cattle.
6. Because of recent technological innovations, it's now possible for anyone to easily and safely navigate around the world, to have all the comforts of home in your yacht and to communicate and have internet access almost anywhere in the world.

Each week I have guests who are "living the dream",  I interview them and they explain how they formulated their escape plans, paid for their yacht and how they are enjoying it. I aim to give as much value as possible and to give valuable tips it would normally take years to discover... I invite questions and call-ins (during "live" shows only).

Power Catamaran Makes Great Second Home

   I inspected this Horizon 58 Power Catamaran for a prospective buyer recently and was most-impressed. The fit and finish was superb and everything oozed "quality". The salon has a galley-up which also doubles as a cozy pub at night. The full-beam Master Suite is on the maindeck forward of the salon and has  panoramic windows which make it feel huge. The twin Cummins diesels easily propel her along in the 20 knot range and the catamaran hull makes the ride ever-so-smooth. The flybridge adds a large amount of extra "real estate" for partying or for a great view at sunset or whilst underway. The three stateroom layout is not the best for charter, so I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a great liveaboard or family-cruiser. The usable space rivals that of an 85' monohull and with a beam of 24.5' it can be easily docked in most marinas and operated by an owner/couple... For more info please contact me.

My Recommendations For a One Week Cruise To The Abacos

A friend asked me to advise him on where to go when he charters a catamaran for a week in the Abaco islands of the Bahamas. I've been there 40 or more times and love the place. I've sold yachts to 5 people who sailed around the world and almost all 5 said that the Abacos are among the best cruising grounds the world!
Here's what to see:

THE ABACOS ARE AWESOME because of the following:
- super clean gin-clear water
- sailing in a protected area
- white sandy beaches
- people who like outsiders (unlike some Caribbean islands) and who have a great attitude
- good food
- low crime
- good availability of Internet
- easy and quick access to the U.S. airport hubs
- an uncrowded, friendly, small-town feel

Here are the "don't miss" stops in Abaco:
- go to Hopetown and spend at least one night's the quaintest of Quaint.......have lunch at the Hopetown Harbor Lodge oceanfront pool bar...good snorkeling 50' off that beach, fresh water pool feels great and I'd walk south down their beach and check it out...also rent bikes and ride around the streets especially along the Queen's Highway south of Harbour Lodge to the cemetery which is oceanfront (you can also walk this route)....dinghy to the Hopetown Lighthouse with your camera, donate $5 to the Preservation Fund, climb to the top and take photos with the beautiful aerial views in the background. I also like to walk north of Harbour Lodge thru town to the other cemetery next to the Fire Station, over the cliff to the north beach and walk to North Point because it's a beautiful walk on a spectacular beach.... Vernon's Grocery has great pies/provisions and is near there...... Vernon is the Methodist minister in town and is a good him!
- White Sound in south Elbow Cay is worth a stop for lunch at Abaco Inn (you can anchor around there and dinghy in)'s perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean and it's one of the best places to surf in Abaco and the surfers will provide entertainment if you like watching that....
- then cruise south and maybe have lunch or dinner at Cracker P's which is on the nearby island of Lubber's Quarters...a short history of the extraordinary life of Cracker P:
Paul John Simmons, alias 'Cracker Pinder', hailed from Lexington, Georgia in the county of Oglethorpe.  'The Cracker'  was born in 1879. He was a veteran of the Spanish-American War. (We currently possess his bayonet). In 1915, an unfortunate incident occurred. The family duck was terrorizing the neighborhood, causing a fight between Cracker and Sheriff Hickory Cartwright. In the ensuing struggle, Cracker shot and killed the sheriff, becoming a wanted man. He made his way to Florida, where he caught a schooner to Wilson City,  Abaco.  He disembarked; knowing this would be his home.
Cracker  Pinder
    He immediately worked his way to Hope Town where he spent his first two years.  He then settled on Lubber's Quarters where he fished (though not very well) and farmed.  He planted many Sapodilla trees, which is a fruit we use in our BBQ sauce.  A cooking fire burned from the day he arrived until he left in 1954.
Cracker had a very limited wardrobe and therefore was the first naked person many locals had seen.  He would pole into town once a month for supplies.  People would bring him meat and fish in exchange for vegetables.  The Cracker led a reclusive life.  We only have a few pictures, some trinkets, and a sweet, sweet dilly tree to remember him by.  We can still see his concrete pier at low tide and the coconuts tower over the rest.  At Cracker P's his legend grows.....

- proceed south and notice the really cool castle to your left....the owner has a seaplane and flies it right into the hanger (out back) marked "Scare Air" sure to allow enough time for the following:
- stop at Sandy Cay National Park, tie up to a mooring, and snorkel or scuba. Fishing is not permitted here so there are huge amounts of fish....I think it's the best snorkel spot in the area and you could easily spend 2+ hours here. It's also a good lunch stop
- Go to Little Harbour.... see the cave where the Johnston's lived for two years...a little history/background: Professor Randolph Johnston was a long-haired art teacher who wore a beret at a New England college (in the 50's, mind you) ....he bought a schooner in 1951, had no idea how to sail, loaded his wife and 3 small kids, art stuff and furniture onto the schooner and miraculously made it to Little Harbour (with no navigation chart except an atlas). The schooner was sinking and they had to live in a cave for 2 years. He then set up an art studio and bronze casting facility where he created award-winning bronze statues and art pieces. They squatted on the land and under Bahamian law, if you do this on "Crown Land" for 7 years you can then apply for title...and they did...and the descendants are still there, financially well-off because they sold off some of the land and running an art gallery and Pete's Pub. Have lunch at Pete's (Randolph's son) and walk over to see the ocean...tour the gallery .... you may have to wait for high tide to get the boat into Little Harbour (or just anchor outside behind the point in protected water)
- head back north and cover the islands north of Hopetown ... Man O War Cay is a dry island (sadly, no beer/liquor sold there) and is worth touring the harbor, checking out Albury's Sail Shop for canvas bags/souvenirs witha a Bahamian/sailing flair. 
- Great Guana Cay is next...some people call it the "Redneck Island" and I'll let you figure out why... Dock in the main anchorage and have lunch or dinner at Orchid Bay Marina restaurant.... plan to definitely have lunch at Nippers Bar (a short walk to the ocean side) on a 50' cliff overlooking the widest, most-beautiful beach anywhere. Actually their Sunday Pig Roast is great and you may want to plan to be there then if you can....swim out front of Nippers...they have two pools and sometimes live music and it sometimes gets wild at night or on Sunday afternoons (maybe too wild for kids). 
- Baker's Bay development is at the northern end of Guana and their marina is magnificent. I'd try to take a ride through there and/or stop for a great lunch or dinner. They may charge you $50 to stop because you are a "non-member" but it really is well-done.
- do not stop at Treasure Cay, me it's overdeveloped and just like a crowded Florida vacation and you can get that sort of vacation in Pensacola or Panama City, FL ...Nothing special here and way over-hyped in the ads.
- Go to Green Turtle Cay and explore the town... it's almost as quaint as Hopetown...The New Plymouth Inn is a classic but it may not be open...I've dined their by candlelight and I felt like I stepped back 150 years to when Green Turtle was a Confederate blockade runner's base... I like to dine at the Green Turtle Club (elegant dinner) or Bluff House (for great sunset views). These two places are a short boat ride away from the main settlement and I think you can still anchor nearby...
- you probably won't have time for the following but if you have time: Spanish Cay has a friendly restaurant and you can rent a golf cart and tour this interesting island.......... Powell Cay has some awesome seashells....we found a huge number of different shells and there is usually nobody in sight for miles unless you are there on the weekend. I once saw a "Jubilee March of Conch" by the west shore of Powell: hundreds and hundreds of conch marching along together for some was awesome.....the other islands north of here are deserted and wonderful but you need time to cover this area

TIP: Invest in a copy of The Cruising Guide To Abaco (latest version) by Steve should preview it BEFORE your trip over some wine/cocktails and you'll get some good ideas.....Steve is a great guy and has spent many years and many hours trying to make his Guide the best (and it IS). It's full of aerial photos that give you a bird's eye view of all the great places ...I understand Steve flies there regularly and takes new shots.... I almost bought a lot south of Abaco Inn next door to Steve but he whispered to me that this area has washed out before (in hurricanes) and I should be careful. So, I never bought it and sure enough, it got totally washed out a year later in a hurricane. Thank you Steve!!!

Call me for a "politically-incorrect, but-interesting-to-know briefing" if you like....a brief background: The Abacos tried to secede from the Bahamas in the 1960's-70's when they were becoming an independent country. The Abaconians wanted to form their own libertarian-style country separate from the Bahamas (too socialist-leaning for the Abaconians) and when London told them "No!" they prepared to have an armed revolution to accomplish this. The Ragtag Abaco army wasn't very big and the Revolution never happened but you still see a libertarian, small-town attitude and I think this makes it a very special and wonderful place. Not to mention the extraordinary clear/clean-water, white sandy beaches, large number of fish and beautiful sea and landscapes.....