Fairwinds Reborn

by Tim Craig

Chesapeake Bay Magazine, January 2016

"Talk of the Bay"

Team Goldberg takes on the challenge of updating a classic Magothy River marina — family-style.

Twenty-eight-year old JoAnna Goldberg is doing something few young women of her age are qualified to do: oversee the rebirth of an old-line Chesapeake Bay marina while at the same time helping her entrepreneurial father, Larry, expand the Freedom Boat Club concept throughout the state of Maryland.

"I grew up on the water; my family goes back four generations on the Chesapeake Bay.  I did major in economics at Columbia University," she says, "but I wouldnt trade my days on the docks for life on the Upper West Side for anything."

The Goldbergs purchased the Magothy River's Fairwinds Marina 2 years ago.  The previous owners, the Pumphreys, had run the 140-slip small boat marina nested in a quiet residential neighborhood at the mouth of the river for over 50 years.

"The Pumphrey family built a nice little business over the years.  But when it came time for them to call it quits, we saw an opportunity to refresh the facilities and expand the service offerings," says Larry Goldberg, whose wife, Laurie, is the company's comptroller.  "JoAnna runs the place.  I'm sort of a referee... making sure everybody is working towards the same goal."

Finger piers have been upgraded.  A new fuel and pump-out facility is in place along with a system to cleanse and recycle the water used to powerwash boats.  New boat lifts and spiffed up bathrooms complete the picture to date.  Still to come are enhanced electrical service to the docks; a Wi-Fi hub; a family picnic area with playground; and, hopefully, a turn-key food service.

The marina is a dealer for Evinrude and Yamaha outboard engines and Glastron and Wellcraft powerboats.  Their service department is headed by two 30-year veterans and boasts one of the Bay's only certified Yamaha MasterTech Mechanics.  In addition, the marina maintains one of the area's largest cache of hard-to-find Evinrude and other classic outboard motor parts.

"We are also the Maryland franchisee for the Freedom Boat Club boat-sharing program," says Larry.  In addition to the club's present Port Annapolis locaion, which serves around 50 members, the family plans to add boats and resources at Fairwinds, plus more Club locations in the coming years: Washington, D.C., a location closer to Baltimore, and facilities on the Eastern Shore.

"The Freedom Boat Club concept lets people enjoy the Bay without the hassles and expense of boat ownership," says JoAnna.  "People pay an initiation fee to join the club, then a monthly stipend that gives them access to a variety of boats, both power and sail."  Dan Somerville, General Manager of the Freedom Boat Club operation, adds, "We give people the skills they need to have fun on the water."

The marina is located at 1000 Fairwinds Drive, Annapolis; www.fairwindsmarina.com; 410-974-0758 or joanna@fairwindsmarina.com.  A limited number of wet slips are available for the 2016 season.