Suntex Marina Investors Raise Capital for Growth

Suntex Marina Investors Raise Capital for Growth

Suntex Marina Investors said this week that it had raised more than $200 million in equity commitments and acquired the assets and personnel of Suntex Waterfront Advisors.  Suntex CEO Jonny Powers said the investment capital means the company is financially poised for rapid growth.  “With the completion of this capital raise, we are financially poised for rapid growth. Increasing our portfolio will not only benefit investors, but we are confident that by extending our high standards of customer service to additional marinas, the boating public will also benefit from the Suntex approach:  Improve the customer experience by offering superior hospitality services that are unique in the marina industry.”

Suntex Marinas company logoSuntex said the combination of equity commitments and third-party debt financing will provide it with more than $500 million of buying power to acquire domestic marinas. Suntex also announced that Bill Anderson, president of Westrec Marinas, has joined the Suntex Board of Directors.  Anderson has more than 30 years of marina industry experience.  Westrec is the largest manager of marinas in the country, with such prestigious assets as the Harbour Towne Marina in Fort Lauderdale and Holiday Marina on Lake Lanier, as well as the management of the Chicago Harbors for the City of Chicago.

Posted by Tom in Destinations, Industry News, Marinas

ActiveCaptain Could be the Wave of the Future

ActiveCaptain Screen Shot of Annapolis, MD-area Marinas

ActiveCaptain Screen Shot of Annapolis, MD-area Marinas

Telling you that ActiveCaptain “could” be the wave of the future is probably a little bit like saying the Internet will “probably be a big thing.”  The truth is, ActiveCaptain already is a fantastic resource for cruisers and passagemakers, but it might actually become something huge — a source of real-time, up-to-the-minute information that your navigation system can access while underway.  That’s saying something and the more ActiveCaptain develops, the less far-fetched it sounds.  But more on that later; let’s see why it’s already worth your time to “become” an ActiveCaptain.

Here’s the scenario; it’ll sound familiar.  You pull into a nice marina.  The docking goes smoothly; lines are all set; there’s good power onto the boat; registration with the dockmaster was a breeze, and it looks like happy hour will be a little earlier than first thought.  You get to talking with your neighbor in the next slip and mention how great this marina is compared to the last one you stayed at.  He looks at you like you have three heads and says, “I can’t believe you even stayed there.  NOBODY stays there!”  Okay, he might have let you down a little more gently, but you feel like an idiot for not knowing something that apparently everybody else already knew.  How do you keep that from happening again?  There’s a simple new answer:  ActiveCaptain, which is a number of things but above all else a repository of reliable, real reports and reviews of more marinas, anchorages and other places than you could ever visit in three boating lifetimes.

ActiveCaptain Balloon Display of Marina Info

ActiveCaptain Balloon Display of Marina Info

ActiveCaptain works by assembling, in a Wikipedia-sort of method, information useful to cruisers in a comprehensive, searchable database, called, for now, the Interctive Cruising Guide (a snazzy, re-vamped version called the ActiveCaptain Explorer wit even more life information, is in preview on the site).  You can find everything from marina reviews, to updated locations of channel and inlet markers, to up-to-the-minute reports on fuel prices — all contributed by registered members of the site and confirmed by ActiveCaptain founders and owners Jeffrey and Karen Siegel.  The Siegels have a number of things going for them.  First is the appetite for up-to-date information on cruising.  Waterway and marina guides in print are fine, as far as they go, but all suffer from latency — the time delay from the gathering of information to the time you buy the guide and read it.  Things, especially lately, can change quickly in the marine industry and ActiveCaptain has no time lag at all, with the exception of the possibility that no member has visited a particular marina lately and reviewed it.  Then again, if nobody is visiting it, you probably aren’t either.

The Siegels are also active cruisers, with a particularly interesting and useful blogthat you should check out.  They’ve traveled many of the waters and waterways covered by ActiveCaptain and their experiences continue to generate enhancements to the website.

Aside from the benefit of knowing you are contributing to a more complete database for cruisers, you can earn “points” with all your contributions of information to the site.  Accumulated points are redeemable in a new company store recently opened at the ActiveCaptain website.  The points allow you to make purchases at the store for select marine goods, such as handheld VHF radios.  The discounts afforded to site members are significant enough to bring prices down below wholesale level; essentially to dealer cost. 

ActiveCaptain Mobile Shown on Cell Phone

ActiveCaptain Mobile Shown on Cell Phone

ActiveCaptain also has a Mobile version that now works on both Palm OS devices (such as my own Palm Centro) and Windows Mobile Professional.  You can get charts for all of the U.S. for less than $50 (raster) and the system works very well.  I recently had to use it when, during a recent boat test, the chartplotter GPS failed and we got lost in the Fort Lauderdale canal maze.  I simply fired up a bluetooth GPS receiver (I’m stuck with Verizon for cell phone service, which deliberately disables GPS on its phones) and we were instantly back in business.

Posted by Tom in Destinations, Passagemaking News, Technology

New Passagemaker Haven in Newport

Forty 1° North is a new luxury destination in Newport, RI

Forty 1° North Main Dock

Cruisers with Newport, Rhode Island, on the itinerary have a new, luxury-class destination to aim for. Forty 1° North boasts a first-class marina and waterfront dining venue. The owners say Forty 1° North was specially designed  “to meet the needs of the sophisticated systems in today’s superyachts, offering both seasonal and transient dockage for yachts ranging from 45 to 250 feet. Partners in the Forty 1° North venture include Dorrance Hamilton, George Moore and Peter Borden.

The marina features new floating docks and electric service up to 480 volts, a requirement of the biggest superyachts. Forty 1° North also has a full program of services, including onboard cleaning, VIP launch, washdowns and pump-outs.  Private indoor and outdoor dining is available, along with ship-side dining service.

The Grill at Forty 1° North

Dining options deluxe at Forty 1° North

Diners at Forty 1° North have a couple of options.  The Grill at Forty 1° North offers open-air bar and restaurant seating. The restaurant was designed to integrate with a large deck area directly above the pier, so diners can eat al fresco while watching the Newport nautical world.  There is also the more casual Christie’s for breakfast and lunch during the summer, and dinner year-round.

Interestingly, Forty 1° North has four rental suites available for guests, and plans a 24-room luxury boutique hotel for 2009.  Forty 1° North has both seasonal and weekly “Guest Programs” that allow house-charging privileges, dinghy dockage and special events access.  If you’re looking for a little pampering on your Newport stop, have a look at Forty 1° North. Details below.


Lat               41 29.00
Long            71 19.00

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Posted by oceanlines in Destinations