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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

EXPANDING YOUR BAREBOAT HORIZONS
by Gordon
April 2005

It is rare that a day goes by without someone asking, where is the new hot place to charter? Admittedly we are biased towards the Caribbean, and for most people it takes years to really explore everything this area offers. There does come a time however, when you really want to try something different. To that end we offer some old favorites and some exciting new options.

On the old favorites roster the Bahamas are often forgotten. More of a spring or fall destination, the dead of winter can bring cool evenings and changeable weather patterns, much like Florida. The sailing is a bit trickier with shallow waters being the norm. It is certainly not a crowded area, a common observation made about the BVI.

While we are on the subject of the BVI, although generally not as popular, the US and Spanish Virgins do open up additional possibilities for those who want the convenience of a somewhat familiar stomping ground, with the advantage of additional new sights thrown in.

The two other areas of the Caribbean that many have yet to explore are the Grenadines and Belize. Both offer much less crowded surroundings, good boat selections and charter companies with good reputations and performance.

Two new pieces of news are that Footloose has announced that they have expanded to the South Pacific. In New Zealand they will offer both the Hauraki Gulf, near Auckland or the Bay of Islands, about 120 miles to the North. One ways between the two are an option although each offers enough variety to fill a week. The Gulf option gives access to the Great Barrier Reef, a destination that is world renowned.

The other new Footloose base will be Tonga, from the beautiful island of Vava'u. From here you can explore numerous anchorages each within a days sail. Conditions are similar to the Caribbean, winds 15 to 25 and temps averaging in the mid seventies. All three of these new bases will offer catamarans from 36 to 41 feet, mono hulls from 30 to 46 feet.

The other news, literally hot off the press, is that The Moorings announced yesterday, that they have added Midnight Sun Sailing as their second Preferred Partner. Moorings "Preferred Partners" are established charter companies currently operating successfully in areas not already part of the Moorings sailing locations.

Midnight Sun will open up Sweden and Finland as destinations for the more adventurous among you. With over 60 yachts available from 5 different bases, in what is referred to as "The Sea of Archipelago Boating Paradise". The Moorings press release goes on to say:

"There are over 50,000 islands that are awaiting exploration throughout this cruising area whether you begin your trip from one of four locations in Finland and the Aland Islands or from Sweden. In Turku, Aland and the Stockholm archipelagos alone you will find hundreds of harbors and islands to explore. The Moorings will offer 60 yachts ranging in size from 31' to 51' monohulls and 38' catamarans. One-way charters are also available between the locations in Finland and Sweden."

Obviously this is a whole new area for us all, so The Moorings has put together and is sending us their the CD powerpoint presentation so we can learn more about this intriguing destination. Let us know if you would like to explore any of these exciting options.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556

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