By Scott Graves
Triplicate staff writer
Whether visitors to Del Norte County want to fish, whale watch or just cruise the coast, they can do it all this summer on a new charter boat at Crescent City Harbor.
Its the first time in years Crescent City Harbor has had its own charter boat. Its also one of the first charter boats ever in the area to offer more than just the traditional sportfishing.
This is such a beautiful area and we look forward to doing tours of all types, said Goldie Ginocchio, who, along with her husband, Bob, operate their boat the Tally-Ho II.
The couple recently sailed their 44-foot long steel boat to Crescent City from Fort Bragg.
The boat is accessible to handicapped people and harbor officials have promised to build a special ramp for the boat.
The couple will offer both sportfishing and sightseeing trips on a first come, first served basis, Goldie said.
I know well bring a lot of business to the harbor, she said.
Local officials and tourism experts are counting on it.
The charter boat is the key business we need to make Crescent City a destination resort area, said Sandra Jerabek, a consultant with the Redwood Economic Development Institute, a non-profit nature tourism group in Del Norte County.
The institute determined two years ago that Crescent City needed a charter boat, Jerabek said.
With the help of a federal grant, the group did a feasibility study that showed a charter boat had the best chance of succeeding if it offered both sportfishing and sightseeing tours, she said.
We showed the results to the Ginocchios and they were very interested, Jerabek said.
The boat, she said, would enable the couple to take advantage of an untapped source that already exists.
For example, people looking for a charter boat in Crescent City have been directed to Brookings, Ore., which currently has three charter boats, she said.
In fact, organizers of the Aleutian Goose Festival have chartered a boat from Brookings the last two years, Jerabek said.
Its good to have our own boat, she said.
Its particularly good for the harbor, where officials have been struggling to bring much-needed revenue to the harbor and existing businesses there.
The Crescent City Harbor Commission recently approved a special one-year lease agreement with the Ginocchios.
The board voted unanimously to waive the usual slip fee of $1,085 per year in exchange for 5 percent of the companys monthly gross income.
The harbor will benefit tremendously from having a charter boat, said Bev Noll, president of the harbor commission and owner of Noll Surf Shop.
The boat is the first step in diversifying the harbor, Noll said.
We get calls from people all the time who want to know if theres a boat available for trips, and not just fishing, Noll said.
Noll acknowledged that other charter boats have come and gone over the years. She said they didnt work out because the owners focused only on sportfishing, and not other types of trips.
Goldie Ginocchio was aware of the harbors past and current financial struggles, but said she and her husband were willing to give it a shot.
The harbor has had a lot of problems, but theyre working hard to change things, she said. When we first came to visit the harbor, we were impressed with its cleanliness and the boards willingness to work with us.
The key to the Ginocchios success will be adequate marketing in and outside of Del Norte County, Noll said.
Jerabek agreed, saying her organization will help market the charter boat along with existing nature-based tourism businesses.
Jerabek will use the Internet to reach national and international tourists, and ads in traditional publications distributed in closer areas such as Redding and Medford, Ore.
The charter boat will be part of an entire package offered to tourists, she said.