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Saia joins Bartram & Brakenhoff with charter division

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Three years after merging her charter company with a large industry brokerage house, charter specialist Jennifer Saia has started a boutique charter company under the Bartram & Brakenhoff brand, B&B Yacht Charters based in Newport.

Bartram & Brakenhoff had closed its charter arm a few years ago. The new company, which is a partnership between Saia and brokerage owner David Lacz, opened on Oct. 7.

Saia owned The Sacks Group Yachting Professionals for 17 years before merging with International Yacht Collection in 2010.

“IYC is a great company, but it’s big,” she said. “This is a much more boutique environment.”

Saia has relocated to Newport and rehired Deb McCall as executive and charter assistant. Patti Trusel will handle charter marketing.

In discussing the move, several industry pros and captains noted that Bartram is dealing with the final stages of cancer. Expressing sorrow, they also shared admiration for the man they say set this industry on the right course.

“Joe is the straightest arrow in yachting,” Trusel said. “He’s not going to tell you what you want to hear, he’s going to tell you what you need to hear. You can go to the bank with what he says. No one in yachting has more integrity than Joe.”

Over the past 50 years, Bartram and his partner, Bruce Brakenhoff, helped their clients find captains and crew, giving many aspiring yachties their start.

“A lot of people, captains especially, will say that Joe Bartram got me my first job,” Saia said. “They all started on 60-, 70-footers because of Joe and Bruce. Now they’re all running 200-foot yachts.”

Several captains interviewed yesterday noted how the men influenced their careers, and how Bartram’s impact in the industry will not be forgotten.

“The first time I met Joe, he knew about the previous boat I ran and he said ‘you just did a trans-Atlantic’,” said Capt. Butch Vogelsang, now on the 170-foot Feadship M/Y Dream but then, fresh off a yacht he said really wasn’t meant for bluewater.

“I said I had and he said ‘I would have thought you were smarter than that’,” he said. “He knew everything. I was stupid enough to do it and Joe was right, I shouldn’t have done it.”

Capt. Vogelsang called Bartram part of the old school of yachting who had a way of making new acquaintances feel like friends immediately. In the early 1990s, when he and others of his time were running 75-foot Browards in New England, Bartram invited them to his house on Narragansett Bay.

“Everybody went to Joe’s house for fuel, everybody,” Capt. Vogelsang said. “Joe was the go-to guy. If you had an issue, you’d call Joe and he’d say ‘come to my house’. How’s that for service?”

Saia said she plans to continue that personal, familiar care that the Bartram & Brakenhoff brand was built on.

“The timing is right,” she said. “I want Joe to know that there is a breath of life coming into the charter side of his company.”

Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of Triton Today; lucy@the-triton.com.

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