Hornet Marine President David Hartmann got his taste for boat design from his father, Hal, an engineer who helped create the smooth-riding deep-vee hull now included on each Hornet 17 speedboat. Today, the 17-foot seacrafts zip through the water with help from Mercury MerCruiser engines, each carrying up to five passengers perched on custom upholstery. Hornet Marine invites landlubbers on factory tours and test drives at its headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, where a staff of nautical experts also keep ships shipshape with oil changes, detailing, and other boat-maintenance services.
Schooner Inc began in 1975 as a means to highlight the plight of the Long Island Sound and to help amplify the positive difference that the Clean Water Act was starting to make in US waters. Today, the company connects more than 8,000 people each year to the beauty and history of New Haven Harbor via public sails, summer camps, and educational programs.
For the last 23 years, the Quinnipiack—central Connecticut's only traditionally rigged tall ship—has hosted hands-on marine experiences for kids and adults. The New Haven mayor has officially decreed the schooner to be the city's flagship, as well as the ship Most Likely to Wear Couture Sails. The spacious boat was named to honor the Native Americans who inhabited the region and is helmed by an experienced and friendly crew.
Overseeing more than 22 New England locations, Jack Brewer—a lifelong sailor—has tended to boats and provided peace of mind for their owners for nearly 50 years. At their 50-acre marina community, Brewer Pilots Point Marina’s year-round staff works to keep the family-friendly facility’s swimming pool, restaurant, clubhouse, and more than 800 boat slips in ship shape. Sailing schools for juniors teach recreational and competitive skills, and adult-oriented classes introduce students to sailing or help them brush-up on hoisting sails, maneuvering, and reading the wind based on the ripples in a pitcher of beer. Summer slips and events offer boating and entertainment through the warmer months, and indoor-storage options keep skiffs safe from Old Man Winter’s icy beard-cicles.
The Boat Locker, founded in 1957, continues to furnish all manners of outdoor activities with boats and boating gear alongside an extensive stock of snowboards, standup paddleboards, and accessories. Careen across wintry slopes or down carpeted escalators atop a selection of Arbor snowboards ($299+) while outfitted in Burton boots, binding, and apparel ($20+). Standup paddleboards ($799+) surf down shores while sets of Anon goggles ($65+) shield eyes from chilly mountain breezes. The protective lenses of pairs of Kaenon, Maui Jim, Oakley and Gill sunglasses ($70+) safeguard wearers’ mugs against harsh elements when snowboarding or after accidentally falling face-first into the office koi pond.
A new graduate of Martin van Breems' Basic Keelboat course out on his first sail was pounded by driving rain and battered by winds raging at almost 35 miles per hour, but he kept his cool. When his fellow sailors found him, his jib was rolled, his main was reefed, and Breems recalls that it, "felt pretty darn good to see him doing exactly what he should have done in difficult conditions, instead of panicking."
Founded in 1986, Sound Sailing Center’s expert sailors introduce students to the Sound during their professional-quality classes. Their instruction philosophy ensures the proper learning environment for each student with classes that span several days with fewer students per class and a fleet equipped for single-handed sailing. The center also offers a variety of membership options.
Jim Scoggins first felt the rocking of a ship's deck in the 1950s on the rolling waters of Lake Champlain. Though he traveled south and found himself in healthcare administration for the next few decades, he never lost the passion for sailing—and eventually returned to New England to conquer more waves in the 1980s. With Sail the Sounds LLC established at three local ports, Captain Jim now uses his original sailing craft, an O'Day 39, as part of his training and charter fleet. He and his wife, Teresa, helm an ASA-certified training center, charter service, and cruising club to set guests out on the sparkling waters of Mystic River and Mystic Harbor. Captains pilot three Hunter yachts for chartered trips, as well as six Hunter 240 sailboats for captain rentals, sailing-club events, and classes teaching technique for keelboats, coastal navigation, and safely chartering parties of water-fearing cats.