Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Catch the wind with the...
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Catch the wind with the Nauti-Cat

Robert Downes - August 4th, 2008
Talk about dream jobs: Chien Nowland, 22, spends his days sailing West Grand Traverse Bay and partying with people from all over the world who are thrilled to be guests on his 47-foot catamaran, the Nauti-Cat.
“If you love your job, it doesn’t seem like work,” he says.
But it’s not all fun and games, sailing until the sun goes down each day. “I’m out here every day, seven days a week, with four cruises each day,” he says. “I’m the only captain, so that ends up being about 100 hours per week.”
Captain Nowland is partners in the Nauti-Cat with his father, Jack, who owns the SOS Analytical environmental assessment company in Traverse City. Jack does the books while Chien does the hands-on work. Chien is also the son of Nita Nowland, a well-known local businesswoman and rock singer.
He got started in the family business while still a kid. “I’ve been sailing since the age of 14 on the Nauti-Cat, but my first job was as first mate on my dad’s charter fishing boat when I was eight,” he recalls.
He served his apprenticeship on the water by getting up at 5 a.m., getting the charter boat out of the slip, helping with the fishing gear, docking the boat and cleaning the fish caught by clients.

MOVING ON
At the age of 14, Nowland started working on the Nauti-Cat. “I was unable to serve drinks at that age, so I paid my dues, helping with the kid’s cruises until I was 18,” he says.
He graduated from TC West High School in 2004 and went on to earn his captain’s license in 2006. “I tried college twice, but had a lack of focus,” Nowland says. “I’m an autodidact -- I like to study on my own -- things like music theory.” He also plays alto sax and guitar.
In 2006, the Nauti-Cat’s owner, Russell Schindler, announced that he was bowing out of the business. Jack and Chien purchased the boat the following year and carried on with the popular cruises.
Chien’s contribution has been through sweat equity, running the boat and also installing and removing a massive wooden dock at the West Bay Holiday Inn each spring and fall with the help of friends.

ABOUT THE CAT
At 47 feet in length and 29 feet wide, with a mast that stands 63 feet, the Nauti-Cat is the largest sailing catamaran on the Great Lakes.
It was custom-built in Galveston, Texas in 1987, with double the required fiberglass in its mono-hull. “It’s very easy to sail and easy to get the sails up,” Nowland says.
So how did it come to Northern Michigan?
“Russell brought it up from Galveston in the mid-’90s,” Nowland says. “But a big storm snapped the wooden mast, so they ended up floating it here on a barge up through the Mississippi.”
Today, in addition to its day cruises, the Nauti-Cat is available for private parties and weddings. Last year, for instance, the Kellogg company rented the boat for a run between Bay Harbor and Harbor Springs.
“This is an ocean-going vessel, so we’ve had it out in major storms on Lake Michigan in waves that are easily seven or eight feet high,” Nowland says.
Mostly, however, it’s cruises around West Bay that keep the Nauti-Cat busy. There’s a kid’s cruise from 10-11:30 a.m. ($15); a noon cruise from 12-2:30 p.m. ($22); a happy hour cruise from 3-5:30 p.m. ($28); and a champagne sunset cruise from 7 p.m. on ($35). The boat can accommodate 46 people, and there’s a cash bar and two heads onboard.
So, what next for Captain Nowland? He and his girlfriend Susan Taylor are expecting the birth of a child this winter. And someday, he’d also like to adopt the local habit among captains of working the boats down in the Virgin Islands in the off-season. But in the meantime, there are still plenty of smiles, sunsets and good times on the Bay to attend to as the Nauti-Cat wraps up its summer.
Check out the Nauti-Cat and its sailing opportunities at its dock at the West Bay Holiday Inn, or call 231-947-1730. Web: www.natuti-cat.com




 
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