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

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