It is inevitable perhaps that growing up around the beautiful Chesapeake Bay would lead to a lifelong affinity with the ocean and sailing. Mary and Mark Shores' childhoods were spent on and around the waters of this Maryland maritime haven, and when they met in high school, they would sail an 11ft dinghy together. Fast forward over 39 years of marriage and owning a string of sailing yachts ranging from 7m to 18m, and the couple are still happiest with the wind on their backs at sea. Now, however, it is on board their 33m New Zealand-built sloop Marae.
"While we enjoy being on the water in any type of boat, for us sailing is what we enjoy the most," says Mary. "The quiet peace of sailing with the wind, while it can offer challenges when it pipes up, if you manage the conditions successfully it makes moving from harbour to harbour as much fun as the locations you visit. There are so many dimensions to sailing; exploring new destinations, exhilarating sailing days underway, clear nights. For us, these are the special experiences that Marae provides."
Sailing for the Shores is unequivocally a family affair, and the couple bought Marae in 2012 in order to accommodate their ever-growing, multigenerational clan – their three children and spouses plus grandchildren. "We wanted a yacht that would fit our family, was truly a sailboat from a performance standpoint but also one that could fit into quiet, snug coves for those unique secluded nights," explains Mary. "Marae had a perfect balance of performance and comfort."
Marae's name – pronounced 'mar-eye' and taken from the Māori word for “a special place for family and friends” – embodies the spirit of familial togetherness that yachting means for the Shores. "When we named her we wanted to tie back to her New Zealand roots with her being built by Alloy," says Mary, who admits that buying a boat is significantly easier than naming it. "Through our research we found that in New Zealand, a marae is a special meeting place in the community for family and friends. This is exactly what the yacht means for us, so we knew we had the right name."
Loaded with toys and with plenty of areas for relaxing and socialising, Maraeis perfect for nurturing quality time and making memories. Life on board is focused on fun, from mini sailing regattas on the two lasers, kayak expeditions, snorkelling and diving, lounging on the floating island, tubing and wake boarding behind the custom Williams tender, or, the couple's favourite pastime, turning off the engine, putting up the sails and sailing Marae.
"I think being on a yacht naturally helps people connect and bond," says Mary. "Marae has a number of wonderful places for people to hang out – the pilot house, the upper salon bar, the helm area, the foredeck, the aft private cockpit. And we have full range of toys for everyone to enjoy. On or off water, there is something for everyone."
Being family-friendly is a crucial part of what makes Marae the ultimate platform for the Shores. For Mary, this comes down to three things. Firstly, she says, it is the crew who work hard to ensure that life on board is enjoyable for family and friends of all ages, sharing their vast knowledge and experience with everyone. Secondly, Marae is versatile and safe over a wide range of wind and sea states, providing a comfortable vessel for both experienced and inexperienced sailors. And finally, Marae’s shallow draft allows them to tuck into quieter, special anchorages and protected coves for total privacy and secure fun.
A successful charter yacht, Marae cruises between New England in the summer and the Caribbean during the winter, both destinations that Mark and Mary love and happily explore when they are able to spend time on board (typically up to six weeks a year). From Nantucket to Martha's Vineyard, the Bahamas to Grenada, Marae's itineraries take her to a wide variety of breathtaking places. While a recent highlight for the couple was attending the America's Cup in Bermuda – "it was like going to a Formula 1 race on the water" – their longtime favourite destination is the BVIs, a place they started to visit in the early ‘80s and still offers new anchorages to discover and unique places to spend time.
"When you step on board a yacht, the stress of daily life just melts away," says Mary. "I can’t quite explain it but it happens every time; quiet, peace, tranquility. Our crew just does a wonderful job of taking care of us – from the fresh coffee in the morning to happy hour, every meal and moment is special and unique. It's these little things that make the experience special and allows us to have a true holiday when we visit."