As a kid, Nick earned his pocket money by working in the local marina, detailing and bottom painting boats. While time led to other careers, he ventured back to boats when a coworker asked for assistance, helping Nick rediscover a passion for the work. He soon opened his own boat-detailing business, Bottoms Up Detail, only he didn't stop there. One customer asked about a car. More wondered if Nick did motorcycles, trucks, homes, or trailers. Today, with four mobile truck cleaning teams and a state-of-the-art 2,000-square-foot cleaning facility, Nick and his staff tackle any job that comes their way.
Boating in Boston drops anchor at seven area locations?including local lakes, ponds, and Boston Harbor?helping visitors to undertake watery adventures with a fleet of more than 200 canoes, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, and paddleboards. Whether navigating the gentle eddies of Stoneham's Spot Pond or searching for the feral water-polo team rumored to inhabit Wakefield's Lake Quannapowitt, visitors can hit the water untrained or gain new proficiency with solo or group lessons. The crew of instructors also instills a love of boating in the littlest buccaneers with youth summer camps that teach basic skills and safety.
Gray-hulled naval ships sit stoically by weathered docks, as sailboats and yachts dart to and fro in graceful traffic. The tide ebbs and flows around islands, piers, and against harbor walls under the Boston skyline. Hestia Cruises' four ships glide among this nautical throng, carving wakes across the busy waters on seasonal cruises in the morning, afternoon, at sunset, or under the light of the moon. As the classic 1948 motor yacht Full Moon rumbles through the water, on-board tour guides divulge facts about harbor history and point out ideal landmarks to photograph. The ship's open decks host passengers for sightseeing tours, and its staff also guides morning cruises with massage services or yoga classes, evening voyages with wine and whiskey tastings, and photo-shoot cruises.
Captains also ferry visitors past harbor sights on an EPA-acclaimed private catamaran or the 32-foot Catalina sailboat Hestia, where passengers can help pull lines, unfurl the main sail, and make a mix-tape of sea shanties. They also pilot a rigid inflatable boat—built to Navy Seal specifications—for adventures to far ends of the harbor at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The speedy craft lies low to the water, letting passengers feel the harbor's salty spray while hunched securely on saddle-style jockey seats.
RIB Adventure Tours conduct informative history tours and scavenger hunts around Baltimore Harbor, even when the horizon becomes a blur; all tours take place aboard 26-foot-long rigid, inflatable speedboats. Built to Navy SEAL specifications by a local Massachusetts boat manufacturer, the boats keep riders secure aboard jockey seats. On guided history tours, passengers snag high-speed glimpses of harbor landmarks including lighthouses and forts, whose history guides can expound upon. During scavenger hunts, guides prompt passengers to look for environmental clues and give individual scores. Captains and tour guides brief passengers on safety before all excursions and supply them with high-grade waterproof cameras to take pictures of passing scenery.
More relaxed cruises from partner Hestia Cruises, onboard the 32-foot sailing yacht Hestia, might drift past the USS Constitution or out into the outer harbor. The ship is manned by a captain, a full crew, and friendly cocker spaniel named Ensign. Guests can help with the sailing duties, but padded seats and a BYOB policy for those of age may encourage them to sit back and relax.
Docked adjacent to the New England Aquarium, the Liberty Star and the Liberty Clipper look distinguished. The Liberty Star measures 67 feet long and can hold up to 39 passengers, and the Liberty Clipper measures 125 feet long with a capacity for up to 100 passengers. The massive schooner is an authentic replica of an 18th-century Baltimore clipper ship, thoroughly modernized to transport passengers on Boston Harbor sails and longer private charters. They sail daily throughout the harbor for public and group outings, along with private charters for special events, such as weddings or corporate proms. For a longer respite, they hoist the sails and steer southwards where the Liberty Clipper sails the Bahamas and the Liberty Star sails the Virgin Islands on adventure sailing vacations.
Head instructor Francois Asselin has guided Boston Sailing Center's neophytes to seaworthiness for more than 15 years, with his programs reaching more than 400 students annually. Mr. Asselin and his cadre of nine other sailing instructors take small groups onto the water to provide hands-on experience with the ropes, sails, steering, and maintenance of sailboats. Together, they introduce the science of seamanship or sharpen the skills of experienced sailors so they can eventually set sail on their own with a complete mastery over wind, water, and doing jumping jacks with a peg leg.
Boston Sailing Center owns an armada of vessels, which, in addition to lessons, may be rented for on-the-water events or lent out to members for regular sailing. Skippers conduct tours of Boston Harbor's skyline, stopping at scenic islands for impromptu picnics or to let parents maroon angst-ridden teenagers.