The Alyosha is a 50-ft. St. Francis catamaran, built in South Africa, that has sailed around the world; its captain, Steve Butz of the OC Bay Hopper team, completed a circumnavigation in three years, traveling over 30,000 nautical miles and spending as many 29 days at a time on the water without stopping.
Now, the Alyosha has made a permanent home in Ocean City, Maryland.
Butz is chartering his sailboat and taking guests out every day for sunset cruises, open ocean sailing and even abridged sailing lessons where people can learn the basics of sailing and watchstanding, along with what it’s like to circumnavigate the globe.
“Bluewater sailing is unlike anything else,” Butz said. “It’s going to be pretty exciting — dolphins love to play in the bow of a sailboat, it’s quiet, there’s not a lot of noise, you can talk, you can hear yourself think… Sailing is an entirely different experience from being in a powerboat.”
Trips on the Alyosha generally stay within three miles of the shore, and the boat’s various sails will be visible from the beach. Sunset cruises last about an hour-and-a-half and are available twice a week, while the daily charter is about two-and-a-half hours and runs most days at 1 and 4 p.m., depending on weather.
“We generally will stay on a triangle and I like usually to hug the shore at least one of the legs,” Butz said. “We’re going to have catered options so people can have their trip catered if they want, or they can bring their own food and drink.”
While some boaters are happy relaxing in the catamaran’s trampoline up front and listening to the water rush beneath them, others seek out a more hands-on experience; that’s why Butz decided to offer sailing lessons, which last about three hours and are available one day of the week.
Those who aren’t busy learning how to sail are free to lounge inside the catamaran’s salon interior, though most prefer to be out in the sun and the open air.
The OC Bay Hopper is an Uber of the ocean, designed to shuttle passengers along Ocean City’s back bays from the northernmost reaches of Ocean City all the way down to the Inlet and Assateague Island.
The roughest part of the trip is typically sailing in and out of the inlet. Once the boat is out of the inlet, ocean patterns become more regular. For those who have a tendency toward motion sickness, Butz recommends taking a preventative medicine like Bonine well before boarding the sailboat.
“Motion sickness is typically a disconnect between what your eyes are seeing and what your body is feeling,” he said. “That’s why it is so helpful to sit there and stare at the horizon and to acknowledge that you’re rocking .”
While Butz’s brother and business partners operate Ocean City’s newest water taxi, the OC Bay Hopper, Butz will be sailing the Atlantic in the 50-ft., multi-hulled watercraft, teaching others how to navigate the open ocean and simply providing vacationers a scenic excursion with unparalleled views of the Ocean City skyline.
The Alyosha departs from Mad Fish Bar & Grill in West Ocean City and can be booked by calling 410-376-5454.