By Toi Creel
Everyone goes to the beach on the Westside. It’s part of the culture. But imagine experiencing the Marina Del Rey, waters of Malibu, or Catalina from a luxury yacht with family or friends. That’s the experience Calico Yacht Charter wants to help curate.
“Most of the locals are surprised they can do this,” said Colin Kurcz, Captain and Owner of Calico Yacht Charter.
Kurcz and his wife Sarah Leonet are the brains behind Calico Yacht Charter. The two met while working separate gigs on yachts in the Carribean. Leonet is from Belgium and Kurcz is from Agoura Hills.
“I had bought a 30 foot sailboat and I wanted to sail around the Caribbean and eventually become a charter captain,” Kurcz said. “We sailed around the Caribbean for a little and eventually started working on big catamarans as she’s a chef.”
They each had been a part of crews on yachts for several years, between the two of them hosting tens of thousands of guests. They both sailed overseas through areas such as Croatia and other European countries, but when COVID-19 began spreading, the couple decided to make a move.
“I realized it was a great opportunity to come back to my home waters and do what I was doing all over the world, but back home,” said Kurcz.
They started the company in Spring, opening March 1, 2021. They have 2 boats to choose from, one for up to 6 guests, and the other for up to 12 guests. People can take a short destination trip ranging from two hours to an all day trip. Guests are also able to bring their own food and alcohol and the company provides everything from serving platters and plates to soft drinks.
“Most of the charter companies provide a boat and captain. With us, we provide the same type of experience you get with a yacht or charter crew using just two people. We are providing the full experience,” Kurcz said. “If your family is looking for a more nature-inspired experience then we can focus on seeing the environment and wildlife. We see dolphins on 30 percent of the charters.”
While their minimum trip is two hours, the company recommends three or four hour time slots to give enough time for coastal cruises to be able to show guests waters without feeling rushed. Going farther out to places such as Malibu will likely be more of a six hour journey.
“Our trips can be adventurous coastal crews or flat party water crews. We’ll customize it for our patrons. If people want to party and enjoy themselves with loud music we can make that happen. If it’s a family and they want a calmer nature experience we bring that into vision as well. Before clients step on the boat we ask them what type of experience they want and then we work to make that happen,” Kurcz said.
So how exactly does the process work? Guests pull into the parking lot, at Fisherman’s Village and board straight onto the boat. As far as pricing, Calico says they intend to keep things affordable.
“Our standard rate is $325 an hour, but we do weekday specials with a Catalina day trip for $2500 which does include breakfast. Many guests normally enjoy lunch ashore,” Kurcz said.
Guests aren’t just limited to land or boat. Calico also provides a paddle board and large floaties for guests to swim on the water. If guests choose a longer trip out to areas such as Playa del Rey or Malibu, the crew also provides amenities.
“We do have a very nice shower on board so if people want to go to a nice restaurant afterwards, they have time and space to get clean and freshen up,”said Leonet.
While much of the beauty of the yacht is on the water, the vessels themselves also have strategic designs.
“I really decorated everything and tried to give it a more modern touch,” Leonet said. “I was going for something more tropical with a Hawaii inspiration.
“We want you to feel like you’re on vacation even if you’re from Culver City,” she added.
To book a trip with Calico Yacht Charter you can visit their website at https://calicoyachtcharter.com.