Harbor View Vacation Rental in Exuma

Sailboats in Exuma

Exuma Sound

Every year from November onwards cruising yachts start arriving in Elizabeth Harbour in Exuma. Then over the next two months we get a daily intake, weather permitting, of more yachts until we have a fleet of around 400 cruising yachts in Exuma.

cruising yachts in Exuma

The boats arrivals coincides with the end of hurricane season and on a calm day you will see a line of sails on the horizon approaching the entrance to the harbour.

Each yacht will fly a flag at the stern of their boat,  the flag of their country of registry. So you will see mainly US Stars and Stripes, Union Jacks, and Canadian maple leafs.  Amongst that fleet will also be boats from many Europian countries and probably some Australian. As they arrive they will fly a yellow flag from the spreaders which indicates that the yacht has yet to check in with customs and immigration.

Some yachts are live-aboard cruisers, whose boat is their home, many of them will live on board for several years and some have children aboard. Some are snowbirds, heading south to escape the winter weather others will be cruising the Caribbean islands.

The boats vary in size and design, from 30 foot monohulls and catamarans, to 100+ foot mega yachts.  With 400 boats  that equates to over a thousand persons, which obviously plays a significant part to the local economy. The social life of the boaters is pretty hectic with daily volley ball matches, mass organized dinghy trips to various beaches and restaurants and culminating with  week long festivities at the cruising regatta. Events will include competitions in: The round-the island-yacht-race, talent shows, treasure hunts and sand sculptures.

boats at dock

Each morning the boats will listen to their vhf radios for weather forecasts and if there is a threat of strong winds in the future days then they often move their vessel to a more sheltered location, which is easily done in a large harbour that encloses many smaller islands.

The season starts in November and runs through to Easter, when many either start heading North to their summer home, or head  South to continue their Caribbean or even their circumnavigation.

This coming winter is expected to be busier than ever due to the devastation in the Northern Bahamas caused by hurricane Dorian. This monster storm ravaged The Abacos and Grand Bahama islands. Two of the islands that many cruisers visit. So where will they go this year?  Only time will tell, but many are expected to head on down to Great Exuma thus increasing the boat count for 2019-2020, and some years to come.

The Exuma Sailing Regatta Has Started

Sailing Regatta Exuma

So the largest, most important, sailing regatta has started in Elizabeth Harbour in Exuma. Formally named the Out Island Sailing Regatta, this is the 66th annual event.

Originally intended to preserve the boat building skills of the Bahamas boat building industry.  Now it is a vital part of the tourism attractions.

Held annually in the last week of April and broken down to classes determined by boat size. The boats have 60 ft masts, way longer than one would expect from such relatively small sailboats, thus providing the opportunity to fly enormous sails.

The celebrations continue on shore where shacks have been prepared to provide local foods and drinks.

So come on down and enjoy.

The 66th Annual Family Island Regatta

Exuma Sailing Regatta

On April 23rd 2019 The  Annual Out Island Regatta starts.

Over the next five days the population of Exuma escalates as visitors from many of the family islands descend on Great Exuma to enjoy some great boat races, loads of Bahamian food and one heck of a lot of Kalik, rum punches and Bahama Mamas.


The regatta started 66 years ago with the intention of preserving the boat building skills that the islands possessed from generations of fishermen and boat builders. The type of boats are called skiffs. They are entirely built of wood, usually around 30ft long with a forward mounted mast of exceptional length.
The long boom means the boat can carry enormous sails for such a  small craft.  The boat carries several lead blocks for ballast and a crew of around 10, some of which will sit on a hefty plank well out to the beam of the boat, to act as a counter-weight to the sails and wind force.
The skill is to slide back into the boat and back out the other side as the boat rounds a marker. 

regatta 3

The boats are divided into classes A thro’ E depending on their size. Each boat must be designed, built and skippered by a Bahamian.
Each race is two laps around a triangular course inside Elizabeth Harbour and there are some large financial prizes.

There are about ten boats in each race and they line up and anchor on the start line. The commodore of the Regatta fires a cannon to signify the start of each race. Then its chaos as the crew scramble to lift the anchor, raise the sails and steer clear of the competitors.

reggatta 4

Following the race are a series of spectator boats cheering on the boat from their island.  In addition there are more spectator boats at the turn bouys, which is where collisions and capsizes are most frequent.

While the main focus is on the water, back on land you find wooden shacks lining the streets of George Town, each offering drinks and/or food and LOUD music. !  So by early evening you can imagine that many visitors and locals are well lubricated and dancing the night away.

Adventure Trips in Exuma

charter boat Exuma

One of the leading providers of adventure trips in Exuma is Out Island Explorers.  A family run business headed by Tamara and Dallas, with help from their photogenic boys, Joss and Emit.

Whether your interest is kayaking, sailing, fishing or snorkeling, Out Island have you covered.

Their kayak trips range from a daily rental trip in company with others, with a variety of start points so you can explore different areas of the famous blue waters. Next on their agenda are trips over several days. These usually follow a route through the Exuma Cays with camping each night. The most exciting trip is probably through the worlds first marine park at Waderick Wells Cay, where because of the no fishing rules, the many species of fish, turtles and lobsters are among the largest and more plentiful you are likely to see.

Out Island Explorers also run sailing trips. Their fleet of 21ft shallow draft boats can sail the leeward waters of the islands which are sheltered from the Atlantic resulting in sailing in calm seas enabling you to see through the shallow waters.
The fleet is accompanied by the Out Island staff, with camping at night and camp fire meals. Trips vary from two or three days to an extended trip to Staniel Cay with a flight back to Exuma.

Dallas and Tamara also have a 30ft power boat and will take you for a half or full day charter for either snorkeling, fishing, or a trip to an offshore island, aptly names Sandy Cay, which was the setting for many scenes in “Pirates of the Caribbean”

In addition Out Island Explorers also have a Hobie Cat for rent by the day, or the week.

So, contact Dallas and Tamara for full details and make your Exuma vacation that much more memorable while you stay at Harbour View.

Sailing Regatta in Exuma

Family Island Regatta Exuma

The last week in April is the highlight of the sailing season in Exuma. Boats from many of the out islands will converge on Elizabeth Harbour to compete in the premier sloop racing regatta on the The Bahamian calendar.

Races are divided into classes based on the size of the boat, and results are accumulative over the four days. Here on Exuma we have one of the most famous boat builders, Buzzy Rolle, who has built and raced boats for many years.

The regatta is an excellent excuse for many local families to erect food shacks around George Town and the Harbour area to cater for the many visitors who flock to Exuma for this special occasion.

So come on down and experience the Out Island Regatta.  https://harborviewexuma.com

Sloop Racing in Exuma

Island Regatta

First let define what a sloop is. It’s a one-masted sailing boat with a mainsail and jib rigged fore and aft. These impressive vessels are about 30ft long with a 50ft mast and an amazing amount of sail.

The premium racing event in The Bahamas is The Out Island Sailing Regatta which takes place here in Elizabeth Harbour in Exuma, starting April 24th through to 28th and attracts around 60 boats from the various islands.  There are five classes of sloop with different size boats. The boats race three laps around a triangular course and each race lasts about 40 minutes. Each boat race every day and accumulate points to determine each class winner.

Because they carry so much sail they have a crew of as many as 10  and as the boat heels the crew counter-balance by sliding out along a plank to stop the sloop capsizing, but sometimes they get it wrong and disaster happens.

While all this happening in the harbour, there is a lot going on onshore. Shacks are placed on the town roadside selling liquor and local foods. So food, drink, sunshine, music and a great spectator sport.

Who would not want to attend and cheer on your favorite.

A Playground for Sailors

Cruising sailboats Exuma

Every year Elizabeth Harbour is the home for some 400 boats. Starting in December the sail boats start to arrive, some from Florida, some from as afar a field as Canada, others from Europe. The number increase daily as they search out their favorite anchorage offshore from Stocking Island, inside Crab Cay or off Kidd Cove.

Many will stay until around Easter. Each day they listen carefully to the weather forecast and move their “home” to a more sheltered location if adverse weather is threatened. Each boat will have a separate runabout boat, usually a rubber inflatable of about 12ft, which they use to go ashore for exercise or shopping to meet with fellow boaters. As you might expect for a group of like minded people, friendship forms  and regular meetings ensue. Every afternoon a dozen or more will meet on Stocking Island to take advantage of the four volleyball courts, and some pretty intense play will follow.

At night its a bit like Christmas with all the boats with anchor lights, some at mast top, some at deck level.

By early April the highlight of the cruising season will be the annual Regatta. Organized by a committee of cruisers the event goes for several days with many forms of competition, such as sand sculptures, all leading up to the highlight of the round Stocking Island Race, a handicapped event that is the finale of the Cruising Regatta.

New Year Regatta

We have an exciting  two day sailing regatta starting on New Years Day. Its called the Bull Reg Regatta named after the famed Bahamian Sloop boat builder “Buzzy” Rolle.  If your in Exuma at that time don’t miss this event which races over a triangular course all set in the picturesque setting of Elizabeth Harbour. See boats from many Bahamian islands compete in this prestigious event.sailing regattta