Every Spring downtowner’s look at the marina to test the seasons, when we see the boats in Brookfield Marina, we know it’s time to get out for the warmer weather. The winter blues are removed and quickly forgotten.
This year was sad for many as we did not see our local marina buzzing with boats and movement. I can assure you that the minute we saw your sailboat (Tribeca Sailing – Tara) smiles and hope was on everyone’s mind, and it was time to book our Staycation.
We had the pleasure of catching up with Captain Dave Founder of Tribeca Sailing. Our COO Luigi and I were his guests on Tara, oh yes, she is a beautiful as her name. “one of only five 1964 Hinckley Custom Pilot 35s and is the prettiest sailboat in all of New York City.” Captain Dave
I’ve never been on this size sailboat, at first I was a little concerned but as we left the marina, Captian Dave, handled her like a newborn babe. The sails were up and we were underway.
It was our first sail of the season, and certainly set the standard for others to follow. Captain, is funny, charming, and extremely knowledgeable. He is a true Captain and follows all the rules ensuring his guest’s safety.
No one can know what will come of COVID-19 and or when we will return to “normal life”, one thing is for sure, we live in the greatest city in the world and more so the best area in all of New York. It’s like being on vacation 365 days of the year, we are blessed to have met Tara and Captain Dave.
We give them both 10 out of 10 Sails.
DTM: How difficult was this delay for your business?
DC: As a unique small family business and living in downtown Manhattan I spent my time watching our governor and waiting for the curve to flatten. As Spring approached, I would have started working on my sailboat Tara for an April 1st opening but instead, I stayed home and did my part to stay healthy and help our essential workers.
The most difficult part of the delay in opening was a financial hardship. Tourism is a large part of my pre-season bookings and due to COVID 19 travel plans were canceled and I was refunding almost all pre-booked charters. (I changed my policy to give full refunds due to the pandemic.) My business relies on pre-bookings to pay bills. Bookings stop but bills continued.
DTM: Who makes the decision for the marina to open?
DC: Marinas were considered essential and access to North Cove Marina was permitted. During the stay- at- home order North Cove was primarily used by NYPD Harbor Patrol and perhaps a transient boater as a leg (stopover) of their cruising journey. They left it up to me to decide when I wished to return.
DTM: What comments have you heard the most once you were back at the marina.?
DC: On May 28 I arrived back to North Cove Marina to my seasonal docking slip. It was a beautiful day and NYers were out on the promenade. As the joggers and dog walkers passed I got lots of thumbs up and comments like “Great to see you back!!!”, “Tara looks fantastic”, “The first boat back gives me hope”, “When will you open I need to get out of my house!”. I was so happy to bring Tara back and the positive energy gave me hope for NYC and for my business.
DTM: You’re the only boat we see now, is there a reason other are not coming back?
DC: As Phase, I approached I returned to North Cove Marina to be prepared to start the season. This decision was not easy, as North Cove Marina is a premier marina in such a unique location, and a seasonal business slip is very costly. I am rolling the dice that NYers will take advantage of a staycation and want to go sailing and book a charter with Tribeca Sailing.
The marina is a mix of seasonal tour businesses, personal boat owners, and transients. The tour business charter companies are a close community and we speak frequently. Due to the dockage costs, lack of tourism, and corporate business bookings many of these charter companies are uncertain when they will reopen as they rely on this revenue to pay for their dockage. Transient boaters usually visit the marina to take advantage of NYC in the warm weather along with wonderful restaurants and shopping. This will hopefully be during the next few phases of opening and you can be certain I will be waiting on the dock to welcome them when they arrive.
DTM: What hours are you open for sail and how do client’s book?
DC: Tribeca Sailing sails five times a day, seven days a week at 10 am, 12:30 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm, and 8:15 pm. Longer sails are available on request. The easiest way to book is by clicking the following link and booking on-line.
DTM: What changes should your customers expect and what protective procedures have you put into place if required? The number of people per sail, social distancing, etc?
DC: I have been following the local authorities and adjusting accordingly. I have purchased extra masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant spray/wipes.
Three major changes are now in effect:
- Private Charters Only. Per Person, booking is no longer available.
Pricing based on; 1-3 guests or 4 to 6 guests
- All passengers must arrive wearing masks and all social distancing requirements apply.
Extra masks will be provided if needed.
- “Tara” is wiped down with disinfectant before and after each sail and hand sanitizer is available. Every night the boat is cleaned with a CDC recommended disinfectant.
DTM: What has been the most difficult thing about this situation for you, and your business?
DC: As a small business with limited resources it is challenging to get the word out to the local resident, we are open for business for a perfect staycation. I rely a lot on my Trip Advisor ratings for referrals and I am grateful for repeat local customers but because tourism is limited bookings are soft. We are a hidden secret and it is time to get the word out.
As NYC re-opens, I am hoping to find locals and day visitors starting to venture into NYC to book an intimate sail around the harbor with Tribeca Sailing. Some might hesitate for a bit, but I am optimistic the locals will want to be outside and finally enjoy this beautiful weather on the water. The most frequent statement I hear is: “I never knew this existed in NYC and I can’t wait to tell my friends and family.” I know you are out there……….
DTM: Is there a silver lining for you from this pandemic?
DC: As a downtown resident I have seen the community come together and support the local neighborhood businesses. I think it is important to maintain a community and watch out for each other. The silver lining is knowing NYC will be back as it is still the greatest city in the world and has even a better view from the water. With the lack of ferries sailing in the harbor is a dream to sail with no traffic and no wakes!
DTM: As we are now hopefully on the downslope of this battle in New York, and discussions have turned to open up our economy, what are your concerns about that and what would you like to see happen, both in society at large and in your regular work environment?
DC: People need to continue to be aware of personal space and their environment. I am proud of how NYC responded to reduce this virus and worked to adhere to the government requirements. Small businesses continue to need support from the community for survival. Please do not ask for a discount, save that question for the larger companies. Go the extra mile and share your experience on social media and refer your friends and family, or just buy a gift certificate. Small acts of kindness will help NYC survive and bounce back as small businesses are its backbone.
DTM: What do you miss most about pre-COVID New York City?
DC: As a long time, NYC resident, I miss the energy that the city provides including the tourist that flock to downtown. As a foodie who misses the great restaurant options in NYC, I can not wait to go back to my favorites which I have also listed on my website.
DTM: Tell us how you got into sailing?DC: When I was 16 years old my mom received a phone call from a friend who was looking for crew for a sailboat race and asked if I would be interested. When she asked me about going, I refused to say “Sailing sounds boring”. She made me go anyway and that race changed my life. Falling in love with the sport, I raced sailboats for the next 30 years. I never thought I would turn that passion into a viable business.
DTM: During your time aboard Tara, Captain David will share facts about New York City, stories about personal experiences, and expert sailing techniques. In short, Captain David wants you to have a good time. He’s a United States Coast Guard Licensed, Master. (Anything you want to add)
DC: As a real NYer I like to bring a local personal aspect to my charters. I love telling stories and giving little known tidbits about the sights and not just a canned speech. People are always asking me about restaurant recommendations and I have devoted an entire section on my website to help them by budget, cuisine, and location.
DTM: What do you like to do in your spare time?
DC: Tribeca Sailing season starts April 1st through the end of November. During the off-season, Tara requires maintenance and winterization. This is also the perfect time to work on website updates etc. When not working on the boat I like to take advantage of new restaurants, go to the theater, and visit museums especially when they are holding a special event that I find interesting.
DTM: What do you love about living in Lower Manhattan?
DC: I love that Battery Park City is so beautiful and tranquil also the energy from visitors to the area. Although I am on the water all day, I still love walking along the promenade. Walking by Alexander Hamilton’s grave and through the Oculus makes me smile and reminds me that Lower Manhattan is such a unique and wonderful destination.
DTM: For anyone reading this who may have dreamed of becoming a ship Captain, what’s it like?
DC: Safety is paramount and thinking of that tropical destination is secondary. People always ask me what it would be like to sail long distances, my reply is that it is hard work. For example, you’re on three-hour shifts, sleep is hard as you are always moving, the food is so-so and then the storm comes in the middle of the night. The reality of being a ship Captain vs the dream is quite different. The reward comes when the wind is perfect, the sun is shining, my customers are a joy and laughter abounds. The great news is that this happens most of the time. I am incredibly lucky to have my passion as my way to earn a living.
DTM: Anything you would like to share with our readers we have not asked?
DC: I have had a very, special guest on board. I received an anonymous phone call asking if I was available to sail and was told to show up at 3 pm for a special guest. Next thing I know the Secret Service showed up and soon thereafter the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie came on board Tara. What an amazing sail we had. They sat on the bow (front of the boat) and enjoyed the spectacular sights of NY Harbor. Before they departed, we had a great personal conversation and they were gracious enough to allow a photo op. I had a real connection to them, and the memory will stay with me forever.
Other fun facts about Tribeca Sailing
- over 200 successful engagements on board (and I still get teary-eyed when it happens)
- location, location, location…always front and center for the Macy’s July 4th fireworks display.
- “Tara” is one of only five 1964 Hinckley Custom Pilot 35s and is the prettiest sailboat in all of New York City.
Set sail on a private or semi-private tour of New York Harbor perfect for: Birthdays, Anniversaries, Engagements, Private Tours, Corporate Team Building
North Cove Marina
225 Liberty Street
Corner of Liberty St. & South End Ave.
Contact: Captain David Caporale
Phone: (917) 593-2281