Cruising through Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and all of the East End’s interconnected bays and harbors is the ultimate form of summer entertainment. With a goal of getting people on the water, East End marinas stock vessels for all occasions. Fishing, wake surfing, water skiing, swimming and luxury sailing elevate this favorite summer experience that brings families and friends together outside. Those in the business of boating share how they add to one of the most prominent cultural activities of the North and South Forks.
Healthy family entertainment is a need that can be filled by boating. As the president of a multi-generational family business, Jeff Strong says the push toward families getting into boating has shifted in recent years. Culturally, people are looking for an alternative that doesn’t involve screens, leading younger families to get into the sport of boating. For water sports especially, Cobalt is a high-quality sport boat that continues to be a popular seller at Strong’s Marine. Wake surfing has been around for a few years now, though it has grown in popularity. Whereas the Cobalt R5 is a regular waterski boat, wake surfing requires a special style, like the Cobalt R7 Surf. Running gear is stored under the boat for safety, with the ballast and tabbing making the wake much larger. The board is almost like a combination of a wakeboard and surfboard in terms of style, with a much shorter line. Once a surfer lets go, they can surf right behind the boat in the curl of a boat-produced wave.
“You’re only going 12 miles per hour, so its low impact, which is a big selling point,” Strong explains. “You’re also surfing right behind the boat so it’s still very social and you can talk to people. It’s been around for a couple of years but has evolved and become much more popular.”
New to the company’s fleet offerings this year is Cruisers Yachts. With a strong reputation, the American-made yacht company specializes in vessels from 39 to 60 feet. Just at the start of the season, Strong’s Marine received their first 42-foot Cantius at their Mattituck showroom. State-of-the-art amenities and a sleek, modern design create a relaxing boating experience for summer. Another popular brand they stock is Sunseeker, which continues to evolve. The Sunseeker Predator 50 is the company’s smallest, with yachts going up to 160 feet.
With marinas in Mattituck, Southampton, and Port Washington, Strong’s Marine endeavors to help clients have a great time on the water. “We have 70 events going on, a lot on the water,” Strong says. “We do a ton of lessons and training with more than 15 captains that work for us. Others may have been in boating for years but might want to entertain guests, so they can schedule a captain to take them out, like a designated driver. Then there are boat rentals, which are super popular. It’s a whole other way for people to get out on the water.”
Mattituck and Southampton, (631) 298-4770, strongsmarine.com
Port of Egypt
The world’s oldest Grady-White dealer has found new leadership this year with cousins Yvonne and Will Lieblein officially taking over the family business. “I’m grateful to be part of the Port of Egypt team and taking the helm with Will has been a joy,” Yvonne said. “We both believe life is better when you spend time on the water, and we’re excited to continue growing the business our grandfather and his brothers launched in 1946.”
Founded by brothers with a love of fishing, the Southold marina began selling the popular Grady-White boats in 1960. Today, these vessels are available as center consoles, coastal explorers, dual consoles, express cabins and walkaround cabins. These multi-purpose boats are ideal for those with an interest in fishing as well, and can often be spotted in the various bays and harbors of the East End.
Also available at Port of Egypt, Vanquish Boats offer premium center console, runabout dual console performance-day boats in several models from 21 to 26 feet. The Newport, Rhode Island-based company designs and builds classic New England styles suitable for day trips. The runabout offers a luxury look and feel with teak trimming while fishermen can also enjoy the center console boat.
As a full-service marina that prides itself on getting more people on the water, Port of Egypt offers various services to make new boaters feel comfortable and confident with hands-on boater education ideal for both novices and more experienced boaters looking for a refresher. The “Women Making Waves” series covers nautical terms, safety at sea, radio use, basic navigation, knot tying and an introduction to docking with practice sessions. “Date Night on Deck” for couples will be new this year. The company will also offer private workshops for friends and family who boat together. “It’s so rewarding to teach people about boating and watch their skill and confidence levels skyrocket,” says Will Lieblein.
Having taken over from his father Bill, Lieblein and his cousin look to continue the family’s legacy on the North Fork. “My father is an inspiration, and he’ll keep doing all the things he loves to do here,” he explains. “His love of boating and our customers knows no bounds. And his boat handling lessons? Legendary.”
Southold, (631) 765-2445, poemarine.com
With on-water marine facilities in Eastport on Seatuck Cove and Hampton Bays on the Shinnecock Canal, Hampton Watercraft takes pride in offering its customers comfort, safety and reliability out on the water. Both locations offer high quality brands in Brig USA, Tiara Sport, Tiara Yachts, Boston Whaler, MasterCraft, Key West Boats, Rossiter and Albemarle Boats.
Megan Buckleyu, the marketing and event coordinator at Hampton Watercraft, is especially excited for an expanded line of Tiara Sport boats, and said the standard size of 34- to 38-foot sport boats will be expanded in the fall to 43 feet.
“The new 43 LS will be the largest in the Tiara Sport line up,” Buckley says. “Their 43 LS combines the aesthetic of sport styling with the luxurious amenities and details synonymous with their Tiara Sport brand. “
Founded by Tony Villareale in 1990, Hampton Watercraft also offers a huge selection of pre-owned inventory. So whether you are new to boating or have a lifetime of experience on the water, the team at Hampton Watercraft is ready to assist for the summer of 2019.
“This summer we are looking forward to some good boating weather and good fishing,” says Buckley. “We can’t wait to see all of our customers out on the water using and enjoying their boats to the fullest.”
Hampton Bays, (631) 728-8200
Eastport, (631) 288-2900
Getting out on the water without the burden of owning a boat
Kelpie Yacht Charters
Begins at $2,600 for 2.5-hour cruises up to $5,600+ for a full day
Former World War II picket boat, Kelpie, was put into charter services after the war on the west coast. Past guests have included Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. Sail from Sag Harbor throughout the waters surround Shelter Island on this 78.8-foot traditional schooner, part of Le Launch fleet helmed by skipper Shannon Carleton. Original tender to Kelpie, Siren is touted as the Hamptons’ private yacht tender certified to carry over six passengers.
“We’re looking to not only keep to her 1928 vibe,” Carleton shares. “She was completely restored in 2014, so she’s virtually brand new but with a 91-year-old soul! Everything is classic.”
Begins at $1,750 for 2.5-hour cruises aboardLuna, $1,150 for 3-hour cruises aboard Starlight
Designed and built solely for charter from the desk of Naval Architects Woodin and Marean in Boothbay, Maine, Luna is a 74-foot schooner, while the 58-foot sailing yacht Starlightis SailHamptons’ modern and luxurious offering. From intimate groups enjoying local rosé and eats aboard through a stunning Sag Harbor sunset, to kids swimming and jumping off the swim platform at birthday parties, or bachelorettes dancing and singing on deck on a trip to Sunset Beach, everyone has fun.
“During the past nine amazing years chartering in Sag Harbor, I have had the wonderment of sharing sailing in the stunning waters around Sag Harbor and Shelter Island with an eclectic group of fabulous guests,” shares Captain Toby Stull.
Begins at $1,800 for midweek sunset sail on smaller yachts to $30,000 per day on large motor yachts up to 164 feet
Boats in this fleet are based in Sag Harbor, East Hampton, Montauk and Greenport, offering all degrees of sailing and yachting experiences. The idea is to make it affordable for everyone with boats in all shapes and sizes, from classic sailing yachts to ultra-sleek Italian designed speedboats, suiting all tastes. Lelanta, an 82-foot black schooner, has been a visual icon of Sag Harbor’s wharf for decades.
“A lot of half and full day charters have a destination in mind, perhaps a spot for lunch,” shares partner Danielle Tait Barton. “I try to encourage them to stay and board and just really enjoy it. It’s so unique and special to sail the East End.”