Yacht Charters & Cruising » Discovering Briland – Harbour Island’s Megayacht Paradise

Discovering Briland – Harbour Island’s Megayacht Paradise

If attention to detail, the warmest of welcomes and a traditional taste of colourful Bahamian island life is your dream, Briland Club Marina, an IGY destination will fulfill your wish list and a whole lot more.

Since opening in July 2021 under the expert stewardship of marina manager Jackie Callender, Briland – so called as it’s a shortened version of Harbour Island – has set the bar high in delivering the ultimate in full service marina offerings along with a friendliness and can-do attitude that impresses clients and crew alike.

This exclusive 27-acre site offers 43 slips – 28 of which are mega yacht berths – up to a maximum length of 300ft (91m), and it’s no surprise to learn that Briland is the most coveted marina destination in the Bahamas.

Peaceful and perfect

The perfect charter base for larger yachts over 120ft (36m), Briland is quite simply one of the easiest and most welcoming destinations in The Bahamas. Provisioning is very easy here and the mail boat arrives twice a week. Harbour Island is three miles long and half a mile wide, and Briland occupies the most southern point, making it very private, enjoying an ‘away from it all’ kind of vibe. 

“Guests enjoy the private nature of the marina and the slips are designed to maintain that privacy,” explains Jackie, a marina veteran of over 20 years who followed a 12 year stint at Atlantis by launching Bay Street Marina in Nassau. “I left Bay Street at 100 per cent occupancy and I’m hoping to achieve the same here at Briland.”

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Convenience of local attractions

Everything you want to do in the Exumas can also be enjoyed on Harbour Island. “You can swim with turtles, jet ski or head off to see the pigs just 30 minutes away,” adds Jackie.

“We have private beaches, beautiful overnight anchorages and the best thing is we are just a stone’s throw from the US. Everything is at your fingertips, including sunset horseback rides on the beach through the surf and sand. 

“The island is easy to explore by bike, on foot or by jumping into one of our golf carts. Kids love it here. Most guests come here for an outdoor life, the beach and the natural wonders all around you. This really is the life!”

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Arriving at Briland Club Marina

With many mega yachts attracted to Briland, pilots are required to lead them expertly into Harbour Island’s port through the channel passage of Devil’s Backbone from the Atlantic Ocean.

“This approach is populated with a lot of reefs and coral heads so you have to be very careful navigating those waters,” says Jackie. “Pilots lead the yachts in through a channel just north of us to drop them off. Only boats with up to 9ft draft can enter - anything over that is too deep to tread these waters.”

In this case, larger draft yachts converge on stunning overnight anchorages a few minutes away and tender in. “South of us is Bottom Harbour, near Eleuthera, where we have 200 and 230 footers anchoring,” says Jackie. “To the north, yachts drop anchor to avoid the coral heads and tender in knowing they are just five minutes away.

“These anchorages also benefit from being protected by little islands and keys which block the wind and prevent debris from coming into our beautifully clean, limey blue waters.”

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Who comes to Briland Club Marina?

Repeat bookings from owners and charterers are a regular occurrence at Briland, with many making the trip numerous times in the eight months since the IGY-managed flagship marina opened. 

“We have lots of owners here who enjoy making Harbour Island a once a year trip and we have mega yachts over 120ft who wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else,” says Jackie. ”I had a 150ft leave yesterday, which will be returning next week, a 120ft today and a 140ft arriving tomorrow.

“Our charter guests fly in and we set up things to do for them in a private concierge capacity. I love to make their trip as memorable as possible.”

Customer satisfaction is clearly abundant with a number of yachts returning three or four times since Briland’s July 2021 opening!

Excellent services and facilities

Briland Club Marina’s full-service offering is a bonus for clients. It is the only marina in the area with a pump out service and in September will be adding fueling which is typically difficult to get in this island location. Currently villa construction is still underway and the destination will also add a pool to its long list of luxurious amenities. 

Adds Jackie: “With the addition of the 480Bar, we offer guests an outdoor grill restaurant where you can watch the sunset and enjoy views of the entire harbour. They serve the best burgers and tacos, lobster quesadillas, guacamole and local cuisine while the bartenders create amazing cocktails for you to enjoy while listening to live music.

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“Do not miss walking on E Dock - our face dock, which is a breakwater dock. We have benches with parasols where you can sit with a margarita and watch the sunset. This unique location presents the perfect backdrop to enjoy a panorama of the whole island.

“Most captains’ feedback expresses how happy their clients are with our full service and friendly local interaction. They enjoy what the island and the people have to offer. Our guest services make things happen, always going one step beyond at whatever time of the day or night to deliver to our guests.”

Island culture

Exuding a friendliness which unites the local and visiting communities alike, it’s easy to people watch as you enjoy a morning coffee on the sidewalk. “You can watch the whole world go by, from seeing chickens crossing the street to kids on their way to school who will wave and say hi,” adds Jackie. “The local community and neighbourhood spirit here is strong and everyone interacts magnificently with the yachting community.” 

Bahamian music comes in the form of Junkanoo, a few times a week guests can watch musicians perform and dance through the streets in colourful costumes playing goat skin drums and shaking cowbells. Marina guests love to interact and watch these delightful festivities. “If someone gets married, they accompany them to their dinner or reception and play them along. It’s really something to behold.”

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Nightlife at Briland Club Marina

Known for its relaxed and quirky venues where visitors and locals mix comfortably, Gusty’s in Dunmore Town is perhaps the most famous spot in which to kick back and relax. “It’s legendary, you can go along with no shoes as the floor is covered in pink sand and try out their traditional Bahamian Goombay Smash rum cocktail,” adds Jackie. 

Daddy D’s is also nearby while the veteran Vic-Hum Club attracts a lively crowd who love to play pool, ping pong and even basketball at night!

Enticing seasonal rates

At the moment, yachts can enjoy 20-30 per cent off berthing rates as a result of the villa and residence construction going on nearby. From July, a low end season rate will be in place offering even larger discounts for 150ft plus craft. 

 


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