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Family uses real yacht to navigate through life

April 25, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

BALTIMORE - During the summer months at Baltimore's Anchorage Marina, live bands perform at the marina's Caribbean and Jazz music nights. Marina members also participate in several neighborhood cookouts when they're not taking leisurely walks along the pier.

It sounds like a cruise-ship vacation.

But it's not for Bob and Tina Guiney.

It's life on their family yacht and a welcome escape from the Monday-through-Friday grind of work and running a household, the Hagerstown couple said.

"It's the best of both worlds," Tina Guiney said.

On the weekends, she and the couple's daughter, Hilary, visit Bob at the yacht when he doesn't come home to Hagerstown.

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In October, Bob Guiney became president of Guiney Rifkin & Sacks LLC., a group of temporary staffing agencies with offices in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. His office is in downtown Baltimore.

While a good career move, uprooting his family and moving to the city wasn't an option, he said.

"It just wasn't going to be feasible, plus my daughter Hilary is in her senior year at St. Maria Goretti," he said.

Bob Guiney's hour-long commute between Baltimore and Hagerstown lasted for two weeks before he decided to move into his family's 43-foot Chris Craft Catalina yacht housed at the Anchorage Marina on Boston Street in downtown Baltimore, just a few minutes from his office.

"It was just too much time in a car," he said.

A boater for several years, Bob said living on a boat comes naturally to him.

"We named it 'Stella Blue,'" Tina Guiney said. "It's a Grateful Dead song - Bob and I are both fans."

The marina is in Baltimore's Canton community near the historic Fells Point waterfront community.

"Eight years ago, there wasn't anything here," said Tina Guiney, speaking of the area's rapid development.

The neighborhood is experiencing a "renaissance," marina manager Jacob Pinkham said.

Despite the growth, the Guineys said life in the big city comes with the same small-town feel of living in Hagerstown.

"Guess how I get to work? I ride an Italian scooter and my job is just two miles from here," Bob Guiney said.

"We don't like to drive anywhere. We avoid driving," Tina Guiney said.

Across the street from the marina is a grocery store and several restaurants within walking distance. For safety, the marina has a secured entrance, and private security officers patrol the area. The Guineys said it's a place where they feel safe, in an environment where walking has created a more friendly atmosphere.

"Most of the people we know, we've met them just walking on the street here in the neighborhood," Tina Guiney said.

Since moving to the marina, the Guineys also have befriended Hagerstown native and teacher Wayne Easton, who lives on his boat at the marina. Easton is a teacher at James Rumsey Technical Institute in Berkeley County, W.Va.

Life on a yacht is fun and relaxing, but it's not without work, said Bob Guiney, who recently spent a Sunday morning in the yacht's engine room making repairs.

Also, from Nov. 1 to April 1, the marina shuts off the water lines to each boat, which creates more work.

"Because the water lines will freeze above the ground, we have to fill our water tanks with enough water to last until the next Sunday," he said.

Sunday now is referred to as "water day" by marina residents, who all pitch in to help one another fill their tanks, he said.

"My tank holds 75 gallons and it's got to last," he said. "I use it for cooking, cleaning and bathing."

For now, Bob Guiney said he has no plans of resuming his commute between Baltimore and Hagerstown. In fact, he said weekends at the marina have improved his family's quality of life.

"You don't worry about the day-to-day things," Tina Guiney said. "I'm a lot more relaxed. We both are."

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