Visitors looking to catch an up-and-close look at the racing at Helly Hansen Chester Race week this year can book a seat with Salty Dog Sea Tours. Three times each race day, Salty Dog Sea Tours’ Captain Tony Sampson will take guests out on his pontoon boat, Bayside Belle, for one-hour tours during the races.
Sampson started offering these tours during Helly Hansen Chester Race Week in 2019.
“They get a birds’-eye view of the race,” Sampson says. “Depending on what class of boat is racing, and obviously the weather, we get the best location is for the view. We had some amazing shots taken in 2019 from photographers on board and they were really, really happy.”
Sampson’s 11-year-old daughter is a sailor, too, and now sails with the Lunenburg Yacht Club. She may co-host with Sampson on some of the tours.
Sampson says most of the time the guests of the charter are yacht racers, as well, so there’s a lot of sailing knowledge on board the tours.
Guests on the tour will see more than the races. Sampson says guests may see lots of wildlife, including porpoises and leatherback sea turtles.
For the trip, Sampson suggests guests bring along a proper clothing, including a wet-weather jacket, hat, sunglasses, and a camera or binoculars. Guests are also asked to sanitize their hands before and after the tours and wear a mask, if they have one.
Salty Dog Sea Tours got its start in 2018 with its Oak Island tour talking about the island’s history and famous treasure stories. In 2019, Sampson included a Chester Homes Tour, which runs in the fall months.
“That proved to be quite popular as well,” Sampson says.
For now, Sampson is getting ready for a successful season and is looking forward to Helly Hansen Chester Race Week.
“I’m kneeling down and praying for great weather for racing, a beautiful sunset every night, and a large glass of dark and stormy to see each night through,” Sampson says, although that dark and stormy will wait until everyone is ashore.
For more information and to book a tour, visit www.saltydogtours.com.