With the winter season in full force across the U.S., SailTime base owners in the Northern States are fully engaged with their off-season activities. Every SailTime base has specific procedures in place when it comes to the winter months. While some tasks are similar for base owners, depending on where they are located, owners have different methods when it comes to the offseason.Ryan Remsing, base manager of SailTime Chicago, wrapped up the season in October. The first task his crew tackles is moving the boats out of the water. Once the vessels are on land, his team conducts a deep clean for each boat. When that’s complete, they winterize the fleet with various measures like pumping antifreeze through all the water systems onboard to ensure the boats stay protected during the cold months. Remsing transports his boats to Wisconsin once they are fully winterized and his fleet will be stored there until next season. For SailTime Boston co-owner, Paul Sullivan, he also begins his process by winterizing and shrink wrapping his fleet. In order to keep vessels operational for the entirety of the season, bases spend the off-season months doing non-essential maintenance. During this time, Remsing and his team focus on several projects such as restitching all the sails to prepare for the summer season.
SailTime Detroit owner Dave Conrad is in the same boat — the winterizing process. For Conrad, the two aspects they shift their focus to is refurbishing and winterizing the vessels. He has a crew of six working throughout the winter months to ensure the boats are ready for the next year.The winter months are a key planning period for Remsing. He focuses on new procedures for the upcoming season, selling memberships, and looking for new opportunities to participate in boat shows. “The winter season is a perfect time to pause and reflect on the services we provide for our members,” Remsing said. “Throughout the season we will take notes on what worked and what didn’t, so we have a list to review before heading into next season. This is a critical time for SailTime Chicago as we work on new programs, procedures and any improvements we need to implement for the new year.”
While his crew works to maintain the boats, Conrad turns his attention to developing administrative and marketing plans for the 2022 sailing season.
“Many people think base owners relax during the winter months, but that’s not the case at all,” says Conrad. “We are busy preparing. This is the best time to revamp our methods, update our operations manual for the boats, revise our policies, perfect our sailing training procedures, and work on new ways to enhance our teaching methods. We never go into hibernation as the winter months are extremely hectic. While we’re not on the water, we’re fielding calls for those looking to become members to sail in 2022.”While local vessels are stored away, seasonal base members still have the opportunity through SailTime Plus programs to travel to other bases that keep their boats in the water year-round. Many members travel to San Diego, Houston, throughout Florida and other locations to continue sailing during this time. While some base owners stay local during the winter, Sullivan of Boston is unique in that he travels to St. Thomas. During the winter months, he continues to teach sailing lessons. SailTime base owners like Sullivan cover a wide territory which is critical to keep his members active and engaged. Sullivan adds that many captains, instructors, and members travel south during the winter anywhere from Florida to the Caribbean to continue enjoying the perks of being a SailTime member.
“While many boats are stored away for the cold winter months, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our work in St. Thomas,” Sullivan said. “We already have a waiting list for our SailTime memberships in 2022. I’m eager to continue growing our base while expanding programs within our facility. Although my base is in Boston, it’s exciting to know I have the ability to use my skills throughout the year in the Caribbean.”All three SailTime bases in Chicago, Detroit and Boston will have their boats back in the water by April to welcome members in May.
“Our SailTime base owners are all hands-on deck throughout the year,” said Todd Hess, SailTime Group’s CEO. “It’s critical during this time to ensure all vessels are properly cared for and winterized when taken out of the water. Ryan, Dave and Paul are prime examples of the innovative leadership we have at SailTime. They are always looking for diverse ways to keep our members involved, and we are thrilled to see what the 2022 sailing season will look like in a few months.”