When Captain Toby Stull saw her online four years ago, she made an immediate first impression — lingering in the back of his mind ever since.
She was exactly what he wanted, he said, and this past January he finally made his move.
He hopped on a flight down to Key West and there, in person, she was everything he’d imagined: big, bold, beautiful and U.S. Coast Guard inspected.
Her name is Luna, a 74-foot schooner that will make its debut in Sag Harbor this summer, the second sailboat to join Stull’s current SailHamptons fleet and the fourth vessel he has run from the village since 2010.
“It’s super exciting,” he said during a telephone interview from Key West, two days out from Luna’s maiden voyage to the East End. “I was working part-time as a captain for years and left to do it full-time six years ago. So on a personal level, it says, ‘I’m doing this for the rest of my life. And I’ve gotta buy the legit, inspected, big boat to do it with.’”
Built solely for charter, Luna was designed from the desks of Maine naval architecture firm Woodin and Marean about 20 years ago, according to Stull. Tailored for space and stability, she can accommodate up to 41 guests on board, maximizing her size to fit at the edge of the U.S. Coast Guard rules.
“The U.S. Coast Guard comes and puts you through a rigorous safety check, and they give you a permit,” Stull explained. “And then they monitor the boat. They put the crew through drills, all kinds of stuff. It’s a whole different ballgame than anything I’ve done before, and from what most of the boats do.”
With just a 5-foot draw, Lunacan access shallow anchorages and sailing areas unavailable to yachts, such as Coecles Harbor and West Neck Creek, despite her 80-foot masts and large sails, a 20-foot width, and her sheer length.
“When I first saw her in Key West, I thought she was massive,” Stull said with a laugh. “I thought she was very pretty for an inspected boat. She had beautiful lines for a boat that that was meant to be a charter. Usually they’re more utilitarian. And I thought she was just massive — she has huge deck space — and I really saw it translating to the types of charters that I do.”
After a six- to eight-day sail to the East End, the captain will begin outfitting the schooner for the season, complete with a Mediterranean-inspired interior and all the fixings needed for any occasion — as is the case with his 58-foot sailing yacht, Starlight.
“It’s pretty much the same vibe,” Stull said of Luna and Starlight.“My boats are very modern. They have big swim platforms. There are showers on the deck. It’s just easy fun. It’s not a big production to get the sails up. People don’t have to go down 14 steps on a ladder to get into the water. They’re both perfect for anything from kids’ swimming parties to beautiful sunset sails. But if you have 20 people, you’ve gotta do it on Luna.”
Two days before leaving Key West behind, Luna’s tremendous refurbishing was catching up with Stull, he said. But when he starts to feel overworked, he remembers why he sails in the first place — and why he has called life on the water home for the past 15 years.
“I started sailing before I could walk. I have pictures of me as a little tiny kid holding the mainsail with my dad on a Sunfish — literally, this little ginger baby with a mainsail in his hand,” he said. “I’m at peace in the water. Being out there, especially in the nature around Sag Harbor, you let everything go.
“You have the wind filling your sails, and moving by Mashomack and North Haven, it’s just really peaceful to just relax,” he continued. “And that’s what I love about it.”
For more information, visit sailhamptons.com.