Authors Posts by Erin B

Erin B

1223 POSTS 5 COMMENTS

Regal 33 XO

Regal 33 XO

Regal 33 XO

The latest addition to the brand’s express cruiser fleet is the  Regal 33 XO. Maneuvering is a breeze with power-assisted steering, twin binnacle controls along with the optional Optimus 360 joystick and bow thruster, and the twin Yamaha 300-hp V6 outboard engines provide plenty of power.

An entertainment center on deck has a stainless-steel sink and room for an optional refrigerator, electric grill and concealed flat screen TV. To add to the fun in the sun, the transom lounge seat can face forward or aft and transform into a sun pad, and the wraparound swim platform is perfect for swimmers. There’s room to sleep six down below with an aft king bed, forward berth and a converted L-shaped couch. The cabin includes a compact galley with refrigerator, small microwave, sink, and stove as well as a 32-inch LED TV and an electric head with shower.

34’2” LOA, 10’4” beam

regalboats.com

Return to the Outboard Cruisers Roundup

Food Festivals in the Gulf

Food Festivals in the Gulf

Food Festivals in the Gulf

For many boaters, the only thing better than a food festival in the gulf is a food and music festival near a marina. Check off all three categories at mid-January events in Galveston, Texas, and Sarasota, FL.

Galveston

Galveston hosts Yaga’s Chili Quest & Beer Fest January 18-19 at Saengerfest Park in the historic Strand District. It features live music, of course, as well as chili and craft beer tasting, a margarita contest, and a 5K “Fun Run & Walk.” Galveston Yacht Basin is conveniently located within a short walk from the venue.

yagaschiliquest.com

Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota’s Seafood & Music Festival January 18-20 is a couple of blocks from Marina Jack. Gulf-fresh seafood options include grouper, oysters, stone crabs, shrimp, and softshell crabs. Music venues include jazz, Caribbean, soul, rock, and R&B.

If you want to take a break, you have permission to slip away for a day or so and tour The Ringling, the state art museum of Florida. It has three centers of attention. One is John and Mable Ringling’s 50-room Mediterranean-revivalist palace on Sarasota Bay. Another is a circus museum, a historical testimonial to “The Greatest Show on Earth.”  The third is an amazing 21-gallery art museum with sculptures and artwork by Rubens, van Dyke, Velazquez, and other European Old Masters.

By Bill Aucoin, Southern Boating January 2019

Rosy Iceberg Wedge Salad

an image of a wedge salad

Rosy Iceberg Wedge Salad

This wedge salad is simple enough to create in the galley, but still classy enough to serve to a crowd.

Enjoy this salad as a light lunch or an appetizer. Recipe serves 4.

Dressing Ingredients:

3 tbsp. ketchup
3 tbsp. vinegar
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. mustard
1⁄2 tsp. paprika
Pinch of pepper
1 raw egg yolk
1/2 cup oil
Salt, to taste
Salad Ingredients:
1 whole head iceberg lettuce, cleaned and quartered
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup bacon bits

Directions:

Mix ketchup, vinegar, sugar, mustard, paprika, pepper, and egg yolk in a bowl. Slowly drizzle and whisk in olive oil until smooth. Season with salt to taste and set aside. Place iceberg quarters on a platter and surround with tomatoes. Drizzle each wedge with dressing and sprinkle with onion and bacon bits. Serve.

Southern Exumas

an image of a ray in the Southern Exumas

Southern Exumas

An iconic place for beaching and boating in The Bahamas is a string of pearl-like islands —the Exumas. But, if you visit the southern Exumas, Acklins Island, Crooked Island and Long Cay in particular, you’ll find the familiar aquatic landscape more commonly associated with the Exumas to the north.

These three atoll islands encircle the Bight of Acklins, a 500-square-mile lagoon, where you can wade in the water knee-deep for thousands of feet offshore. The shallow seas encasing the islands radiate turquoise light. A tapestry of undulating white sands blankets the ocean floor, peeking out here and there to showcase a collection of elongated sandbars. The meandering coastlines are dotted with countless sandy bays, crescent-shaped coves, and mangrove nurseries. A network of tidal creeks and inlets snake through the land, and from sky high, they appear like saltwater rivers slicing cuts into the coast.

Long Crooked Acklins

Acklins Island, Crooked Island and Long Cay are truly underexplored island gems in the southern Bahamas. Unlike the Exumas, these sister islands are known more for their bonefishing and ecotourism than for their boating and physical beauty. But island-hopping in these islands will turn that perspective completely upside down. Take in the scene at the French Wells  Channel between Long Island and Crooked Island, or cruise around Turtle Sound or Lovely Bay, and the stunning picture will be abundantly clear.

The Bight of Acklins is the “Exumas of the South” when it comes to beaching and boating. Beach Hop the North Coast­ Start in Lovely Bay, where you can comb for shells on the Lovely Beach sandbar or spot iguanas on Snake Cay. Chase stingrays in Chester’s Bay or head beyond the main Atwood Harbour Beach to a cay locals call Saddleback. Saddleback Cay marks the opening of a creek that winds its way down to Gordon’s Bay. Depending on the tides, Saddleback is only connected by the beach.  On the tip of the cay is a large osprey nest. The birds stand watch over this entrance, soaring above to keep an eye on visitors.

Underexplored

bonefishing in the Southern ExumasDespite its array of offerings, Acklins and Crooked Island are not as accessible as other islands in The Bahamas. There are no marinas or official docking facilities, so boaters have to use the various anchorages. Commercial flights with the national airline, Bahamas Air, originate from Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas, and fly to Acklins and Crooked Island only twice per week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Long Cay is only accessible by private boat or a ferry from Crooked Island.

­Hotels are limited to a few bonefishing lodges scattered around the Southern Exumas, including Chester’s Highway Inn, Chester’s Bonefishing Lodge, Grey’s Point Bonefish Inn, and Ivel’s Bed and Breakfast on Acklins Island. Also, Acklins only has a population of about 500 people compared with Nassau, which has about half the landmass as Acklins with a population of about 300,000. Acklins, Crooked Island and Long Cay are relatively secluded and rural. The inhabitants fend for themselves and epitomize the simplicity of island living.

There are no gourmet restaurants, although the local food is delicious. Chester’s Highway Inn serves creamy lobster chowder as its welcome meal, and it’s chock-full of flavorful, meaty goodness. There are a few local bars for entertainment. You’ll meet a charismatic (and perhaps pestering) local drunk. You’ll also meet hard-working island people who pass the time by drinking rum and gossiping.

City slickers would likely not survive in Acklins unless they were specifically looking to go off the grid. Boaters, however, with simple tastes and plans to spend their days on the water fishing, snorkeling, diving, beaching and enjoying the outdoors, would find an attractive vacation home in Acklins, Crooked Island and Long Cay.

Launch a Kayak

Atwood Harbour, Relief Bay, and Gordon’s Bay have ample bonefishing flats. But it’s also an ideal spot to kayak. These uninhabited parts of the island hardly have any civilization to speak of. Many areas are only accessible by boat, but they all have at least one inland access point to launch a kayak. They also serve as anchorages. In Atwood Harbor, you can land a dinghy on the beach and walk about two miles to Chester’s Settlement.

Spot Flamingos

If the horizon line is glowing pink, it’s not a mirage, it’s a colony of West Indian flamingos in the distance. Acklins, Crooked Island and Long Cay all have flamingos. Flamingos are The Bahamas national bird. These regal birds are skittish about visitors, but there are three reliable places to spot them in their natural habitat: Mason’s Bay and Chester’s Pond in Acklins and Flamingo Bay in Long Cay.

Southern ExumasBonefishing

There’s tons of fishing in the Southern Exumas, but bonefishing is the ticket. You don’t need a boat for most of the flats. Instead, you can walk off the shoreline, wading and stalking your fish. The peak fishing months are March through November as the weather is more unstable between December and February. However, fishing is a year-round pastime in the south.

In addition to these core activities, sail around the atoll or cave on Crooked Island. There are coral gardens and historic ruins, including the remnants of slave and cotton plantations. Bird Rock Lighthouse sits on the northwestern point of Crooked Island, and Castle Island Lighthouse sits off the southern tip of Acklins. Boaters can also explore the Samana Cays to the northeast and the Plana Cays to the east.

By Noelle Nichols, Southern Boating January 2019

Six Gifts That Won’t Break the Bank

Six Gifts That Won’t Break the Bank

If you’re the type to wait until the very last minute, here are six gifts that won’t break the bank. An added bonus? They’re perfect for boaters of all ages.

Get shopping!

Wow Watersports Speaker

This portable Bluetooth Speaker from Wow Watersports pumps out 50 hours of 360-degree, high volume stereo sounds on a single charge. The IP67-rated speaker connects with any Bluetooth-enabled mobile device and features four two-inch active speakers and one four-inch passive radiator on top to blast deep bass. Get two for full surround sound.

MSRP $229.99

wowwatersports.com

Ecuadane’s Handwoven Blankets

Six Gifts That Won't Break the BankGetting out on your boat to watch boat parades can be chilly, so be sure to include Ecuadane’s Handwoven Blankets to keep warm. Crafted by artisans in Ecuador of a high-quality blend of alpaca and synthetic materials, Ecuador’s blankets are lightweight, breathable and durable, machine washable, and don’t itch! Ten percent of all proceeds are given back to the artisan community.

MSRP $129.99

ecuadane.com

X-Treme Organics’ Mariner/Surf Balm

Six Gifts That Won't Break the BankRe-moisturize your skin after a day of sun, wind and salt exposure with X-Treme Organics’ Mariner/Surf Balm. Perfect for surfers, fishermen, kitesurfers, kayakers, wakeboarders, sailors and anyone who loves the water. Soothe areas of surf rash, raw skin, calluses, and areas prone to blisters. The balm is made with all-natural ingredients and is a 99-percent certified organic product.

MSRP $32 for the 2-ounce canister

x-tremeorganics.com

Chevron’s Techron Marine’s Fuel System Treatment

Six Gifts That Won't Break the BankIn keeping up with your boat’s maintenance, protect your fuel and engine systems with Chevron’s Techron Marine’s Fuel System Treatment. This breakthrough product gives corrosion protection and engine/fuel system cleaning as well as 24-month fuel stabilization for long-term and off-season storage. A 10-ounce bottle treats 100 gallons.

MSRP $12.99

techronclean.com

Uncharted Water: Romance, Adventure, and Advocacy on the Great Lakes

Six Gifts That Won't Break the BankWith more than just a love of boating, Mary McKSchmidt describes her adventures with water as the catalyst for her life’s turning points in Uncharted Water: Romance, Adventure, and Advocacy on the Great Lakes. From survival in South Africa to a Fortune 500 company to writer, McKSchmidt shares how she balanced life through boating.

MSRP $15

marymckschmidt.com

 

Diamond Brand Double Take Bag

Six Gifts That Won't Break the BankWith a history that dates back to WWI, Diamond Brand has designed the durable Double Take Bag that can endure the roughest adventure. Choose from a variety of exterior fabrics, including waxed canvas or eco-friendly recycled Sunbrella, and add an interchangeable Chilly Insulated Bag to keep beverages and food cool and secure wherever you go.

MSRP $39-$79

diamondbrandgear.com

Happy shopping days!

READERS' CHOICE

Outboard Cruisers Roundup

Home Sweet Horizon

Ho Ho Holiday Gift Guide

Princess S60