Our Year in Review: The Top 10 Dockwa Blog Posts of 2021

Post by - Published on 12/06/21 13:30 PM

The Wanderlust Group has hit our goal of 5 million nights booked, and as of December 3rd, we hit $100,000,000 in our total Gross Merchandise Volume.

So, as we wrap up and look towards all the success to come in the new year, we first wanted to look back and reflect on the stories you, our boaters, liked best. From people with outlooks and lifestyles that inspire us to those whose careers serve their communities, industry groundbreakers, legacy redefiners, and more, here are your favorite posts in 2021!

10. Brooklyn Boatworks: NYC Students Build a Boat to Build a Dream

At Dockwa, we aim to expose more people to the joy of boating. That's why we were so captivated by the story of Brooklyn Boat Works. Brooklyn Boatworks (BKBW) is an innovative educational organization for young New Yorkers. Their co-founders, Carl Persak and Jeremy Wurmfeld are naval architects who’ve sought to share their knowledge of boat building and project-based learning with NYC students.

Their goal is to harness "the unique craft of wooden boat building and maritime-centered exploration” to “inspire young people to uncover the confidence, skills, and courage to chart pathways to success in and outside the classroom." 

Click the link to see our entire conversation with Marjorie Schulman, the Executive Director of BKBW. She breaks down their school-year-long boat-building program pictured above. The program enables every type of learner's success and aims to support its students and alumni in school and beyond.


9. The Great Escape: Protecting America's Oldest Recreational Water Trail

"There’s something special about these islands, but they’re incredibly fragile. They’re tiny ecosystems where even the most minor change can have significant consequences. It’s crucial to protect these places so we don’t lose access to these moments of quiet. The best we can hope for is the experiences MITA provides will facilitate or instill a sense of value in the natural world."
The more time spent in nature, the better we are. It’s a thought we, The Wanderlust Group, and Madison Moran, the Communications Manager of the Maine Island Trail Association, share. The Maine Island Trail is a 375-mile water trail that spans Maine’s coast, connecting 246 wild islands and mainland sites. MITA, or the Maine Island Trail Association, is a membership organization responsible for managing the wellbeing of this coastal landmark.
Here, we discuss the importance of protecting America's oldest recreational water trail for generations to come. Click the link above to see our entire conversation with Madison, who explains why it's important to plan times for escape and the role volunteer stewardship plays at the core of MITA's mission.

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8. Great Expectations: Avocet's Guide to a Lifelong Liveaboard Commitment 

"It’s the most sense of pride I’ve ever felt in my life. There’s nothing better than raising the sails, getting over the breakwater, and having dolphins meet you out on the bow... Moments like those remind us why we work so hard to live this way."

Purchasing a sailboat for many is a daunting task, especially if you’re determined to make that boat your home. If your dream is to sail off into crystal blue waters, explore the world, or even become a part-time cruiser, it’s crucial to understand that owning a boat comes with enormous responsibility.

In this installment of our Liveaboard series, Chris, Marissa, and their cat, Cleo of Avocet, explain why though challenging at times, they’re in this for the long haul. They share why it's important to manage your expectations and take your time when you invest in your next watercraft or potential forever home.


7. Staying Salty With Matt and Tami Mullins of Newport Sea Salt Co.

"Making salt is more than just boiling water. Anybody could get a bucket of water and boil it down. There are only a handful of other people doing this up and down the east and west coast. Each way is a little bit different, and you will end up with a diverse product as far as crystal shape, size, and texture. It’s like meatloaf; everyone’s got their recipe."

Matt Mullins is a man who grew up without salt on his kitchen table, yet in 2016, after retiring from a 20-year career as a U.S. Naval Officer, he founded Newport Sea Salt Co. with his wife, Tami. Their business has since grown with local chefs and restaurants buying their products by the pound, 16 vendors across the state, and an e-commerce site where you’ll find specialty blends for your meats, vegetables, and cocktails.

Click in link to see our entire conversation with Matt and Tami Mullins of Newport Sea Salt. Co where they tell us what it takes to start and run a successful business with your first mate. From trying to satisfy a need for fresh, local, and in-season products to navigating their way through the red tape and legal jargon that comes with starting a business, they give us the ins and outs of their reef-to-table journey.

The Mullin Family (177 of 204)-2

6. Injured, Immobilized, Adrift: The Unrelenting Spirit of Abhilash Tomy

“I reach a stage where I can think clearly. I can do what I want to do, and I can be what I want to be without people telling me anything. For the first couple of weeks, you’re still cutting your umbilical ties to the land, but eventually, you experience this immense freedom that only comes when you’re at sea.”

On September 21st, during the 2018 Golden Globe Race, a strenuous 48,000-km solo circumnavigation tournament, Commander Abhilash Tomy, a decorated Indian naval officer, was caught in a gruesome, fast-moving storm. It destroyed his yacht's mast and rendered him injured, immobile, and adrift deep in the Southern Indian Ocean for three days.

A rational person would be hesitant to step foot on a sailboat again after an accident like his, but Abhilash refuses to call his experience a bad one. At least now he has a literal back of steel to accompany his unrelenting spirit. Click the link above to see Abhilash's explanation for why planning to do the race again in 2022 when in his own words, he admits, "This is a race for madmen." 


5. Taking Over the Family Marina to Restore a Legacy: A Homecoming Story

In 1956, Annie Arnest's grandfather, Harry Lee Arnest Jr., purchased an abandoned tomato canning factory and converted it into a marina. It became something like a community center as he sold whatever he could get his hands on until its sale in 1985, two years before Annie's birthdate.

After college, Annie had left Virginia for the livelier streets of Philadelphia and New York City. She spent nearly a decade away from Kinsale, only visiting for long weekends and holidays. However, Annie knew she would eventually make her stay permanent and did just that in May of 2019. Her grandfather's old marina went on the market that following January.

“It was just a dream at that point... But, in the end, it worked out in my favor,” Annie said.

Annie, the new owner of The Slips marina, shares her homecoming story. Click the link to see our entire conversation with Annie, who explains how she made her way back home and reclaimed her family's legacy.

Marina 1970-4

4. First Mates: When Sheila Ruffin is on Deck, She Doesn't Need All Hands

"You're going to have instances where people doubt you. It may even be your family or your friends, but somebody is going to challenge you. In my instance, if you look around the room, the 'yachting industry,' there's no one who looks like me doing what I do. I can’t come into that arena with my head held down, tip-toeing around the yacht shows like I'm afraid. I walk in there like I own every yacht, and when I do that, I get noticed."

In 2019, Sheila Ruffin founded Soca Caribbean Yacht Charters, a boutique travel agency coordinating "personalized, stress-free, all-inclusive yacht vacations" to tropical island destinations. It's the first Black-owned, millennial business of its kind, and Sheila has made it her mission to "reshape the yacht charter industry's perception of luxury travel and yacht enthusiasts."

Here, Sheila discusses her mission to educate both the yachting industry and communities of color. She believes the yachting industry overlooks a potential billion-dollar demographic and explains why communities of color who have the money should look at yachting as a viable vacation option. Plus, Sheila offers her advice to fellow solopreneurs looking to make waves in their respective industries.

Sheila R. Soca YC-36-1

3. Liveaboard: The Valentina's Guide to Buying a Boat and Calling it Home

"The first thing I do in the morning is open the window shade in our kitchen. It sounds super corny, but I take a moment to look at the water and the sky. You have to focus on what you're gaining instead of what you're losing. We used to be people whose nights revolved around watching TV. Now we spend a lot more time, when the weather's good, sitting up on our deck and watching the sunset." 

We know you love your boat, but have you ever thought about selling your home to live on it? If you have, you’re not alone. It's easy to glamorize and reduce the experience to sunsets and fruity cocktails out of a coconut. Still, according to the network of people who've adopted this style of living though overwhelming, it's thrilling and rewarding all at the same time.

From boat pets to small spaces and adjusting her expectations during the global pandemic, Libby, her husband Raul, their cat Nessie and dog Penny, share the ins and outs of the liveaboard lifestyle. Click the link above to get the full story.


2. We Bought a Fixer-Upper: Dead Reckoning’s Guide to Liveaboard Care

“When you’re purchasing a boat, they say to prepare to spend about 10% of the boats’ overall cost every year on maintenance. We kept an open view that something will go wrong or something will need to get replaced. You’re inheriting a set of problems, but you’re able to renovate it and make it your own, which is part of the journey. It makes it fun.”
Suppose you’re buying a boat to reduce stress and to find a way to escape the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. In that case, it may seem redundant to purchase a boat with a list of repairs and projects that’ll need your immediate attention and expendable income. However, for newlyweds and liveaboards Nick, Lee, and their dog Cooper, rather than shelling tens of thousands of dollars out on a brand new craft, they saw it as a chance to make something their own. So, in July of 2020, their family moved onto Orcinius, a 2004 Lagoon 440 F fixer-upper, which they’ve now officially renamed “Dead Reckoning.”
We chat with Nick, who explains why his family prefers their fixer-upper to anything new on the market. Plus, he offers their advice to potential shoppers on purchasing a boat, navigating insurance, and remaining realistic.


1. Bringing Back Bitter End Yacht Club: How to Rebuild a Legacy

"Bitter End is more than just a place; it’s a community of kindred spirits all over the globe who share our same love for the sea."

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the Caribbean and Florida, leaving a path of destruction in their wakes. Among the wreckage lay the Bitter End Yacht Club. Their entire 64 acres of land was obliterated as Irma, the first of the two storms, hovered over the property. Nevertheless, Bitter End plans to reopen to the worldwide maritime community in the winter of 2021, over four years after the disaster.

Click the link above to see our entire conversation with Kerri Jaffe, the CMO of the Bitter End Yacht Club. We take a look back at the legacy of Bitter End, discuss their rebuilding efforts, the launch of the Bitter End Foundation, and get an exclusive look at the new BEYC. 


Quotes have been edited for clarity. Stay up to date with our entire blog and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

What's your story? We’re on a mission to highlight the boating world’s entrepreneurs, small businesses, community organizations, and solo initiatives – drop us a line here to get the ball rolling. 

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