The sun warms your face as the gentle summer winds that pass keep you cool. You’re gliding within a few feet to a few inches from water, and all you hear is the wind occasionally whipping the sails as it propels you into an adventure with no set destination in mind, but no matter where you are, you’re instantly transported into vacation mode. It’s all about you, some great company, and the sea, until the sound of a siren or a helicopter snaps you back to reality for a second, reminding you that you haven’t gone very far at all, as you’re still surrounded by the sounds of the city. But it doesn’t take much to bring you back to a feeling of relaxation as you cruise through Jamaica Bay aboard the schooner, Deliverance, the new sailboat from Yacht Rock Charters, delivering you to a temporary escape.
If you’ve looked out on Jamaica Bay recently, it’s hard to miss the beautiful sailboat making its way through the bay. Set it to the backdrop of a colorful sunset and the city skyline, and you have a picture perfect scene almost out of a dream, which many have recently caught on camera. The main subject at hand is Deliverance, a nearly 40-foot schooner being chartered for weekend escapes, day tours and quick trips to give people a taste of what it’s like to go sailing.
For those that operate Yacht Rock Charters, sailing has not only become a method of transportation, but a way of life. After being hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, losing everything in their first-floor apartment on Beach 102nd Street, the Astin family figured, if you can’t beat the sea, why not join it? And that’s just what Jarad and Christel Astin did, with their two young daughters, setting out to the sea in the fall of 2013, to pursue a longtime dream of living on a boat and playing their music around the Caribbean. As the music duo, Stell & Snuggs, they brought their musical talent down south for the winters while strengthening their sea legs on board their new home, a 43-foot C&C sloop sailboat called Catherine. And in the summers, they made their way back to Rockaway.
Last summer, they started to take a chance on a new adventure—chartering their sailboat. They started out chartering Catherine but quickly ran into an obstacle that would limit their business—the Cross Bay Bridge. The boat that served as the Astin’s home proved too big to safely pass under during high tides. So Jarad started looking for other vessels that could win the game of bridge limbo. The answer was Deliverance—a nearly 40-foot, steel hull schooner, designed in the ‘50s and built in the ‘80s, offering ample deck space for people to relax on, and four sails short enough to traverse the water under the bridge during all tides. The Astins purchased the boat about two months ago, and it’s been delivering like a dream ever since.
Spending several months living together on a boat, there’s no doubt the Astins grew close, and with their new adventure, they’re keeping it in the family. You’ll either find Captain Jarad, his first mate, Christel, or even their now 17-year-old daughter, Arden at the helm, with appearances by young sailor, Riley, and even their cat, “Cat-tain Jackson,” who breaks the stereotype that cats hate water.
For Arden, operating the boat is an ideal summer gig, but it’s also practice for the future, and a way for her to sail into her dreams. Arden hopes to attend maritime college, and Deliverance is playing a big role in that. “We’re trying to set up some business opportunity to help fund that dream and this boat is a big part of it,” Jarad said as his daughter set up the sails, making it look effortless.
Meanwhile, the Astins are still perusing their “day-jobs” of playing music. Their new partnership with Thai Rock has been a match made in nautical heaven, with Thai Rock and Rockaway Jet Ski owner, Robert Kaskel, allowing them to operate Yacht Rock Charters on the bay, while providing them with a Monday night residency to perform their music at the restaurant. “Thai Rock is one of the best music venues in Rockaway, so we would play here and I started talking to Robert and brought up the chartering idea. Robert is the only person on the bay that’s really doing any water activities here and he’s a great guy who’s always been excited about new opportunities for the water, so he got on board. He’s got the dock, I got the boat, and it’s worked out great,” Jarad said.
Deliverance floats upon the bay behind Thai Rock, but you don’t have to jump in the water to get to her. A little skiff called Turtle does the job, transporting you from the Rockaway Jet Ski docks to the sailboat, without getting wet. And then you begin your own adventure. Yacht Rock Charters offers day sailing tours from three to five hours, two-hour sunset tours, nine-hour offshore adventures, fireworks tours to see the Macy’s July 4th fireworks or the weekly Friday night fireworks in Coney Island, and even weekends at sea, letting people experience a longer getaway along the coast. Also, serving a bigger purpose for the fleet than a tender, Turtle can be used for birding tours and adventures to secret beach areas. No matter what you do, the adventure is yours and it is what you make it.
And Deliverance has made Rockaway hers. Growing in popularity, the new neighbor at sea is becoming a promotional draw for the neighborhood and local businesses. Yacht Rock Charters has engaged in cross-promotion with fellow businesses, with the boat being used for photoshoots with Rockaway Candle Co, Zingara Vintage and more, and on board, you’ll find a cooler full of Rockaway Brewing Co. brews for your drinking pleasure, as if you needed more reason to feel relaxed upon your sailing adventure.
For more information about Yacht Rock Charters or to book your own sailing, head to www.yachtrockcharters.com. Happy sails!BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS