Charter company has new captain

TRAVERSE CITY – We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that reads, “I’d Rather Be Sailing.” When the sun is shining, the breeze is perfect, and I see those graceful sailboats on the bay, I’d rather be sailing than anything else. Two things always stop me from driving to the marina: I don’t own a sailboat, and I don’t know enough about sailing to go out on my own.

Jay Kraft says neither of those are deterrents to sailing.

He is the new general manager of Bay Breeze and owns the company with his parents, John and Sandy Kraft. They bought the business on April 15 from Bill Allgaier, who started Bay Breeze in 1983.

Located on the docks of the Lakes States building on West Bay, it specializes in bareboat and captained sailing charters and offers yacht and sailboat charters, a sailing school, as well as brokerage, sales, and management services for boat owners.

Bay Breeze operates the area’s only America Sailing Association (ASA) certified sailing school, with classes from May to September. The instructors are U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains, and all lessons take place on a 30-foot or larger boat.

From basic to advanced instruction, classes are limited to four students spending six hours per day learning sailing terms, rigging, docking, weather, and sailing techniques. The more advanced classes offer lessons in systems maintenance, heavy weather sailing, charts and other navigational aids. They prepare students for long-distance sailing in the waters of the Great Lakes, as well as in Florida and the Caribbean.

Bay Breeze’s Sailing Club is a truly “no hassle” way to sail on West Bay. There are three levels of membership, which include several 7.5-hour sessions, and all include prime time slots.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a boat, Bay Breeze offers brokerage services. From a 21-foot Precision to a 53-foot Cheoy Lee, there are over 30 sailboats and a few powerboats ready for ownership.

If you already own a boat, Bay Breeze offers a professional management program that allows you to use your boat when you want, but also to generate income when you can’t.

“Smart boat owners understand the cost of using a boat, but also the cost of not using it,” Kraft said. “Chartering out your boat can generate enough income to cover dockage fees, maintenance, and insurance. It can also fund the purchase of a bigger boat, which for many is unattainable without chartering.”

Bay Breeze is also an agent for The Moorings, the largest charter fleet in the Caribbean. They book sailing adventures in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and South Pacific.

For further information, call Jay Kraft at 231-941-0535, or navigate their excellent Web site at BIZNEWS