By Ben Amato
“It’s a busy time of the year, hectic to get here,” said Jeff Strong, President and
owner of Strong’s Marina. He was sitting overlooking the mega-yachts and large
cruisers docked at the Montauk Yacht Club.
Jeff and partner Vinnie Macchirole led a Strong’s Marina Rendezvous out to The
Point. Their nine boats were tied up at the northernmost dock in the sprawling
resort marina. Patty Deslaurier, their marketing director, organized this and other
events for boat owners who purchased from them or dock at any of their three
Peconic marinas. Rendezvous help newer boaters gain confidence and experience.
“We left yesterday at 9am and it was just one of those picture perfect days, calm
and flat,” Jeff continued. “Even to us it is important to be reminded, you know it’s
hectic but once you get out there, it’s Holy Cow!”
Vinnie educates all new buyers with their floating investments, offering hands-on
training and on-the-water experiences. “We travel in a group. There are lots of
people who may not come out here on their own. They get the security to know
they are following me as their leader and navigator. And Jeff is behind them, in
case something should break down. They’re all in between both of us. So if
something should happen we can pick them up and keep going.”
Even in the rough economic waters that boaters face today, sales of the higher
quality lines that Strong’s carries are steady. Their Cobalt and Pursuit boats fit in
well with the mega-yachts stretched across the docks at the Montauk Yacht Club.
On this particular weekend most of their 232 slips were filled with gleaming fishing
boats, elegant power cruisers and the occasional sailboat. There was the 157 foot
Nice-N-Easy and also another 100 footer named Imagine. There were several 80
foot yachts and 10 sixty footers.
“Mega-yachts have been coming to the Montauk Yacht Club since 1929,” said Keith Battaglia, director of marketing and sales for the
club. “The original megas were J.P. Morgan Jr.’s and Aster’s and Doubleday’s. All the people from New York. This is where they
came when Carl Fisher started building up this resort community, very similar to Miami Beach.”
The resort is sprawling, covering a large part of Star Island, with the Yacht Club facing Lake Montauk. Recently purchased by
Island Global Yachting, their mission statement is; ‘Montauk: a grand tradition and a new beginning.’ In the last year $3.7 million
has been invested between capital investments and renovations and another $2 or 3 million dollars worth of enhancements are planned
for this winter.
“The Montauk Yacht Club is nothing new…It has been a destination for the rich and famous, not just like the Hamptons where people
want to been seen.” Mark added, “This is a lttle like, ‘Hey. Thanks a lot…’ with Billy Joel running around in flip-flops and things
like that. They want their privacy to lay back and not be bothered.”
“Yesterday we hung out by the pool,” said Jeff Strong. “We played a little tennis…a
little bocce, some Frisbee. We had a nice cocktail party and did some grilling.
Everybody brought a little dish. It was nice. Low key.”
Sales of new boats have shown an interesting trend. “Some of the new boaters were
the ones who typically would travel to Europe, but with the foreign exchange rates and
the fuel costs they made the decision to stay local, here on Long Island and put that
money into a boat and have a family experience. The fathers are relaxed. The kids are
smiling and the East End is so beautiful to be around.”
The Strong’s website is a valuable tool in finding boating destinations across the East
End. Under the Boating Community section, “Patty and Lisa have put together a
‘Places to Visit’ section and it’s broken down into towns,” Jeff continued very excited
and animated. “It’s about where you can get to by boat; beaches, restaurants,
museums and other destinations.”
“We have 30 Time Challenge,” added Patty. “We want to encourage our clients to get
out and use their boats, so whoever uses their boat the most gets a $500 fuel credit. It
doesn’t matter how far you go. We want you to have the boating experience. Last
year Hal and Dory Sutherland went out 43 times. We give that prize away at the annual
“My wife enjoys restaurant hopping by boat. It’s our summer thing. Our favorite
thing to do is to get “Lobsters-to-Go” on a Wednesday night for the sailboat races
around Robins Island. It’s really relaxing and it’s only 15 or 20 minutes from our
Mattituck marina.” Jeff rattled off a few other places he and his family escape to after
a busy day. “We like to go to the Oasis, on Noyak Bay…. We also went over to
Dockers, at Sag Harbor, down by the American Legion Hall. We saw the 4th of July
fireworks at Sag Harbor also.”
The Strong’s Rendezvous at the Montauk Yacht Club provided a luxury boating experience offered in few ports. “Service is the
key,” said Keith. “You bring in your $6 million dollar boat to some Long Island marinas and some guy says to you ‘Park it in slip
#23!’ That’s not what it’s all about here. These are very significant clients with some significant expectations. So when people
come to the Yacht Club they get a packet of information called The Happenings. It invites them to all of the activities. We have a
free shuttle…that takes them around the city. We’ve got a spa for them to use….We have some signature pieces, like a Yachter’s
Massage. This is a full service resort marina.”
There are three swimming pools, one indoors and a 24 hour fitness facility and a resort towel service. For the boaters there are
showers, bathrooms, laundry rooms, 4 brand new Tru-surface tennis courts, broadband wireless Internet and a grilling area with
tables. The Breezes Café, Lighthouse Grill and Cohi Bar and Patio Lounge make leaving your galley very easy, offering fine dining,
beautiful tables overlooking the water and service fitting for any captain and prized crew. There are also three charter boats on the
premises, where guests can sign up and experience deep sea fishing at its best.
“If people have cars, we can offer them a beach permit service. We have our own
beach here but if they want to head down to Surf Beach, we can give them an ocean
beach pass,” said Mark.
“We also have a relationship with Montauk Downs for golf. Just check in at the front
desk for tee-times and we have a shuttle service there and back.” In the near future to
enhance their Kid’s Club child care service, they are adding a projection screen to their
indoor pool and will have a Dive-In Movie program.
John Murray is their dock master and this is his 19th year directing his staff of 13.
They are planning a Dock Master’s Ball, a formal flip-flop type of event to celebrate
his time at the Yacht Club along with the 80th birthday of the resort.
“If somebody wants champagne and some strawberries to do some entertaining, we
can deliver them right to the boat,” Mark said. “This is our Dock Delivery, room
service for the boat. We have 107 rooms and 232 slips and from the service point of
view, we’re a big hotel with most of the rooms on the water.”
Jeff Strong is proud of the traditions, facilities, services and direction he has
established at his marinas in Mattituck, Flanders and Southampton. For 16 seasons
the Mattituck location hosts a Seafood Bake and celebration for all their clients. “We’
re among the Top 100 dealers in the country, with a 5 Star rating. 20 out of 3,500.
It’s not about sales. We have a 98-to-100% customer satisfaction rating, so when we
say that we’re the home of super service, that’s not a logo or something to put up on
“Until they’re comfortable with their boat, I’m with them,” Vinny added. “We go
through the boat from stem to stern….then I like to do things with my customers. If
they have kids we’ll go out, sometimes it’s Greenport where they have the Carousel.
We’ll practice tying up…how to call in for a slip. Once you do things with the
customer, they are more prone to do it with their families.”
Patty Delaurier’s real job at Strong’s is to make it easy for their clients to enjoy the
waterside of this island. “Our sales teams are like more consultants. We ask them
questions and put them in the proper boat for their needs. They gain confidence and
they’re going to feel better about their investment.” She has put together an amazing
website for Strong’s clients and all Long Island boaters. Visit it at www.
StrongsMarine.com and be sure to sample all they have there to offer. For women on
the water, they have the Lady Fins organization. For those landlocked without a boat,
there is a rental service and the Boating Community section guides all to the best
waterfront restaurants and destinations across the Peconic and beyond.
`The Montauk Yacht Club’s web site is just as impressive as their facilities. This details their commitment to keeping it a premier
destination place for anyone on the water. “It’s all about creating a spirit, a vibe of energy where people can come together,”
concluded Mark. “We’re a beacon that continues to beam brightly.” That is what drew the Strong’s Rendezvous to the Montauk
Yacht Club and what needs to be experienced to be believed.
Both the resort and the site are worth your visit.
On The Waterside
Sailing the East End of Long Island, New York
Luxury Boating with Strong’s Marine at the Montauk Yacht Club