Cruising With The Chilbergs: The Perfect Bahamian Yacht (BLOG)

I have been doing an extensive undercover survey of what is the perfect yacht for the Bahamas. [The simple answer is whatever the hell your wife wants!] On a broader scope, however, here are some of my observations and conclusions.
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If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never have enough. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize that there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

 — Lao Tzu

As we have been cruising the Abacos for a month now, I have been doing an extensive undercover survey of what is the perfect yacht for the Bahamas. [The simple answer is whatever the hell your wife wants!] On a broader scope, however, here are some of my observations and conclusions.

Harry and Corky have traded in their Catalina 42 sailboat for a lovely 60-plus-foot 1986 Hatteras that has been redone. She is comfortable and all the kids and grandchildren can visit.

Chas and Bev have a great Aft Cabin Mainship 43 with a lift on the stern for their dinghy and a large liquor locker, although we do have to show up with extra ice for cocktail hour! movBurgers & Trumpys built in the 1960s.

Walter has a Robert Beebe designed Passagemaker built in the 1950s.

Boris and Gerta's wind-powered home.

Boris and Gerta's wind-powered home.

Boris and Gerta have a 40-plus-foot steel ketch built in Belgium. Among the Grand Banks we have seen an aft cabin 42, 47, and our 49 as well as the 32 and 46 Sedans. Every type of sailboat and catamaran is visible from most harbor anchorages as well. While we all have great cruising yachts for the Bahamas that suit each of us well. Susan and I would say, in our case, near perfectly since we have the following: Large aft master stateroom, so it is quiet at anchorage; 24 drawers in the master for Susan’s stylish and refined clothes and my Neanderthal age t-shirts and shorts; a stand up engine room with repowered Cummins diesels, 17.5 kw generator and new fuel tanks; and a fully redone galley [ see "The Why Is Easy, PassageMaker April 2014 for pictures]; and our “Ferrari” 10-foot dinghy Puddle Jumper.

Yet, all of us fall short of my two finalists.

My heroes, Ray and Mary, and the "Chilberg Best Boat" title holders.

My heroes, Ray and Mary, and the "Chilberg Best Boat" title holders.

First, while anchored in Baker’s Bay off Great Guana Cay, we had nearby a 330-plus-foot mega-megayacht. A friend ‘googled’ the boat and it is one of the 35 largest privately owned mega yachts in the world. I am sure that the helicopter on the stern was vital for all the trips to the grocery store, and the massive electronics above the bridge was necessary to communicate regularly with the space station and Mars Lunar Landing Vehicle. The cost is in the 100s of millions of dollars and the annual operating costs are just shy of our National Debt. They have two dinghies that are about the size of Mud Puddle Rose, and the man standing behind the stern rail with, I suppose, an AK-47 in his hands just out of sight was the full time greeter. I do suspect that the owner does not change the oil nor do the dishes. This, however, could not be confirmed, because as I approached to finish my survey, the “greeter” began to raise his hands above the rail with supposed AK-47. With this in mind, I choose to suspend further research. You will have to use your imagination for further details of this yacht.

Just a “shade smaller” is the mini-megayacht, Proud Mary. While easy to confuse, this is not the Queen Mary unless you are referring to Mary Tyler Moore’s facelift! Proud Mary is owned by my heroes, Ray and Mary Cornford, age 69 each. Proud Mary is a 30’ Grady-White with twin 250 hp Yamaha outboard engines, that was tied up near us at the Marsh Harbor Marina. Ray and Mary departed Marathon Florida and have been cruising the Abacos for some time now. They have also cruised extensively in the Exumas among other places aboard Proud Mary. We then met up with them at Pete’s Pub in Little Harbor over a few “Blasters” to share sea stories and their adventures in campers and motorhomes through Alaska three times as well as the Canadian Rockies!

The magnificent Proud Mary tied up in the Abacos.

The magnificent Proud Mary tied up in the Abacos.

As Mary says with a twinkle in her eye, “We have everything a larger boat has, it’s just smaller … we have learned to be minimalists.” Yes, maybe on size and non-necessities, they are minimalists. But, in terms of joy, experiences exploring, meeting fellow cruisers, and being my heroes, Ray and Mary are definitely maximizers on their mini-megayacht!

Now, there can be no excuses for that bigger boat is there? Has anyone seen the Titanic in Marsh Harbor this week?

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