By 11th April, 2020 Blog 13 Comments

From Sand to Surf

I was born and raised in Phoenix, the center of Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun.”  How did a desert rat like myself end up being an owner in the Harbor Sailboats fleet?

Roll back the clock to summer 2017.  My long-time friend and fellow Harbor Sailboats member Paul Fleming invited me to join him for a weekend sail.  We spent two nights on Calliope and since we had such a great time, we decided to make it an annual event.  In 2018, we took out Jasmine, a Beneteau 37, for a weekend cruise.  We anchored one night in Glorietta Bay and the 2nd night in Mission Bay.  Needless to say it was amazing and at this point I was hooked!

Last year, I decided to take the next step of joining the club and took my ASA 101 class in May.  Paul and I did our annual trip last June and spent the weekend on CJ, a Beneteau 35.1.  As a new 101 graduate I was now looking at sailing in a whole new light and decided I wanted to spend a week per month in San Diego to develop my skills.  Once that decision was made, it didn’t take long for me to do the math on travel expenses, charter costs, etc. so  I sat down with Keenan and shared my goals with him.  We started working together on longer term solutions which led me eventually to purchase Kayleigh, a Beneteau 34.

I never would have taken the step of purchasing a boat had it not been for the support of Harbor Sailboats.  Not only did Keenan make the process simple, smooth and professional, but since I live in Phoenix I also know that I have a professional team taking care of Kayleigh when I’m not in town.  The “icing on the cake” is all the wonderful friends I’ve made at the club and the many great memories I’ve made so far.


We all sail for different reasons, in closing here are my top 3:


  1. Health — Being on the water brings me a sense of serenity.  I never cease to be amazed by such sights as whales, dolphins and the other sea life.  This, in turn, brings out a sense of thankfulness in me that I believe is key to keeping a positive outlook on life.  And a positive outlook is healthy!


  1. Friendship — I alluded to this above, but my world has been made better through the great people I’ve met through the club.  From instructors, staff, and fellow sailors, the journey has been amazing and there are a lot of you that I haven’t even met yet!  So I’m looking forward to that in the days ahead!


  1. Adventure — For me, sailing was a bit of a personal challenge and a stretch.  Honestly, I was a bit afraid of it, never having spent much time on the water.  By facing those misgivings, both my confidence and enjoyment have increased tremendously. Now I can’t wait for my next adventure!


So what’s on the horizon for 2020?  This year, my sailing goals are to pass my ASA 104, and to also earn my Basic Keelboat Instructor’s certification (ASA 201).  In a few years, I hope to be able to earn my Coast Guard captains license.

Marv McCarthy


  • Gina April 13, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Bravo Marv! I moved from Phoenix to San Diego in 2018 with high hopes of being able to sail more .. so far, I’ve been very fortunate not only to get out on the water, but even more so for meeting so many great people – even when I’m just getting coffee at the deli! Looking forward to more posts and more sailings!


  • Patti April 13, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Marvelous! Marv I love reading about your journey into the wild blue! Keep it up!


  • Victor J Kelly, Sr April 13, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    Well-written. As your former HS English teacher, I’d have to grant you one of my sparingly-given an “A+”.


    • Marv McCarthy April 15, 2020 at 8:45 am

      Thank you Mr. Kelly, I remember how sparsely those “A+” grades were handed out. I sweated over them more than once! Thank you for taking time to visit the site and read the blog!


  • Duane April 13, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    You are living my dream. I plan on getting something big enough for blue water cruising around the Caribbean. But I should really get certified first which will happen in San Diego.


    • Marv McCarthy April 14, 2020 at 9:04 am

      Thank you, Duane, I highly encourage the certification process. I am so much more confident because of it! Thank you for taking time to leave a comment.


  • Dale L. April 13, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Marv, so great to hear the enjoyment you are getting from your new adventure. I know nothing about sailing but it sounds fun.


  • Ann Marie April 14, 2020 at 5:14 am


    You chose a great way to spend your newly discovered free time and it is inspiring to see that you have found a way to integrate it into a service that others can enjoy as well.

    Enjoy being on the water this summer and fall.

    Ann Marie


  • Tom Wilson April 20, 2020 at 3:49 pm

    Nice hearing about your reasons for ownership Marv. Your boat has been our favorite since we started chartering with Harbor Sailboats in 2017. Like you, I grew up inland (Colorado), but have a deep love for the ocean. I owned several boats here and have followed through with my certifications to 105. Rest assured when we have her helm she is being treated with love and respect. Hope to meet you in person when this war with the virus is over. We also think the staff at Harbor are the best.

    Tom Wilson


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