I have been sailing with Pinnacle every summer since 2003 when my wife gave me a season’s lease as a Christmas present. They offer a program that more than meets my desire for sailing beautiful, well-equipped yachts on short day-long sails with all the convenience of Monroe Harbor in Chicago and with none of the headaches of ownership. A few comments:
PROFESSIONALISM: At the time i joined in 2003, Pinnacle had just a few yachts in Chicago. I was initially overwhelmed with the caliber of the personal, professional attentiveness of the staff to every question, concern and need. Remarkably, as Pinnacle has grown considerably with hundreds of captains now in the program on the east coast and in Florida in addition to expanding in Chicago, the level of personal responsiveness is absolutely undiminished. The Pinnacle team is a class act.
The SHARED LEASE EXPERIENCE: I fully expected that sharing a yacht with 9 other captains would sometimes result in finding the boat a bit messy or in some disrepair on occasion when showing up with friends and family for a day on the water. To the contrary – the yachts are meticulously maintained with a weekly once-over by the staff. And the captains in the program are extremely attentive to leaving the yacht in pristine condition for the next captain on the schedule. In 8 years, I have never boarded my Pinnacle yacht and found any evidence of someone else having been on it; OK, one time i arrived and found a cold sixpack of Blue Moon Ale left in the cooler and a Jimmy Buffett cd in the deck – – – woe is me. The respectfulness of the captains in the program for each other is a real asset – and leaves you with an experience that this is really your yacht and yours alone.
The SYSTEM : Managing the sailing schedule is a piece of cake, thanks to an extremely usable website with features that easily support the occasional trading of scheduled sailing days between and among the captains. For the most part, you only know the other captains on your yacht via email exchanges through the website – and their courtesy and responsiveness to each other is always evident. The Pinnacle group goes out of its way to ensure an equitable balance of sailing days across weekdays/weekends, days/evenings, and over the entire sailing season. It’s all smooth as butter.
The YACHTS: Beautiful Jeanneau yachts – – over the years, I’ve sailed their 34′, 37′ and 45′ yachts out of Monroe Harbor. All are well rigged, fully equipped and fitted, and well-stocked below with all the supplies one needs. More of a boat than I would ever or could ever afford owning on my own – – all for one lease price. They are spectacular.
Overall, can’t beat it. I have friends who own sailboats and who hardly ever get out on the Lake as often as I do on my leased Pinnacle yacht. Those who truly enjoy the maintenance, the upkeep and the wintering of a sailboat – – well they have a leg up on me, because i get none of those pleasures. I just enjoy sailing on a beautiful yacht with none of those other headaches – and the Pinnacle option allows exactly that!