A New Kind of Yacht Club

How Barton & Gray revolutionized the pleasure craft lifestyle

Picture it: a cool Friday morning in Annapolis, Maryland, in September. The drum and bugle corps echoes in the distance as midshipmen march in dress parade. You grab a sweater and drive to the South Annapolis Yacht Center to board a brand-new Daychaser 48. Engineered for comfort and peak performance, the elegant yacht looks 007-approved, as if James Bond himself might jump aboard for a chase scene at any moment. It’s world-class construction dressed in old-school style. 

You and a friend settle into the open-air Bow Lounge to enjoy the sunshine. From the Pilothouse Bar, cocktails are served as you leave port. The promise of dinner wafts from the galley, but right now, you’re not thinking about your stomach. The vast Chesapeake shines before you, and with your captain at the helm, your only job is to appreciate the view.

How did this magical yachting scene come to be? There’s a saying that boats are “holes in the water into which you throw money.” But what if you could have the boating experience—on demand, any time you like—without the burden on your pocketbook and your patience? That’s exactly what Barton & Gray Mariners Club offers.

A yacht club for the modern age, Barton & Gray was conceived in 2006 by avid boaters Tim Barton and Doug Gray. With backgrounds in software and design, the partners took a cue from the sharing economy and applied the model to the pleasure craft industry, offering access to fleets of luxury day boats. No ownership necessary. Every ship captained for you. All members have to do is reserve their vessel of choice, then enjoy the ride. 

The Club initially launched with one Hinckley Picnic Boat in Nantucket and now boasts more than eighty crafts, including a sailing catamaran and fully restored vintage Boston Whalers, in thirty harbors—Charleston, New York City, Key Largo, and Annapolis, Maryland, to name a few—along the East Coast, the Great Lakes, and the tropics. The latest model in the Barton & Gray Mariners Club fleet is the aforementioned Daychaser 48, the work of over a decade of observation and inspiration from the B&G team, in partnership with Zurn Yacht Design in Marblehead, Massachusetts. 

It’s in Annapolis, at a harbor at the mouth of the Chesapeake that’s home to the United States Naval Academy, where the appeal of cruising in this masterpiece of nautical design is so plain to see. 

What does today’s Annapolis adventure hold? Water recreation opportunities abound when you use a Daychaser as a mothership. From its comfortable confines you might link up with local fishermen on a Deadrise fishing vessel to experience a quintessential Maryland tradition: trapping Chesapeake Bay Blue Crabs. A smooth handoff of your fresh catch to your B&G Captain, fourth-generation Annapoliton Rusty Powers, delivers the ultimate local supper. 

Atop a newspaper spread, the delightful mess awaits, served with Old Bay seasoning, corn, vinegar, Utz potato chips, and ice-cold beer. If you’re lucky, you might get a special sauce courtesy of the Captain’s fiancée. Knife and mallet in hand, you extract the meat, the smell of saltwater wafting in the breeze.

Maybe next weekend you’ll get an earlier start and depart from the South Annapolis Yacht Center aboard the Daychaser into pristine waters to meet a local guide for a day fishing rockfish. Or maybe you’ll tool your way across the harbor to Maryland’s Eastern Shore for a late lunch at the Inn at Perry Cabin. Who knows? With your Barton & Gray Mariners Club Membership, the possibilities for days on the water are endless.

Learn more about Barton & Gray Mariners Club at