|Coco Loco on charter in the Bahamas|
|Crewed Yacht Charter Reviews|
Page 1 of 3
During a dark, rainy week in the Abacos section of the Bahamas, the 124-foot Broward motoryacht Coco Loco and its well-trained crew prove to be a ray of sunshine
By Kim Kavin
I could see the trouble brewing quite clearly on the horizon. I just didn’t realize how serious it was going to get.
Our 31-foot Bertram sportfishing boat—a tender to our charter yacht—was idling over an ocean-covered trench about 20 minutes off the coast of Marsh Harbour, in the Abacos section of the Bahamas. A pair of deep-drop fishing lines were out about 600 feet apiece, and the one on our port side had a bite. I could all but taste the sweet, fresh grouper when the mood turned sour. A compressor had gone bust. The electric reels were dead. We cut the lines, hoped for better luck the next day, and headed back to our mothership, the 124-foot Broward Coco Loco. We had barely cruised five minutes when blackness began to erase the blue sky. The clouds speeded faster than we could en route to the dock at Abaco Beach Resort, and chilly raindrops hit Coco Loco’s teak deck about 30 seconds after my bare feet.
We would not see daylight again until our charter had ended.
Nobody can predict the weather during a yacht charter vacation. And while afternoon rain showers tend to be commonplace (and often a welcome relief) in the Bahamas, there’s nothing good to be said about back-to-back days of lightning, wind, and waves. I, admittedly, succumb faster to the darkness than most, perhaps because my years of chartering have taught me exactly what I’m missing when the sun fails to appear on cue. I tend to peer like a pouting child through rain-soaked windows, looking at an unused tender like that 31-foot Bertram, my heart sinking faster than a bullet weight.
It’s at times like these that my focus becomes a laser on a charter yacht’s outfitting, crew training, and onshore support team. At $120,000 a week for 10 guests, a boat had better be able to deliver a good experience without a single ray of sunshine. The interior must have several comfortable spaces so guests can find privacy. There ought to be WiFi and entertainment systems available at all times. The stewardesses should be able to foster fun with onboard games and themes. The chef must be an absolute star, since meals become the main events of everyday life aboard.
And, so often overlooked, the backup team onshore should have strong local connections. They might be needed to arrange last-minute airfares, hotel reservations, and ferries when weather affects not just the charter itself, but also any hope of getting back home.
Coco Loco, I am happy to tell you, came through on all counts during my rain-soaked time aboard. The yacht, the crew, and management company Fraser Yachts Worldwide helped to turn what might have been a horrid experience aboard a lesser charter yacht into a lovely Bahamas getaway.
The owner sets high standards to ensure guest comfort in any situation. He told me that while he enjoys his time aboard Coco Loco, he considers the boat a business. He personally approves or declines all charter requests. People with reputations for partying hard are not welcome, and he prefers charter parties of adult couples to families with small children.
His goal is to keep Coco Loco in perfect condition, and from what I saw during my few days aboard, the strategy is working. Nary a ding marred the high-gloss cherry woodwork, the mother-of-pearl details in the dining room and day head were flawless, and the entrance foyer’s tile was without a single scratch.
“There are boats this size that get $75,000 or $85,000 a week,” the owner told me. “We get $120,000 or $130,000. Who do we get more? Because we give more. My captain knows that I want this boat run like a five-star hotel, and that I expect our charter guests to receive the same treatment that I do. I take good care of my crew so that they will take good care of our guests. I can afford to keep Coco Loco in this condition without any charter income if necessary, and that’s how it should be.”