Galley Guys at Krates Marina

Andy Adams

This spring one of the largest privately owned marinas in the entire country changed ownership and with that change came a change in direction, taking a 550 slip working marina that dates back to the depression, and converting it into a lifestyle marina.

Benn Spiegel recruited veteran marina managers, Michelle and Rob Walters to take the old working marina over and transform it into what Benn calls a lifestyle marina with resort quality amenities, green space for everyone to enjoy, landscaped grounds and more.

The Galley Guys took a particular interest in the newly revitalized Krates Marina so we contacted the new managers and offered to put on a Galley Guys dinner on Benn Spiegel's boat. The Galley Guys are nothing if not forward! The idea was to have a friendly group get together to talk about boating in general, new trends in the industry and Krates in particular.

With the recently completed extension of Highway 404 that extends north of Toronto, the Krates Marina facility in Keswick, Ontario is a mere 45 minutes north of Highway 401. Of course, more and more business and residential development is locating in places like Markham, Vaughn, Richmond Hill and Aurora, so the Krates facility is even more conveniently located to those places.

Galley Guy John Armstrong, who once lived in India, wanted to put together one of his favorite meals; Tandoori Chicken with Samosas, Raita (which is grated English cucumber with yoghurt, cilantro and some other secret ingredients) and Naan bread to accompany the meal. Fellow Galley Guys Greg Nicoll and Andy Adams choose the wines - as usual!

Over a relaxed dinner by the lake, we learned about the many changes that have taken place at Krates this past spring and summer.

 

 

Andy – Krates is a great location. Do most of your customers use the marina as their summer home?

Michelle – Absolutely. This is their summer home.

Rob – Just recently, we had a first time boater from Woodbridge come to Krates. Most of the boaters only need to drive about 40 minutes to get here. It’s a 550 slip marina and people come Friday and stay to Sunday. It’s their home away from home. We have two heated pools, badminton, horseshoes…

Andy – Do most boaters here also have a “little boat”?

Galley Guys - Rob & Michelle Rob – Sure. We have slips down to 20 footers, then people have tenders on their swim platforms, or tied in their slips behind the bigger boats. They can go out, go fishing…

Andy – It’s a great lifestyle to be out in the clean water and fresh air.

John – Does Krates attract a lot of transient boaters from other areas?

Rob – Like last weekend, we had boaters here from Starport Landing…a 40 footer. They use the fuel dock…the pumpout. We don’t specifically have transient slips but we can generally accommodate guests. Boaters want to get together. The best publicity is word of mouth. When they have a good time, they spread the word. And we have good high speed Wi-Fi!

John – Transient boaters may also come for the service.  That can be a profit centre for the marina, especially off-season work.

Rob – Absolutely!

Benn – We committed to our staff that we are running a year-round facility. That’s unusual because in many places, the technicians get laid off in the winter. We are committed to keeping them on. We are converting Krates from a working marina to a lifestyle marina. Rob’s doing a great job but it takes time. A lifestyle marina is where there is green space for things like swimming pools, party areas for birthdays, BBQs and so on. A working marina has a bunch of boats on land surrounded by boats in the water and that takes up the green space.

Greg – Isn’t it true that the services in Keswick are an attraction?

Benn – That’s a huge advantage over competitors in more remote marinas where you have to load up on food and things. We are close to a Wal-Mart and other stores. It’s convenient.

Rob – Krates is one of the largest businesses in Georgina. Our skilled technicians are local and we employ local students through the summer. Tourism is a big business here. 

The dinner conversation and the beautiful evening weather continued as we discussed more of the future plans for Krates Marina but this lovely and very convenient location is more attractive than ever to boaters, both experienced and new.

The Galley Guys wish the team at Krates every success in the coming seasons!

 

Photo Captions

Photo 1 - Good food and good friends! From the left, Greg Nicoll, John Armstrong, Michelle and Rob Walters, Benn Spiegel and Andy Adams.

Photo 2 - Michelle and Rob Walters, marina managers.

Related Articles

Destinations

  • Prev
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...
Located about half way between Shediac and the Miramichi on New Brunswick’s Acadian Coast, the town ...
Suddenly the once forsaken city of Hamilton, Ontario is booming for at least two good reasons.

Grenada: It was all so inviting...

The Large Island of Grenada

By Katherine Stone

Anytime a Canadian is asked to travel south in the beginning of our spring, which this year was far from inviting, is a dream worth living. The thought of a sailing adventure, tropical breezes, the smell of spices and the warmth of the sun was too much – we HAD to go! The first thing we did was to dig out the copy of Ann Vanderhoof’s book, The Spice Necklace, we had acquired several years ago and to re-read the seven chapters of their adventures in Grenada. Not only should this be your required reading, but the book is loaded with scrumptious Caribbean recipes that are a must-try.

Read more about Grenada...

 

 

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...
The latest new model from Cruisers Yachts is the Cantius 42 and this yacht made its debut in the ...
The Sabre 45 Salon Express is new for 2017, making its debut at the Fort Lauderdale International ...

Leader 9.0

Leader 9.0By Andy Adams

In the case of baking a cake, Betty Crocker and Julia Child both start off with the same eggs, sugar and flour, but the results can be very different. Naval architects, designers and engineers in the boat business also have many of the same ingredients, but the trick is to make the cake unique and desirable.

With a huge history of innovative design in boatbuilding, Jeanneau brings the sort of skill and artistry to their boats that can set them apart. Their new Leader 9.0 model is a case in point.

Read more about the Leader 9.0...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew – How to hire a boat repair contractor

hiring a contractorBy Andrew McDonald

A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out there, including: Websites showing repairs, YouTube tutorials, Instagram pages and snapchat streams – let alone books, magazines, service manuals, and years of practical experience – how does a boat owner know which method(s) are ‘right’, who to trust, and who to hire to do the job? In short: How do you find and select a contractor?

Unfortunately, most people are forced to hire a contractor due to a circumstance where something has broken or failed, or the task...

Read more about hiring a contractor...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System
Verviers, Belgium, 18 May 2018 — Mercury Marine, the world leader in marine propulsion technology, ...
Again, we return to the beginning. We started this column with a look at marine navigation for ...