North Cove Marina's Operator Is Picked to Run Its Sailing School, Too

Three of Offshore Sailing School's 12 boats that operated out of North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. Brookfield Properties bought the boats, which will now be sailed by the newly formed school run by Island Global Yachting. Photo: Battery Park City Authority

Jan. 08, 2017

Island Global Yachting will take over operations of a sailing school at Battery Park City’s North Cove Marina when the season begins on May 1. Brookfield Properties, which leases the marina from the Battery Park City Authority, announced the decision Thursday to Community Board 1’s Battery Park City Committee.

IGY has been running the marina, where yacht owners pay to dock, for the past two seasons. The company will replace the Offshore Sailing School, which is pulling out of the marina after two seasons.

Callie Haines, Brookfield’s vice president for property management, told the committee that Brookfield “definitely cast a very wide net” in its search for a new sailing school operator.

“They are successful in the boating realm, they have the know-how, they have the talent and most importantly they have the commitment to the marina and to Battery Park City,” she said. “For us that meant they are going to be here for the long haul.”

“Battery Park City will be well-served by IGY’s combination of staff expertise, on-site experience, and commitment to community engagement,” BPCA president Shari Hyman said in a statement.

IGY operates 14 marinas in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, but this will be its first sailing school. In its lease agreement with the Battery Park City Authority, Brookfield is required to provide a public sailing program. Hines said IGY will continue “some of what Offshore was doing,” such as its popular free weekend sails, and expand its educational programming. Brookfield, she said, purchased Offshore’s 12 sailboats.

IGY said in a statement that it will “seek mutually beneficial relationships with a limited number of select schools and organizations.”

In a highly controversial move in early 2015, the Battery Park City Authority declined to renew its 10-year marina management contract with the Manhattan Yacht Club and its owner, Michael Fortenbaugh, a Battery Park City resident with strong local support. Fortenbaugh had founded the school in 1994 and in 2005 took over the marina’s operations, which had been languishing since 9/11. Fortenbaugh told the Trib in an email that Brookfield did not interview him during its search for a school operator.

“Everyone knows we are one of the best sailing schools in the country and made North Cove a success,” said Fortenbaugh, whose Manhattan Yacht Club now operates across the river in Jersey City. “So if Brookfield wants the best at North Cove, you would think they would invite us back.”

In response, Andrew Brent, a Brookfield spokesman, said in an email that Manhattan Yacht Club “was among those considered for operation of the sailing school.

In 2015, Community Board 1 passed a resolution asking the authority to scrap its request for proposals for a marina operator in order to include community feedback in the process. Elected officials followed suit, signing a letter to authority chairman and CEO Dennis Mehiel requesting a new selection process.

At its meeting this month, Battery Park City Committee chair Ninfa Segarra emphasized that the board cannot get involved in the selection of an operator, only in the oversight of agencies involved in the decision-making. “There were others in the community who had a preference for a specific vendor and they rallied around that vendor,” Segarra said, referring to Fortenbaugh’s Manhattan Sailing Club. “Our role as a community board is broader.”

Haines said the school, operating under the name North Cove Sailing, will be priced competitively against similar programs and offer a discount to Battery Park City residents. “This will be an affordable program,” she said.