Traverse City, MI, March 27, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- Twenty years of salt and fresh water sailing has left Captain Dave Conrad with an unusual log of marine experience and adventures in both Northern and Southern climes.
He’s counting on all of that and a good crew this spring as he launches Solstice Sailing Company, a full-service charter company and sailing school located on West Grand Traverse Bay. The new business will offer Great Lakes and Caribbean sailing instruction and charters, and ASA certified sailing instruction.
Most importantly, the instruction will be tailored to students’ schedules.
“Traditional sail instruction is done in blocks of time consisting of several days,” explains Dave. “We’re offering instruction that is designed to fit people’s busy schedules, starting with basic weekend or evening sessions, and even four to seven day live-aboard learning vacations. Our goal is to get families and friends sailing together. Sailing teaches a skill and creates a bond that bring parents and kids together, as well as social groups. We make it easy, affordable, and we want everyone to feel comfortable on the water so they can enjoy the total sailing experience.”
Solstice Sailing’s inventory is getting a jump start with a well maintained fleet of mono-hulls and catamarans. They range in size from 26 feet to 50 feet and will be berthed at the company’s main West Bay location off M-22 in Greilickville. The Center Pointe location provides easy access to the prime sailing waters of Grand Traverse Bay, Little Traverse Bay, the Beaver Island archipelago and the Manitous.
A second location in Cheboygan is close to Mackinac Island, the Les Cheneaux Islands and the North Channel, a famed boating area that traditionally is listed among the world’s top ten sailing waters.
In addition to Great Lakes sailing, as a member of CYBA (Charter Yacht Broker Association), Solstice Sailing is a one-stop shop for Virgin Islands yacht charters; bareboats, crewed yachts, travel information and more. These include warm-water partners in St. Martin, Antigua, St. Lucia, the Grenadines, Belize and many other great Caribbean locations. The personal contacts and partnerships Conrad made during his years of captaining and chartering in the Caribbean allow each charter to be customized and coordinated with a high level of confidence.
“Having lived in the Caribbean, sailed its waters and worked with many of the charter companies there, we’re able to offer a first-hand and more detailed experience,” he notes. “That knowledge is something we can pass on to our customers, allowing them to have a hassle-free planning experience with no surprises upon arrival. We can refer them to top-notch charters with the assurance they’ll be professionally serviced.”
For the qualified bareboat charterer looking to head south, Solstice offers catamarans, monohulls, and even powerboats through its partner companies in the Caribbean. For those that prefer to sit back and let a captain and crew handle the boat, Solstice represents over 120 all-inclusive crewed yachts in the Caribbean that will create cruising itineraries, watersport activities and more - to fully customize a guest’s charter experience. “I’ve personally met the crews, flown the sails, and been in the bilge of most every boat we represent,” says Captain Conrad.
On the Great Lakes, the company will provide itineraries that include great local restaurants and wine tasting venues in harbor towns, as well as island exploring and pristine anchorages. For active boaters, Solstice will arrange rendezvous shipwreck scuba dives, or provide kayaks and snorkel gear. “A standard chart briefing can morph into story time since we can’t help sharing some of the memorable experiences we’ve had with charters,” says Conrad.
The Solstice Sailing School is introducing new courses on radar, GPS operation and coastal navigation. These are taught both on the water and in a classroom setting using simulators. A wide array of on-the-water instruction includes refresher courses, basic to advanced keelboat sailing, bareboat chartering, and docking and harbor handling for power and sailboats. A popular catamaran cruising course is also offered aboard a large, stable Island Spirit 40 for those looking to make the transition from monohull to cat.
“We want to make the boating experience unforgettable and a true hands-on vacation,” says Conrad. “Whether someone is looking for a learning vacation or a chance to relax and be on the water, we can offer that. And we will do whatever it takes to make their experience memorable.”
For a full list of ASA Sailing School class offerings, as well as more information on charters and fleet of boats, please visit solsticesailing.com or call Dave Conrad at 231.360.9819.