From the Helm...

December 2023 | #5

Gratitude is a compass that points us toward the true north of our hearts, steadying our inner course, and reminding us of the enduring love that binds us together, while creating a legacy that sails through the generations. Gratitude transcends thankfulness; it is a practice and way of life that embraces both joy and lessons learned. During times of challenge, our collective strength becomes a source of inspiration, reminding us that we are not alone on this voyage of life.


As we reflect on life through the lens of Merri-Mar, we are often reminded of our humble beginnings and the legacy Wally and Ruthann started almost 68 years ago when they “dropped anchor” in Newburyport, building the MMYB from scratch. The dedication to their vision, “can do” approach, and commitment to passing down a shared love for life on the water endure. 


We extend our gratitude to our hard-working crew, who keep marina operations humming year-round. And to you, members of our extended family, we express heartfelt appreciation for your continued support, business, and friendship.


From our family to yours, we wish you joy, good health, and Fair Winds & a Following Sea this holiday season.


With gratitude,




8 AM - 5 PM




SAT DEC 16 -




Congratulations Are In Order

Brandon Crushes CPYB Exam

Huge kudos go out to our own Brandon Crigger for earning his certification as a Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB).  This credential is the mark of excellence for yacht sales professionals throughout North America. CPYB brokers have to achieve certain milestones while apprenticing for three years, prior to successfully passing a three-hour exam. The exam tests their skills and knowledge as yacht sales professionals, with a commitment to uphold industry standards of skill, competence, and character in service to their clients.

So what led up to this achievement? Brandon's deep connection with water is rooted in his beginnings, growing up in Michigan's Great Lakes Region, developing a passion for fishing and water sports at an early age.  His career started in construction with a degree in Construction Management in Michigan, but his love for the ocean led him to Ft. Lauderdale in 2006, where he launched his career in the maritime industry. He earned his Master Scuba Diver status and a 100-ton USCG License, in Ft. Lauderdale, then set off on an 8-year global adventure aboard private Motor Yachts, clocking 150,000+ nautical miles, traversing Italy, Greece, Turkey, and the Bahamas and Caribbean. He then headed to New England, where he met his wife Nicole and her dog Hani, and here he stayed! Before joining Merri-Mar, he spent 3 years as captain & crew with Coastal Discoveries in Newburyport. Brandon has been an integral member of the MMYB Team for seven years.  His diverse and global maritime experience, combined with integrity and a genuine affinity for all things maritime, offers clients a deep understanding of what it takes to match a new owner with their dream boat. Brandon lives in Stratham NH with his wife Nicole, two sons Chase and Cameron, and companion Hani. 


Around the Yard

Dockside Send-off for RED SKY

Outta Here

RED SKY - Chesapeake Bay

Maya, Gary & Laura

RED SKY Bon Voyage


On Wednesday, November 1st, under cloudy skies, RED SKY, a Caliber 40 LRC owned by Gary Gastman, left port for a much-anticipated voyage – destination Antigua. A small group of family and friends gathered on the Merri-Mar docks to offer bon voyage wishes. The plan was to hit Newport, then Bermuda, pulling into Antigua by mid-November. Gary had two captains on board and a friend from the American Yacht Club (AYC) as crew. This wasn’t RED SKY’s first jaunt to the Caribbean. Gary, his wife Laura, and two daughters had a similar sailing adventure back when the girls were babies. Two decades later, Gary and Laura decided it was time to change things up. After 25+ years in the psychology field and an 8-year tenure at a local mental health service provider, Gary finally retired. At the same time, Laura closed her psychology practice, they rented their home in Newburyport and geared up for their next phase of life, sailing in warmer waters.


For years Gary has hoped to settle into the MMYB community, but the timing was never quite there and his membership at the AYC was tradition. Over the years MMYB provided parts and maintenance for RED SKY including an engine overhaul in 2000. This year, when he decided to head south, timing was also a factor as he had to be off his mooring at the AYC, needed to do some necessary DIY repairs for the trip, and had about a two-week window before they headed out. “We don’t know what we would have done without Merri-Mar,” Gary remarked. “Not only have they been so accommodating, letting us stay on a mooring & dock, but Billy was a tremendous resource and coach as I tackled DIY projects. Plus, Jay Jr. modified a wind generator kit that didn’t fit. Our departure schedule would have been thrown way off if we had to reorder and wait for the part.”


So, what do they say about best-laid plans? Something along the lines of s**t happens on boats. Gary checked in a few days ago. After 2 weeks in Hampton VA dealing with many issues related to “fuel schmutz”, and changing out the captain & crew, he planed to head out again with hopes of landing in Antigua on December 18th or 19th. We look forward to hearing from RED SKY when she is safely under Caribbean skies.

Knot Kidding

Fun Facts about MMYB

Did you know that...

...Merri-Mar is Latin for Joyful Sea? We are so grateful for Wally & Ruthann’s hard work and forethought to name the marina Merri-Mar Yacht Basin. Their legacy has brought joy and will continue to bring joy to the lives of so many people well into the future.

Boat Projects?

Stop in, call us at 978.465.3022, or email Billy at

Ship's Store Holiday Ideas

MERRI-MAR Gift Cards

For those hard to buy for boaters!

Guy Cotten Gear!


•MMYB Gift Cards

•Guy Cotten Hats

•Eldridge T&P Book

•Wicked Warm Socks

•Chart Sleeves

•Sun Shirts

ACR Electronic

•Resqflare & Flag res

•KD Mason - Jack Beale Novel

Endangered Species by David Goethel

Kanberra Tea Tree &

Essential Oil Products

This MMYB favorite is an all-natural indoor air quality improvement line that can be used at home too! 

Gel tubs & refill pouches



Premium Soaps

Essential Oils

Get the deals while supplies last!

~last shopping day before Winter Break is this Friday December 15~

Write of Way

Meet Author KD Mason aka Doug Zechel

Good friend and long-time fan of Merri-Mar Yacht Basin, Doug Zechel aka KD Mason, is probably best recognized as the author of the Jack Beale Mystery Series. The soon-to-be 13-book series is staged primarily within driving distance from Rye Harbor NH, and is based loosely on the “shenanigans” of the characters who passed through Saunders, a sorely missed waterfront restaurant and hangout on Rye Harbor that Doug owned for 38 years. Jack Beale, the series’ central personality, is a runner, an avid sailor, and regular-guy-hero, who was the wine-infused brainchild of Doug and his bartender and great friend from the Saunders’ Days.

In a recent sit-down with Doug, we got to know a little bit about what makes KD Mason tick.

  • Did you grow up in Rye? A little bio info would be great. I did not grow up in Rye, however, owned Saunders at Rye Harbor for from 1972 to until closing the restaurant in 2010. All those years gave me plenty of ideas for stories. I have lived in Greenland, NH since 1975, and still live there. After graduating from UNH in 1971, I worked for a year at Dion’s Yacht Yard in Kittery, ME. In the spring of 1972, the opportunity to go into the restaurant business arose, and I, with no experience, said “sure, why not.” The learning curve was steep as the former owners of Saunders agreed to teach me everything over that first summer. Over time the restaurant expanded in size, the outdoor deck was added, and was one of the first, if not the first, in the NH Seacoast. It became the home of the reggae band Islandside who played there every Sunday until Saunders closed. Countless weddings were hosted at the restaurant and to this day I run into people who thank me for their weddings, other special occasions, and those incredible Reggae Sundays.


  • Can you speak to your love for sailing, and connections to the salty stuff? I first learned to sail at a summer camp when I was in High School. The seed was planted and I have been a lifelong sailor since. My current boat is a Fontaine Pajot Tobago 35 catamaran named Smilin’ Wide, which I have owned since 1999. For the first 9 years that I owned the boat, she was based in Belize with TMM Yacht Charters. During that time, we enjoyed some of the most fabulous sailing adventures as we visited the boat twice a year. She survived 3 hurricanes and in 2009 it was time to retire from chartering. I joined the delivery captain as crew for the sail from Belize to Key West. Work called so he and his wife brought the boat the rest of the way up to Rye Harbor. Now, most of my sailing time is with short daysails centered to and around the Isles of Shoals


  • So you have written 12 books? Could you share the name of your next book so we can tell folks to be on the lookout? When I knew that the restaurant would be closing, my bartender who had worked for me off and on for most of the time I had the restaurant and I, fueled with too much red wine after work one night decided to write a book together, based on all the shenanigans we had seen in the restaurant over the years. That, like learning the restaurant business, was a steep learning curve. When Harbor Ice came out in 2009, and I realized how much fun writing was, the decision was made to continue, and it seemed reasonable to write a book a year. I kept the same core group of characters, and now we follow their lives. They are just ordinary people who have a knack for finding trouble or it finding them. These stories of Mystery, Suspense, and Romance are compelling reads and have garnered a loyal following. The thirteenth book in the series is well underway and I am working hard to have it out by the holidays. Titles are always one of the last things I figure out, so for now—Number 13 will have to do.


  • Was Jack Beale’s character based on anyone in particular? Jack Beale is not based on any one person. However, like all characters, he's a melding of many people whose lives have touched mine over the years, AND that, with a healthy dose of imagination has resulted in characters in a world that is a lot more fun than the one we are living in.


  • When did you first connect with Merri-Mar? Any thoughts to share about Merri-Mar..the place, people, vibe? Merri-Mar came into my life when Smilin’ Wide arrived in New England. Billy (service department), has been so helpful and generous with his time and patience in helping me with all things Yanmar. I’ve never been afraid to tackle projects outside my comfort zone and he gave me the confidence to try. I can’t say enough about the service and the friendliness I’ve experienced working with Merri-Mar. [SIDE NOTE: Doug works for one of MMYB’s “competitors” in the marine business and has great fun sending many customers to see Billy for parts and/or coaching.]

We are planning an Author’s Night and book signing

here at Merri-Mar when "Number 13" is released.  Stay Tuned!





On the evening November 2nd long-time MMYB family member and author David Geothel was a guest author sharing his newly released book Endangered Species, a chronicle of his extraordinary life as a small boat commercial fisherman and advocate for for reality-based sustainable fishing practices. A small crowd gathered as David shared stories as only he could tell them, signed books, and led an engaging Q&A on the challenges of science-based fishery management. 

This was the first education-based event in our new headquarters. Stay tuned for more in 2024!





Let's Talk Boat Sales

As we near the end of the year, we are reminded of the many happy buyers and sellers we had the privilege of working with throughout 2023.  Closings come with a smile and often new friendships. We are so grateful to each of you for placing your trust in us. Thank you!


It might seem like the off-season for boating but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a buzz of boat activity in the works now. We are showing boats, taking on new listings, and thinking about the New England Boat Show in January. If you are thinking about buying or selling or both in 2024, here are a few things to think about:


INTEREST RATES: Rumors out there suggest that interest rates will drop. This makes for a great time to start shopping for competitive boat financing so you are ready when the time is right.


MOTIVATED BUYERS & SELLERS: If you are trying to buy, you want to find your new boat, sea trial, and close in enough time to enjoy the Spring Splash! Sellers are often motivated during the winter months – they might be looking for their next boat! For Sellers, the sooner you list the better (we can help!). Inventory is limited, reducing the competition for comparable boats when the season opens up and inventory expands


BOAT “REAL ESTATE” AS PART OF THE DEAL: A newer challenge that comes along with boating is “Where are you going to put it” or “Where are you going to store it”? Throngs of boatyards along the New England coast are being sold to developers for a variety of reasons that have little to do with moorings, dockage &/or winter storage. Boat “real estate” is increasingly in demand and often a huge part of the conversation. This presents opportunities to include “real estate” as part of the transaction. Perhaps a boat is winter storage and the fee can be pro-rated or the value of the storage as part of the negotiation. Perhaps a seller has had a dockage or a mooring for years, it may be transferrable, making the deal even sweeter for the prospective buyer.


Call, email, or stop by the Brokerage Office to start the conversation.

Reach out to Brandon or Cari


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Ocean 48 Super Sport


GREAT WHITE - The Ocean 48 Super Sport is well known as a popular sportfishing vessel that combines rugged blue-water construction with performance, speed, range and luxurious accommodationsDesigned by well-known marine architect Dave Martin, more than 400 Ocean 48’s were produced from 1986 through 2003 with a strong following consisting of both dedicated offshore anglers and serious cruisers. She is powered by twin Caterpillar 3196 660 hp diesels with 3900 hours. She has a fully Eisenglass enclosed flybridge with a hard top, 360 degree visibility, two captain chairs at the helm, a wet bar, and plenty of bench seating. GREAT WHITE’s cockpit is off-the-hook with fishing upgrades including a custom tuna table/fish cleaning station, custom livewell built into the deck, outriggers, 6 rocket launchers aft, and plenty of lure and gear storage. She is equipped with a Westerbeke Generator with 642 hours, a VHF, a 2022 Garmin GPS/depth sounder/radar, a Raymarine GPS, and SIMROD Autopilot. 

With a 16’ beam, GREAT WHITE’s Main Salon is incredibly spacious with plenty of natural light, an L-shaped settee that converts to a full-size berth, a teak coffee table, a Sharp flatscreen TV/VCR/Bluetooth, and a wet bar with sink, icemaker, and fridge. The Galley has a teak & holly sole, Corian countertops, a sink, a 4-burner Gaggenau electric cooktop, SUB-ZERO under-counter fridge & freezer, and a SHARP microwave/convection oven. She comfortably sleeps 6. Accommodations include a Master Stateroom with walkaround queen berth, ensuite head with stall shower, a flat-screen TV, and hanging lockers.  The Guest Stateroom has twin berths and plenty of storage. There is a second head, with a Kenmore washer & dryer.

GREAT WHITE has been meticulously cared for and professionally maintained by only two owners in her lifetime. She is in beautiful condition, and tricked out with Ocean Yacht’s sportfishing upgrades, making her turnkey ready for the most discerning and fortunate new owner.

Call TODAY to schedule a showing!

Visit GREAT WHITE for more detail. 



Jay Lesynski Jr.



Jay Lesynski III

Vice-President/General Manager


Brandon Crigger

Yacht Broker

Billy Keefe

Parts Manager


Cari Lord


Jenn Manson

Office Manager/Bookkeeper

Craftsmen & Crew

Eric Batchelder

David Dunham

Mike Fortin

Sean Hussey

We seek dedicated talent to carry

on the traditions of the maritime trades. MMYB Team Members are FT year-round employees with benefits. Apprenticeships are available.

Call 978.465.3022 for info.

364 Merrimac Street

Newburyport, MA 01950


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